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Beijing 2008


Beijing staged a magnificent Olympics. The organisation was excellent; the venues breathtaking and the anti-doping tests were stricter.

Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mauritius and Togo all enjoyed podium finishes for the first time at an Olympics. However Mongolia and Panama managed to go one better with their athletes bringing home their countries' first Olympic gold medals.

Bidding contenders

Beijing, Toronto, Paris, Istanbul, Osaka

Top Athletes

Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt stole the headlines at the Beijing Olympics.

Phenomenal American swimmer Phelps bettered Mark Spitz’s achievement at the 1972 Munich Games by claiming eight swimming gold medals, while Jamaican sprint sensation Bolt broke both the 100m and 200m world records and claimed a third gold and record with the Jamaican 4x100m relay team.

Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva set a new world record in winning the women's pole vault, the third time she bettered the world record in 2008.

Chris Hoy won his third gold medal of the Beijing games in the men's sprint event, becoming the first British athlete in 100 years to win three gold medals in a single Olympiad.

Memorable Moments:

Michael Phelps swam 17 times over nine days and set world records in seven finals. By the end of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Phelps had put to rest the argument over who is the greatest Olympian swimmer ever. By winning eight gold medals in Beijing, Phelps raised his haul of career Olympic medals to 16 – 14 of them gold.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt won the men's 100m with a world record of 9.69 seconds in a race dubbed by Olympic legend Michael Johnson as "the greatest 100m performance in the history of the event".

Natalie du Toit of South Africa became the first amputee to compete in the Olympic Games since George Eyser in 1904, finishing 16th in the women's 10km marathon.


Zimbabwe's golden girl Kirsty Coventry won all of her country's four medals at the Beijing games, taking them to 38th in the medal table. Coventry won gold in the 200m backstroke, silver in the 100m backstroke and bronze in the 200m medley.

Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's 10 000m in 29:54.66, the best time in almost 15 years and an African and Olympic record. Dibaba added a second gold with victory in the 5 000m.

Nastia Liukin won gold in the women's artistic individual all-around. Her father and coach, Valeri Liukin, won several gymnastics medals for the Soviet Union at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Roger Federer won his first Olympic medal by teaming up with Stanislas Wawrinka to win the men's doubles for Switzerland.

Rafael Nadal of Spain beat Chile's Fernando González to win gold in the men's singles – Spain's first ever Olympic gold medal in tennis.

Sudan's Ismail Ahmed Ismail became his country's first Olympic medallist, taking silver in the men's 800m.

In a major upset, Australia's Matthew Mitcham won the men's 10m platform gold medal, scoring 112.10 points on his final dive and preventing the Chinese team from achieving a clean sweep of the diving events.

Hungary won its third consecutive gold medal in men's water polo.

Position Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 China 51 21 28 100
2 United States of America 36 38 36 110
3 Russian Federation 23 21 28 72
4 Great Britain 19 13 15 47
5 Germany 16 10 15 41
6 Australia 14 15 17 46
7 Korea 13 10 8 31
8 Japan 9 6 10 25
9 Italy 8 9 10 27
10 France 7 16 18 41

Position Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
13 Kenya 6 4 4 14
18 Ethiopia 4 1 2 7
38 Zimbabwe 1 3 0 4
52 Cameroon 1 0 0 1
54 Tunisia 1 0 0 1
60 Nigeria 0 1 3 4
68 Morocco 0 1 1 2
75 South Africa 0 1 0 1
76 Sudan 0 1 0 1
81 Egypt 0 0 1 1
83 Mauritius 0 0 1 1
85 Togo 0 0 1 1

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