Olympic Torch

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Posted by sonny 04/14/2009 @ 06:07

Tags : olympic torch, international olympic committee, international organizations, world

News headlines
Governor General to receive Olympic flame in Greece - Times and Transcript
OTTAWA - Governor General Michaelle Jean will be the first Canadian torchbearer in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic relay. Government sources say Jean will travel to Greece in October to pick up the flame before it is transported back to Canada....
Special Olympic Torch Run planned for Monday - North Platte Telegraph
By Mark Young For many years, the state of Nebraska has coordinated the annual Special Olympic Torch Run, which typically begins in Western Nebraska, with the torch arriving in Eastern Nebraska to kick off the annual Nebraska Special Olympics....
Torch relay volunteers sought - Morden Times
Residents are being encouraged to get involved for when the Olympic torch relay passes through town on its way towards the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The torch relay will be coming through Morden January 7, 2010. Morden has been designated a...
Olympic journey for Guild scrolls - Lancashire Evening Post
But Preston's own "Olympic Torch" is to go on an international journey to mark the city's 2012 Guild celebrations. Town Hall chiefs have agreed the city's Scrolls of Friendship will again be sent around the world for Prestonian ex-pats to sign and...
Olympic torch deadline approaches - Vancouver Sun
By JEFF LEE, Vancouver SunMay 11, 2009Comments (1) VANCOUVER - Organizers of the 2010 Olympic torch relay said Monday they're not worried about finding enough people to participate in the event. And they expect a bump in applications over the next few...
Bright ideas sought for Olympic torch visit - Hamilton Spectator
Hamilton is looking for some hot ideas to make the Olympic torch visit to the city a memorable one. Citizens get two chances next week to help shape the Dec. 19 torch rally at Dundurn Castle -- Tuesday from 7 to 9 pm at Dundurn's Coachhouse and the...
Get a sneak peek at the Olympic Torch! - Bay Today
By Kate Adams RBC is celebrating the spirit of the Olympic Flame by bringing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch to North Bay. On May 19th, the students at École St-Raymond will have the chance to see the Torch up close. A free public event will also be...
Torch decision will come under spotlight - Ipswich Evening Star
COMMUNITY leaders will decide next week whether to back a bid to bring the Olympic torch to Felixstowe or ditch the idea because of terrorism concerns. Town councillors will discuss the issue on Wednesday when town clerk Susan Robinson will give an...
Special Olympic torch passes through Calhoun - Calhoun Times
Bedford carried the Special Olympic Torch into Calhoun from the Gordon County Sheriff's office Tuesday morning, the first day of the two and a half week run in Georgia. A ceremony was held on the courthouse steps be-fore the torch continued to the next...
Canmore cop to escort Olympic torch runners - Canmore Leader
Sanjay Sachdev was chosen as one of the police officers who will be escorting the Olympic torch bearers across the country during the Olympic Torch Relay. Thousands of lucky Canadians over the age of 13 will be chosen at random to have their turn to...

Olympic Torch (virus hoax)

Olympic Torch is a computer virus hoax sent out by e-mail. The hoax e-mails first appeared in February 2006. The "virus" referred to by the e-mail does not actually exist. The hoax e-mail warns recipients of a recent outbreak of "Olympic Torch" viruses, contained in e-mails titled "Invitation", which erase the hard disk of the user's computer when opened. The hoax email further purports the virus to be acknowledged by such reputable sources as CNN, McAfee and Microsoft as one of the most dangerous viruses yet reported. In reality, the "Olympic Torch" virus is non-existent, and generally has not been reported by the organizations quoted.

If received, this hoax e-mail can safely be ignored and deleted.

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2010 Olympic torch relay route

The route of the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay is expected to carry the torch through the over 1000 communities across Canada, following locations between October 30, 2009 to February 12, 2010.

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Olympic Games

Olympic rings.svg

The Olympic Games are an international multi-sport event established for both summer and winter sports. There have been two generations of the Olympic Games; the first was the Ancient Olympic Games (Greek: Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες; (help·info)) held at Olympia, Greece. The second, known as the Modern Olympic Games, was first revived in the late 19th century in Greece.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894 on the initiative of Pierre de Coubertin. It has become the governing body of the Olympic Movement, which is defined by the Olympic Charter. The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th century forced the IOC to adapt the Games in several ways. Some of these adaptations include the addition of a Winter Games, a Paralympics, and an Olympic Games for teenagers. The IOC has also had to adapt to the changing economic, political, and technological realities of the 20th century. As a result the Olympics began to shift away from the pure amateur athlete as envisioned by Coubertin. The medium of television also created the issue of corporate sponsorship and the commercialization of the Games. The IOC navigated the Cold War and the overt use of the Games for political gain.

The Olympic Movement comprises International sports federations, National Olympic committees and organizing committees for each specific Olympic Games. The IOC is the decision-making body. They initiate an Olympic Games by selecting a host city, which is usually announced six to seven years in advance of the Games. The host city is responsible to organize and fund a celebration of the Games consistent with the Olympic Charter. The Olympic program (which consists of the sports to be competed at an Olympic Games) is also determined by the IOC.

The Games have grown in scale to the point that nearly every nation on Earth is represented at a celebration of the Games. This growth has created numerous challenges including; boycotts, the use of performance enhancing drugs, bribery of officials, and terrorism. The Games encompass many rituals and symbols such as the Olympic flag and torch as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Every four years the Olympics enable athletes, who compete in relative obscurity, the chance to attain national, and in the case of a few, international fame. The Games also afford the populations of host cities the opportunity to showcase their home to the world.

There is little certain about the origins of the Ancient Olympics. Greeks gave several rather incompatible foundation legends; the most popular ones identify Heracles and his father Zeus as the progenitors of the Games. According to legend, it is Heracles who first called the Games "Olympic" and established the custom of holding them every four years. One story claims that after Heracles completed his twelve labors, he went on to build the Olympic stadium and as an honor to Zeus. After the stadium was complete, he walked in a straight line for 200 steps and called this distance a "stadion" (Greek: στάδιον, Latin: stadium, "stage"), which later became a unit of distance. Another myth associates the first Games with the ancient Greek concept of Olympic truce (ἐκεχειρία, ekecheiria). The most widely held estimate for the inception of the Ancient Olympics is 776 BC, this is based on inscriptions found of the winners of a footrace held every four years starting in 776 BC. Tradition has it that Coroebus, a cook from the city of Elis, was the first Olympic champion. From then on, the Olympic Games became important throughout ancient Greece. They reached their zenith in the 6th and 5th centuries BC.

The Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honoring both Zeus (whose famous statue by Phidias stood in his temple at Olympia) and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia. Pelops was famous for his chariot race with King Oenomaus of Pisatis. The winners of the events were admired and immortalized in poems and statues. The Games were held every four years, known as an Olympiad, and this period was used by Greeks as one of their units of time measurement. The Games were part of a cycle known as the Panhellenic Games, which included the Pythian Games, the Nemean Games, and the Isthmian Games.

Gradually the Games declined in importance as the Romans gained power and influence in Greece. Some scholars date the end of the Games to 393 AD, when the emperor Theodosius I declared that all pagan cults and practices be eliminate; others believe that the Games ended in 426 AD, when his successor Theodosius II ordered the destruction of all Greek temples. After the demise of the Olympics, they were not held again for another 1,500 years.

The first significant attempt to emulate the ancient Olympic games was the nationwide L'Olympiade de la République, an Olympic festival held annually, from 1796 to 1798, in Revolutionary France. The competition included several disciplines from the ancient Greek Olympics. The 1796 Games also marked the introduction of the metric system into sport. In 1850 an Olympian Class began at Much Wenlock, in Shropshire, England. It was renamed the Wenlock Olympian Games in 1859, and continues today as the Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games. In 1866, a national Olympic Games in Great Britain was organized by Dr. William Penny Brookes at London's Crystal Palace.

Greek interest in reviving the Olympic Games began after the country's independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. It was first proposed by poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos in his poem "Dialogue of the Dead", published in 1833. Evangelis Zappas, a wealthy Greek philanthropist, sponsored the revival of the ancient Olympic Games. The first modern international Olympic Games was held in 1859 in an Athens city square with participants from Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Later Zappas paid for the complete restoration of the ruins of the ancient Panathenian Stadium so that it could stage two further editions of the Games, one in 1870 and a second in 1875.

French historian Baron Pierre de Coubertin was searching for a reason for the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871). He theorized that the French soldiers had not received proper physical education. In 1890 after attending the Olympian Games of the Wenlock Olympian Society, Coubertin decided that a large-scale revival of the Olympic Games was achievable. Until that time, attempts to create a modern version of the ancient Olympic Games had met with various amounts of success at the local (one, or at most two, participating nations) level.

Coubertin built on the ideas of Brookes and Zappas with the aim to internationalize the Olympic Games. He presented these ideas during the first Olympic Congress of the newly created International Olympic Committee (IOC). This meeting was held from June 16 to June 23, 1894, at the Sorbonne University in Paris. On the last day of the Congress, it was decided that the first multinational Olympic Games would take place two years later in Athens. The IOC was fully responsible for the Games' organization, and, for that purpose, elected the Greek writer Demetrius Vikelas as its first president.

There were fewer than 250 athletes at the first Olympic Games of the modern times. The Panathenian Stadium, restored for Zappas's Games of 1870 and 1875, was refurbished a second time in preparation for this inaugural edition. These Olympics featured nine sporting disciplines: athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting, and wrestling; rowing events were scheduled for competition but had to be cancelled due to bad weather conditions. The Greek officials and public were enthusiastic about the experience of hosting the inaugural Games. This feeling was shared by many of the athletes, who even demanded that Athens be the host of the Olympic Games on a permanent basis. The IOC had, however, envisaged these modern Olympics to be an itinerating and truly global event, and thus decided differently, planning for the second edition to take place in Paris.

After the initial success of the 1896 Games, the Olympics endured a struggling period that threatened their survival. The celebrations in Paris in 1900 and St. Louis in 1904 were overshadowed by the World's Fair exhibitions, which were held at the same time frames and locations. The St. Louis Games, for example, hosted 650 athletes, but 580 were originally from the United States. The homogenous nature of these editions was a low point for the Olympic Movement, even though it was in Paris that women were first allowed to compete. The Games rebounded when the 1906 Intercalated Games (so-called because they were the second Games held within the third Olympiad) were held in Athens. The Intercalated Games are not officially recognized as an official Olympic Games, and no later Intercalated Games have been held. These Games attracted a broad international field of participants, and generated great public interest. This marked the beginning of a rise in both the popularity and the size of the Games.

While both figure skating (1908 and 1920 Games) and ice hockey (1920 Games) had featured as Olympic events at the Summer Olympics, the IOC looked upon equity between winter and summer sports. At the 1921 Congress, in Lausanne, it decided to hold a winter version of the Olympic Games. The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France, though they were only officially recognized by the IOC as such in the following year. The IOC made the Winter Games a permanent fixture in the Olympic Movement in 1925 and mandated that they be celebrated every four years on the same year as their Summer counterpart. This tradition was maintained until the 1992 Games in Albertville, France; after that, beginning with the 1994 Games, further Winter Games have been held on the third year of each Olympiad.

In 1948 Sir Ludwig Guttman, determined to innovate new ways to rehabilitate soldiers after World War II, organized a multi-sport event between various hospitals to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics. Guttman's event, known then as the Stoke Mandeville Games, became an annual sports festival. Over the next twelve years, Guttman and others continued their efforts to use sports as an avenue to healing. For the 1960 Olympic Games, in Rome, Guttman brought 400 athletes to compete in the "Parallel Olympics", which became known as the first Paralympics. Since then, the Paralympics have been held in every Olympic year; since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the host city for the Olympics has also played host to the Paralympics.

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) were conceived by IOC president Jacques Rogge, in 2001, and approved by the IOC during the 119th IOC session, held in July 2007 in Guatemala City. The Youth Olympics will feature athletes who are 14–18 years of age. These Games will be shorter than the senior Games, the summer version will last twelve days, while the winter version will last a maximum of nine days. The IOC will allow no more than 3,500 athletes and 875 officials to participate at the Summer Youth Games, and 970 athletes and 580 officials at the Winter Youth Games. The sports to be contested will coincide with those scheduled for the traditional senior Games, however with a reduced number of disciplines and events. The host city for the first Summer Youth Games will be Singapore, in 2010, while the inaugural Winter Games will be hosted in Innsbruck, Austria, two years later.

From the 241 participants representing 14 nations in 1896, the Games have grown to 10,500 competitors from 204 countries at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The scope and scale of the Winter Olympics is comparatively smaller. For example, Turin hosted 2,508 athletes from 80 countries competing in 84 events, during the 2006 Winter Olympics.

The number of participating countries is noticeably higher than the 193 countries that are current members of the United Nations. The IOC allows nations to compete that do not meet the strict requirements for political sovereignty that other international organizations demand. As a result, colonies and dependencies are permitted to set up their own Olympic teams and athletes, even if such competitors also hold citizenship in another member nation. Examples of this include territories such as Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and Hong Kong, all of which compete as separate nations despite being legally a part of another country.

French and English are the official languages of the Olympic Movement. The other official language used at each Olympic Games is the official language of the host country. Consequently, every proclamation (such as the announcement of each country during the parade of nations in the opening ceremony) is spoken in these three languages.

The advent of the internet created unwelcome competition for television companies. The television medium could not compete with the instant results provided by the internet. Their response was to shift coverage from pure reporting of events to creating a story-line. Ratings are the yardstick of success for television companies. If the ratings are below expectation, the television companies are required to give away free advertising time to their sponsors. Viewership on the whole has increased exponentially since the 1960s. Worldwide audience estimates for the 1968 Mexico Games was 600 million. At the Los Angeles Games of 1984 the audience numbers had increased to 900 million. That number swelled to 3.5 billion by the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. At the turn of the century there was a sudden drop in ratings. This was attributed to increased competition from cable channels for viewers along with too much tape-delayed content in which the outcome was already known. With such high costs charged by the IOC, the added pressure of the internet, and increased competition from cable, the television lobby demanded concessions from the IOC in order to boost ratings. The IOC responded by making a number of changes to the Olympic program. They expanded the gymnastics competition from seven to nine nights, for example, and added a "Champions Gala" in order to draw greater ratings. They also expanded the swimming and diving programs, both sports that are popular with a broad base of television viewers. Finally the American television lobby was able to dictate when certain events were held so that they could be broadcast live during prime time in the United States. The result of these efforts was mixed, the ratings for the Turino Winter Games of 2006 were significantly lower than the 2002 Games, while there was a sharp increase in viewership for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

During the first half of the 20th century the IOC was run on a small budget, staffed by volunteers. As president of the IOC from 1952 to 1972, Avery Brundage rejected all attempts to link the Olympics with commercial interest. Brundage believed the lobby of corporate interests, especially that of the television companies, would allow them to unduly impact the IOC's decision-making. Brundage's resistance to this revenue stream meant the IOC was slow to seek a share of the financial windfall that was coming to host cities, who were signing their own sponsorship deals, and also slow to control how sponsorship contracts would be structured. When Brundage retired the IOC had USD $2 million in assets, eight years later the IOC coffers had swelled to USD $45 million. This was primarily due to a shift in ideology among IOC members toward expansion of the Games through corporate sponsorship and the sale of television rights. When Juan Antonio Samaranch was elected IOC president in 1980 his stated desire was to make the IOC financially independent.

The 1984 Summer Olympics became a watershed moment in Olympic history. The Los Angeles-based organizing committee led by Peter Ueberroth was able to generate a surplus of USD $225 million, which was an unprecedented amount at that time. The organizing committee had been able to create such a surplus in part by selling exclusive sponsorship rights to select companies. The IOC, under Samaranch's guidance, sought to gain control of these sponsorship rights. He helped to establish, "The Olympic Program" (TOP) in 1985, with the stated goal of creating an Olympic "brand". Membership in TOP was, and is, very exclusive, and expensive, with fees running upwards of USD $50 million for a four year membership. Members of TOP received exclusive global advertising rights for their product category, and use of the Olympic symbol, the interlocking rings, in their publications and advertisements.

The overt sale of the Olympic brand has been controversial. The argument is that the Games have become indistinguishable from any other massively commercialized sporting spectacle. They have also been criticized for marketing saturation at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games. The cities were awash in various corporations and merchants attempting to sell their various Olympic-related wares. The IOC responded by indicating they would address this in order to prevent further spectacles of overt marketing at future Games. A third criticizm is that the Games are funded by host cities and national governments, the IOC incurs none of this cost, yet controls all the rights to license the Olympic symbols. They also take a percentage of all sponsorship and broadcast income. Host cities continue to compete ardently for the right to host the Games, even though there is no certainty that they will meet all their financial obligations.

The IOC has often been criticized for being an intractable organization, with several members on the committee for life. The leadership of IOC presidents Juan Antonio Samaranch and Avery Brundage was especially controversial. Brundage was president of the IOC for over 20 years. During his tenure he protected the Olympics from untoward political involvement. He was also accused of both racism, for his handling of the apartheid issue with the South African delegation, and anti-Semitism. Under the Samaranch presidency the office was accused of both nepotism and corruption. Samaranch's ties with the Franco regime in Spain was also a source of criticism.

In 1998, it was uncovered that several IOC members had taken bribes from the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, United States. The bribes were intended to insure their votes for Salt Lake City to host the 2002 Games. The IOC started an investigation, which led to four members resigning and six being expelled. The scandal set off further reforms, changing the way host cities are selected to avoid further bribes.

A BBC documentary, which aired in August 2004, entitled Panorama: Buying the Games, investigated the taking of bribes in the bidding process for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The documentary claimed it is possible to bribe IOC members into voting for a particular candidate city. After being narrowly defeated in their bid for the 2012 Summer Games, Parisian Mayor Bertrand Delanoë specifically accused the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the London Bid Committee (headed by former Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe) of breaking the bid rules. He cited French President Jacques Chirac as a witness; Chirac gave guarded interviews regarding his involvement. The issue was never fully pursued. The Turin bid for the 2006 Winter Olympics was also shrouded in controversy. A prominent member of the IOC, Marc Hodler, himself strongly connected with rival Sion, Switzerland's bid, alleged bribery of IOC officials by members of the Turin Organizing Committee. These accusations led to a wide-ranging investigation. The allegations also served to sour many IOC members to Sion's bid and may have helped Turin to capture the host city nomination.

The Olympic Movement uses symbols to represent the ideals embodied in the Olympic Charter. The Olympic rings are the main image of the Movement and one of the world's most recognized symbols. The five intertwined rings represent the unity of the five inhabited continents (with the Americas regarded as a single continent).

The five colored rings on a white field form the Olympic flag. The colors—white, red, blue, green, yellow, and black—were chosen because every nation had at least one of these colors in its national flag. The flag was adopted in 1914, but was first flown only at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. It is hoisted in each opening ceremony of the Games and lowered at the closure.

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Months before each Games, the Olympic flame is lit in Olympia in a ceremony that reflects ancient Greek rituals. A female performer, acting as a priestess, ignites a torch by placing it inside a parabolic mirror which focuses the sun's rays; she then lights the torch of the first relay bearer, thus initiating the Olympic torch relay that will carry the flame to the host city's Olympic stadium, where it plays an important role in the opening ceremony. Though the flame has been an Olympic symbol since 1928, the torch relay was only introduced in 1936, as part of the German government's attempt to promote its National Socialist ideology.

The Olympic mascot, an animal or human figure representing the cultural heritage of the host country, was introduced in 1968. It has played an important part of the Games since 1980, with the success of Misha, the Russian bear. The mascots of the most recent Summer Olympics, in Beijing, were the Fuwa. They are five creatures that represent the five fengshui elements important in Chinese culture.

As mandated by the Olympic Charter, various elements frame the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Most of these rituals were established at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp. The ceremony typically starts with the hoisting of the host country's flag and a performance of its national anthem. The host nation then presents artistic displays of music, singing, dance, and theater representative of its culture. The artistic presentations have grown in scale and complexity as successive hosts attempt to provide a ceremony that outlasts its predecessor's in terms of memorability. The opening ceremony of the Beijing Games reportedly cost $100 million, with much of the cost incurred in the artistic segment. After the artistic portion of the ceremony, the athletes parade in by nation. Various speeches are given formally opening the Games, and finally, the Olympic Torch is brought into the stadium and passed on until it reaches the last carrier. This person is often a well-known and successful Olympic athlete from the host nation—who lights the Olympic Flame in the stadium's cauldron.

The closing ceremony of the Olympic Games takes place after all sporting events have concluded. Flag-bearers from each participating country enter the stadium, followed by the athletes who enter en masse without any national distinction. Three national flags are hoisted while the corresponding national anthems are played: the flag of Greece, to honor the birthplace of the Olympic Games; the flag of the current host country, and the flag of the country hosting the next Summer or Winter Olympic Games. The president of the organizing committee and the IOC president make their closing speeches, and the Games are then officially closed. The Olympic Flame is extinguished. In what is known as the Antwerp Ceremony, the mayor of the city that organized the Games transfers a special Olympic flag to the president of the IOC, who then passes it on to the mayor of the city hosting the next Olympic Games. After these compulsory elements, the next host nation briefly introduces itself with artistic displays of dance and theater representative of its culture.

After completion of each Olympic event, a medal ceremony is held, where the best three athletes stand on top of a three-tiered rostrum to be awarded their respective medals. After the medals are given out by an IOC member, the national flags of the three medalists are raised while the national anthem of the gold medalist's country plays. Volunteering citizens of the host country also act as hosts during the medal ceremonies, as they aid the officials who present the medals and act as flag-bearers. For every Olympic event, the respective medal ceremony is held, at most, one day after the event's final. A notable exception is the men's marathon: the competition is usually held early in the morning on the last day of Olympic competition and its medal ceremony is then held in the evening during the closing ceremony.

Currently, the Olympic Games program consists of 33 sports, 52 disciplines and nearly 400 events. For example, Wrestling is a Summer Olympic sport, it comprises two disciplines, Greco-Roman and Freestyle. It is further broken down into fourteen events for men and four events for women. These events are dileneated by weight classes. The Summer Olympics program includes 26 sports, while the Winter Olympics program comprises 7 sports. Athletics, swimming, fencing, and artistic gymnastics are the only summer sports that have never been absent from the Olympic program since 1896. Cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and speed skating have been featured at every Winter Olympics program since 1924. Current Olympic sports, like badminton, basketball, and volleyball, first appeared on the program as demonstration sports, and were later promoted to full Olympic sports. Some sports that were featured in earlier Games were dropped from the program at some point.

The Olympic sports are governed by international sports federations (IFs) recognized by the IOC as the global supervisors of those sports. There are 35 fererations recognized by the IOC. There are sports recognized by the IOC that are not included on the Olympic program. These sports are not considered "Olympic" sports, but they can be promoted to this status during a program revision that occurs in the first IOC session following a celebration of the Olympic Games. During such revision, sports can be excluded or included in the program based on a two-thirds majority vote of the members of the IOC. Many of the recognized sports were competed in early Olympic Games or were demonstration sports at one time. There are also recognized sports have never been on an Olympic program in any capacity. Some of these recongized sports include tug of war, chess, golf, and surfing. An Olympic sport that was voted out of the program does not lose its status and may be reincluded at a subsequent Games.

In October and November 2004, the IOC established an "Olympic Programme Commisssion", which was tasked with reviewing the sports on the Olympic program and all non-Olympic recognized sports. The goal being to apply a systematic approach to establishing the Olympic program for each celebration of the Games. The commission formulated seven criteria to judge whether a sport should be included on the Olympic program. These criteria are: History and tradition of the sport, Universality, Popularity of the sport, Image, Athletes' health, Development of the International Federation that governs the sport, and Costs of competing the sport. From this study five recognized sports emerged as candidates for possible inclusion at the 2012 Summer Olympics: golf, karate, rugby, roller sports and squash. These sports were reviewed by the IOC Executive Board and then referred to the General Session in Singapore in July 2005. Of the five sports recommended for inclusion only two were selected as finalists: karate and squash. Neither sport attained the required two-thirds vote and were not promoted to the Olympic program.

The 114th IOC Session, in 2002, limited the Summer Games program to a maximum of 28 sports, 301 events, and 10,500 athletes. Three years later, at the 117th IOC Session, the first major program revision was performed, which resulted in the exclusion of baseball and softball from the official program of the 2012 London Games. Since there was no agreement in the promotion of two other sports, the 2012 program will feature just 26 sports.

The ethos of the aristocracy as exemplified in the English public schools greatly influenced Pierre de Coubertin. The public schools subscribed to the belief that sport formed an important part of education, an attitude summed up in the saying mens sana in corpore sano, a sound mind in a sound body. In this ethos, a gentleman was one who became an all-rounder, not the best at one specific thing. There was also a prevailing concept of fairness, in which practicing or training was considered tantamount to cheating. Those who practiced a sport professionally were considered to have an unfair advantage over those who practiced it merely as a hobby.

The exclusion of professionals caused several controversies throughout the history of the modern Olympics. The 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon champion Jim Thorpe was stripped of his medals when it was discovered that he had played semi-professional baseball before the Olympics. He was restored as champion on compassionate grounds by the IOC in 1983. Swiss and Austrian skiers boycotted the 1936 Winter Olympics in support of their skiing teachers, who were not allowed to compete because they earned money with their sport and were thus considered professionals.

As class structure evolved through the 20th century, the definition of the amateur athlete as an aristocratic gentleman became outdated. The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. Nevertheless, the IOC held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism. Beginning in the 1970s, amateurism requirements were gradually phased out of the Olympic Charter. Eventually the decisions on professional participation were left to the IFs. As of 2004, the only sport in which no professionals compete is boxing, although even this requires a definition of amateurism based on fight rules rather than on payment, as some boxers receive cash prizes from their National Olympic Committees. In men's football (soccer), the number of players over 23 years eligible to participate in the Olympic tournament is limited to three per team. This is done in order to maintain a level of amateurism.

The 1956 Melbourne Olympics were the first Olympics to be boycotted. The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland refused to attend because of the repression of the Hungarian uprising by the Soviet Union; additionally, Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted the Games due to the Suez Crisis. In 1972 and 1976 a large number of African countries threatened the IOC with a boycott to force them to ban South Africa and Rhodesia, because of their segregationist regimes. New Zealand was also one of the African boycott targets, due to the "All Blacks" (national rugby team) having toured apartheid-ruled South Africa. The IOC conceded in the first two cases, but refused to ban New Zealand on the grounds that rugby was not an Olympic sport. Fulfilling their threat, twenty African countries were joined by Guyanna and Iraq in a Tanzania-led withdrawal from the Montreal Games, after a few of their athletes had already competed. Taiwan also decided to skip these Games since the People's Republic of China (PRC)—not attending the Games after breaking away with the IOC, in 1958, over the island's political status within the organization—exerted pressure on the Montreal organizing committee to keep the delegation from the Republic of China (ROC) from competing under the such name. The ROC refused a proposed compromise that would have still allowed them to use the ROC flag and anthem as long as the name was changed. Taiwan did not participate again until 1984, when it returned under the name of Chinese Taipei and with a special flag and anthem.

In 1980 and 1984, the Cold War opponents boycotted each other's Games. Sixty-five nations refused to compete at the Moscow 1980 Olympics because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This boycott reduced the number of nations participating to only 81, the lowest number since 1956. The Soviet Union and 14 of its Eastern Bloc partners (except Romania) countered by boycotting the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, contending that they could not guarantee the safety of their athletes. Soviet officials were quoted as saying that "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria are being whipped up in the United States", this being the reason for not attending the Games. The boycotting nations staged their own alternate event, the Friendship Games, in July and August.

There had been growing calls for boycotts of Chinese goods and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in protest of China's human rights record and response to the recent disturbances in Tibet, Darfur, and Taiwan. U.S. President George W. Bush showcased these concerns in a highly publicized speech in Thailand just prior to the opening of the Games. Ultimately, no nation withdrew before the Games.

Contrary to its refounding principles, the Olympic Games have been used as a vehicle to promote political ideologies. The Soviet Union, for example, did not participate until the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. Instead, in 1928, the Soviets organized an international sports event called Spartakiads. Other communist countries organized Workers Olympics during the inter-war period of the 1920s and 1930s. These events were held as an alternative to the Olympics, which were seen as a capitalist and aristocratic event. It was not until the 1960 Games that the Soviets emerged as a sporting superpower and, in doing so, took full advantage of the publicity that came with winning at the Olympics.

Individual athletes have also used the Olympic stage to promote their own political agenda. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, in Mexico City, two American track and field athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who finished first and third in the 200 meter sprint race, performed the Black Power salute on the victory stand. The second place finisher Peter Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support of Smith and Carlos. In response to the protest, IOC President Avery Brundage told the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to either send the two athletes home or withdraw the complete track and field team. The USOC opted for the former. The photo of the three men on the medal podium has become an iconic Olympic image.

Far from being a thing of the past, interference of politics in the Games still occurs. The government of Iran has taken steps to avoid any competition between its athletes and those from Israel. Evidence of this was seen at the 2004 Summer Olympics when an Iranian judoka did not compete in a match against an Israeli. Although he was officially disqualified for excessive weight, Arash Miresmaeli was awarded US$125,000 in prize money by the Iranian government, an amount paid to all Iranian gold medal winners. He was officially cleared of intentionally avoiding the bout, but his receipt of the prize money raised suspicion.

The Olympics feature individual athletes who compete within a national team, and their motivation to succeed is both personal achievement and national glory. With the increase in global mobility, the athlete's national identity can become blurred. Kristy Coventry, a white Zimbabwean swimmer, spent eight years training for the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics while living in the United States. Her victories in Beijing sparked a wave of national pride that temporarily set aside mounting political and racial tension in Zimbabwe.

In the early 20th century, many Olympic athletes began using drugs to improve their athletic abilities. For example, the winner of the marathon at the 1904 Games, Thomas J. Hicks, was given strychnine and brandy by his coach. As these methods became more extreme, it became increasingly evident that doping was not only a threat to the integrity of sport but could also have potentially fatal side effects on the athlete. The only Olympic death linked to doping occurred at the Rome Games of 1960. During the cycling road race, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen fell from his bicycle and later died. A coroner's inquiry found that he was under the influence of amphetamines. By the mid-1960s, sports federations were starting to ban the use of performance enhancing drugs, and the IOC followed suit in 1967.

The first Olympic athlete to test positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, a Swedish pentathlete at the 1968 Summer Olympics, who lost his bronze medal for alcohol use. The most publicized doping-related disqualification was that of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who won the 100 meter dash at the 1988 Seoul Olympics but tested positive for stanozolol. His gold medal was subsequently stripped and awarded to runner-up Carl Lewis, who himself had tested positive for banned substances prior to the Olympics but had not been banned.

In the late 1990s, the IOC took the initiative in a more organized battle against doping, leading to the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 1999. The 2000 Summer Olympics and 2002 Winter Olympics have shown that this battle is not nearly over, as several medalists in weightlifting and cross-country skiing were disqualified due to doping offenses. During the 2006 Winter Olympics, only one athlete failed a drug test and had a medal revoked. The IOC-established drug testing regimen (now known as the "Olympic Standard") has set the worldwide benchmark that other sporting federations around the world attempt to emulate. During the Beijing games, 3,667 athletes were tested by the IOC under the auspices of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Both urine and blood testing was used in a coordinated effort to detect not only banned substances but also blood doping. While several athletes were barred from competition by their National Olympic Committees prior to the Games, three athletes failed drug tests while in competition in Beijing.

Despite what Coubertin had hoped for, the Olympics did not bring total peace to the world. In fact, three Olympiads had to pass without a celebration of the Games because of war: the 1916 Games were cancelled due to World War I, and the summer and winter games of 1940 and 1944 were cancelled because of World War II. The South Ossetia War between Georgia and Russia erupted on the opening day of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Both President Bush and Prime Minister Putin were attending the Olympics at that time and spoke together about the conflict at a luncheon hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao. When Nino Salukvadze of Georgia won the bronze medal in the 10 meter air pistol competition, she stood on the medal podium with Natalia Paderina, a Russian shooter who had won the silver. In what became a much-publicized event from the Beijing Games, Salukvadze and Paderina embraced on the podium after the ceremony had ended.

Terrorism has also threatened the Olympic Games. In 1972, when the Summer Games were held in Munich, West Germany, eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by the terrorist group Black September in what is now known as the Munich massacre. A bungled liberation attempt led to the deaths of the nine abducted athletes who had not been killed prior to the rescue. Also killed were five of the terrorists and a German policeman. Another example of terrorism at the Olympics came during the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta. A bomb was detonated at the Centennial Olympic Park, which killed 2 and injured 111 others. The bomb was set by Eric Robert Rudolph, an American domestic terrorist, who is currently serving a life sentence at ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado.

The athletes or teams who place first, second, or third in each event receive medals. The winners receive gold medals, which were solid gold until 1912. After 1912 the medals were made of gilded silver and now gold plated silver. Every gold medal must contain at least six grams of pure gold. The runners-up receive silver medals and the third-place athletes are awarded bronze medals. In events contested by a single-elimination tournament (most notably boxing), third place might not be determined and both semifinal losers receive bronze medals. The practice of awarding medals to the top three competitors was introduced in 1906; at the 1896 Olympics only the first two received a medal, first place received silver and second received bronze. Various prizes, including for works of art, were awarded in 1900. The 1904 Olympics also awarded silver trophies for first place. The three medal format was first used at the Intercalated Games of 1906. Since the IOC no longer recognizes these as official Olympic Games, the first official awarding of the three medals came in the London Olympics of 1908. From 1948 onward athletes placing fourth, fifth, and sixth have received certificates, which became officially known as "victory diplomas". In 1984 victory diplomas for seventh and eighth-place finishers were added. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, the gold, silver, and bronze medal winners were also given olive wreaths. The IOC does not keep track of overall medal tallies per country, but the media often publish unofficial medal counts. National Olympic Committees also keep track of medal statistics as a measure of success.

The question of which athlete is the most successful of all time is a difficult one to answer. The diversity of the sports and the evolution of the Olympic Games since 1896 complicate the matter. While it may not be the most equitable way to measure success, a list of the most titles won at the Modern Olympic Games by individuals is one way to determine the greatest Olympic athletes of all time.

The process of becoming an Olympic host city involves several steps. The nomination of a host city to the IOC is done through the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the country in which the city resides. There are two parts involved in selecting a host city. The first is the application procedure. Only one city per NOC can apply. In the prospective host city's application they must give assurances that they will comply with the Olympic Charter and with any other regulations established by the IOC Executive Committee. Once the application deadline has passed the IOC will review the applications and select the candidate cities. The IOC president establishes an Evaluation Commission for each candidate city. The Evaluation Commission visits the candidate city, interviews local officials, inspects prospective athletic sites, and submits a report on its findings no later than one month prior to the IOC session that will select the host city. The candidate city must guarantee that they will be able to fund the Games and show how that funding will be generated. The Executive Committee will review the evaluation report on each candidate city and select a final list of cities to be presented to the IOC General Session. It is the General Session that has the final vote on the host city. Once elected, the host city bid committee and the NOC of the country involved enter into a Host City Contract with the IOC. This is the final step toward becoming an official Olympic host city. Unless there is an emergency situation, the host city is selected seven years prior to the Games.

By 2012, the Olympic Games will have been hosted by 42 cities in 22 countries, but only by cities outside Europe and North America on seven occasions. Since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the Olympics have been held in Asia or Oceania four times, which is a sharp increase compared to the previous 92 years of modern Olympic history. All bids by countries in South America and Africa have failed. The number in parentheses following the city or country denotes how many times that city or country had then hosted that version of the Games. The table includes the Intercalated Games of 1906, which the IOC no longer considers an official Olympic Games.

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2008 Tibetan unrest

Orange refers to areas in the People's Republic of China that have been designated as Tibetan (and other ethnic minorities) autonomous areas.

The unrest happened during the week when major local government leaders were away for the annual National People's Congress in Beijing. According to Wen Jiabao, the Premier of the People's Republic of China, attacks on non-Tibetan interests in the Tibet Autonomous Region and several other ethnic Tibetan areas occurred at about the same time as attacks on dozens of Chinese embassies and consulates.

Wen Jiabao accused Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, of masterminding the violence, while the Dalai Lama denied the accusation and said that the uprisings were caused by wide discontent in Tibet. The tension between these two key players leading up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing has drawn significant international press coverage of human rights violations in China. The Dalai Lama claimed that he supports the Beijing Olympics, saying that it is "deserving for the Chinese people to host the Olympic Games", but his envoy has called for the Chinese government to put an end to an alleged military crackdown and drop Tibet from the Olympic torch route. On May 4, 2008, Chinese government representatives met with two personal representatives of the Dalai Lama in Shenzhen, in southern China. The two sides agreed to hold further meetings. The second meeting, originally scheduled for 11 June, 2008, was postponed due to the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes, and was held on 1 July, 2008.

Information is scarce because Chinese authorities have restricted the ability of foreign and Hong Kong media to enter and freely report on the region, with the exception of James Miles, a correspondent from The Economist, who gained approval for a week-long trip which happened to coincide with the increase in tensions. On March 27, following a promise by premier Wen Jiabao to allow the media back in as soon as practicable, the Chinese authorities organised a controlled tour of Lhasa by foreign media. Chinese authorities have also reportedly attempted to block access to several major internet media outlets, including Wikipedia, by Chinese citizens during the turmoil.

The event fanned nationalism among ethnic Chinese inside and outside of China, who viewed the event as a means by western countries to block the “Rise of China”. Some leaders of the western countries, such as France, were in hurry to repair the rift with China caused by the event. Eventually, the leaders of almost ninety countries attended the opening or closing ceremonies of Olympics in Beijing, far more than in any previous Olympics.

The political situation in Tibet makes the area especially sensitive, but there are also a number of simmering socio-economic issues that may have led to the riots in Lhasa on March 14th. The Economist reporter James Miles, when asked if the Dalai Lama was responsible for the riots in an interview, responded that he "didn't see any evidence of any organized activity" and that "it's more likely that what we saw was yes inspired by a general desire of Tibetans both inside Tibet and among the Dalai Lama's followers, to take advantage of this Olympic year. But also inspired simply by all these festering grievances on the ground in Lhasa," and he noted in another report that "The rioting seemed to be primarily an eruption of ethnic hatred." Some Tibetans also complained about social discrimination, unequal pay, and rumors that Tibetan monks had been arrested, and even killed, in the days before the riots.

In recent years, many migrants from other parts of China have been moving into Lhasa and now own many of the city's small businesses. Tibetans in Lhasa are also angered by the inflation that has caused the prices of food and consumer goods to increase. Residents were worried that a railway built to link Lhasa to other areas of China would increase the number of migrants in the city, but they accepted it because the government assured them that cheaper transportation would keep prices lower. However, as in other parts of the country, prices have continued to rise, creating resentment amongst the residents of Lhasa. The Tibetan youth complain about not having equal access to jobs and education.

The People's Republic of China government's invasion of Tibet in 1951 and the failed revolt in 1959 continue to generate tensions. While recognized by most countries and the United Nations, the legitimacy of Chinese sovereignty has been questioned by advocates of Tibetan independence. However the Dalai Lama has excluded independence from consideration, while demanding autonomy within China.

Violence started in Lhasa in Tibet when police cars, fire engines and other official vehicles were set on fire after anger erupted following the police's dispersal of a peaceful demonstration near a small temple in Lhasa. Tensions in Lhasa increased as the city's three biggest monasteries were sealed off by thousands of soldiers and armed police amid the largest protests in nearly two decades. The authorities had to use tear-gas to disperse the crowds of protestors.

The Tibetan riots spread outside of the Tibet Autonomous Region for the first time. Demonstrations by ethnic Tibetans and monks took place in the northwest province of Gansu on Saturday, March 15, 2008. The riots were centered around Gansu's Labrang Monastery, which is one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries outside of Tibet. Demonstrators marched through the streets of Xiahe, a predominantly Tibetan county in Gansu which surrounds the Labrang Monastery, a region referred to by its traditional name, Amdo Golog, by Tibetans. Up to 5,000 demonstrators were reportedly involved in the Gansu riots. There were reports of government offices being damaged by the rioters, and police using tear gas and force to break up the demonstrations. The Tibetan government-in-exile claims that 19 Tibetan rioters were shot dead on March 18, little known about the Chinese or Hui deaths. China's Xinhua News Agency reported the cost of damage in Gansu at an estimated ¥230 million (US$32.7 million).

Chinese authorities have reportedly arrested twelve Tibetan monks after an incident in the historic region of Rebkong, which is located in the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai (known to Tibetans as Amdo). Chinese security forces have reportedly surrounded the Ditsa monastery in Bayan County. Qinghai province borders Tibet and has a large Tibetan population (still known as Amdo according to Tibetans).

The Swiss Newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung publishes an account by a foreign journalist who managed to travel in the region of Xining End of March. According to the reports Tibetan teachers are receiving intimidation calls from the Public Security Bureau (PSB), passports belonging to Tibetans are confiscated to prevent traveling abroad and foreign residents are informed about their possible expulsion in case they get involved in pro-Tibetan activism. Students in the region are receiving one-sided "political teaching". Notwithstanding, Tibetan students of the Medical University of Xining have held demonstrations to express their solidarity with the demonstrators and victims in Lhasa.

In Sichuan province, in an area incorporating the traditional Tibetan areas Kham and Amdo, Tibetan monks and police clashed March 16 in Ngawa county after the monks staged a protest, killing at least one policeman, and setting fire to three or four police vans. The India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy claimed at least seven people were shot dead; however the claim could not be independently confirmed. There are claims that police shot between 13 and 30 protesters after a police station was set on fire, however reports of deaths are impossible to verify because of the restrictions on journalists.

According to Times Online, in the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing, around 100 ethnic Tibetan students organised a sit-in protest in solidarity with the protesters in Tibet. Police cordoned off the area, but did not take action against the participants, who sat silently in a circle in the center of the university campus.

The Times reported that students of Tibetan ancestry at schools in Beijing are required to submit written papers specifying their feelings for the Dalai Lama, providing details of their parents, giving details of their own identity card and a written statement guaranteeing not to take part in political activities.

According to Wen Jiabao, the Premier of the People's Republic of China, attacks on between ten and twenty Chinese embassies and consulates occurred around the same time as attacks on non-Tibetan interests in the Tibet Autonomous Region and several other ethnic Tibetan areas.

According to an article by Doug Saunders published in the The Globe and Mail, the protests were loosely coordinated by a group of full-time organizers hired by two umbrella groups that are loyal to the Tibetan government in exile. Documents were sent to more than 150 Tibet support groups around the world giving them detailed notes on how to behave when organizing similar disruptions as the torch makes its six-month trip around the world. This included advice on maintaining non-violence and following the Dalai Lama's opposition to Tibetan national independence (protesters were to advocate a more autonomous Tibet within China). However, many of the protests did not follow this advice. However, Doug Saunders further published that the torch-relay protests have no relationship with the riots and uprisings inside Tibet.

The US Congress-funded Radio Free Asia quoted witnesses who said they had seen at least two bodies on Lhasa's streets.

China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency reported early Saturday, March 15, that 10 people so far had been burned to death by rioters, including two hotel employees and two shop owners. It also reported that the victims were all innocent civilians and that most of them were business people. It again reported on March 21, according to the Tibet regional government, 18 civilians and 1 police officer were confirmed dead by Friday night in the unrest. In addition, the number of injured civilian rose to 382 from 325, 58 of whom were critically wounded. 241 police officers were injured, 23 of whom were critically wounded. All the casualties were caused by the rioting mobs.

The Associated Press reported that at a press conference on Monday, March 17, Tibet Autonomous Region governor Champa Phuntsok announced that 16 had been confirmed dead over the weekend's violence and dozens were injured. Other sources published after the same press conference indicate that China put the death toll in Lhasa at 13. The Associated Press claimed later that the Chinese government's official death toll from last week's rioting in Lhasa has risen to 22. Accordingly, the death toll provided by China's official news agency Xinhua has risen to 19.

Tibet's government-in-exile said on Saturday, March 15 that it had received "unconfirmed reports" of as many as 100 deaths due to the unrest in Tibet. Later, the Tibetan exile government said on Sunday that it has allegedly confirmed at least 80 deaths.

According to James Miles, The Economist's correspondent in Lhasa, the police fatalities included both Tibetans and the ethnic Han Chinese who were the target of much of the violence. Qiangba Puncog, the head of Tibet's regional government, said that Chinese police did not fire their guns or use anti-personnel weapons against the Tibetan protesters, even though the Tibetans wounded 61 police officers, including six in serious condition, and the Beijing-backed Tibetan regional government reported that 13 innocent civilians have been killed by mobs.

According to a news source affiliated with a Tibetan exile group, People's Armed Police have blocked off water, electricity, food and health facilities in Sera, Drepung and Ganden monasteries and others active in the demonstrations. As a consequence, monks are suffering starvation, and on March 25 one monk reportedly died from starvation at Ramoche Temple.

On March 28, IHT reported 5 shopgirls were burned alive when the rioters torched Yishion clothing store they worked at.

The IHT article noted Cirenzhuoga was Tibetan.

Jamyang Kyi, a prominent Tibetan television broadcaster, intellectual and popular singer was arrested on April 1, 2008 by the Chinese police suggesting that the government crackdown after the disturbances in and around Tibet has yet to run its course.

On April 5, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) stated that the Chinese authorities arrested over 2,300 Tibetans from various parts of Tibet. According to the Tibetan Government in Exile, more than 140 people were killed in the crackdown on recent unrest.

April 18, in an interview to Canadian journalists, it was reported that the Dalai Lama said according to him, since the beginning of the demonstrations with Tibet, at least 400 people were killed and out of the thousands of others arrested..

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported that a Tibetan woman, 38, who was involved in peaceful protests on 16 and 17 March 2008 in Ngaba County, died after she was tortured in Chinese prison. Following her release, the government hospital, that might have been influence of the local Chinese authorities, refused to admit her.

Initially, Chinese officials tried to contain information about the unrest and play down protests. According to The Guardian correspondent Tania Branigan, the government has blocked foreign broadcasters and websites and denied journalists access to areas of unrest. Video sharing websites like YouTube, the entire The Guardian website, portions of the Yahoo! portal, and sections of The Times website had been restricted.

In European and US newspapers and TV, oppression of Tibetans was reported with inaccuracy and little independent cross-checking. Chinese newspaper China Daily reported that there has been bias in Western media's coverage of the rioting in Tibet, including deliberate mispresentation of the situation. The newspaper pointed out Western media sources such as Washington Post used pictures of baton-wielding Nepalese police in clashes with Tibetan protesters in Kathmandu, claiming that the officers were Chinese. The article stated that Chinese netizens across Beijing were angered by what they saw "biased and sometimes dishonest" reporting by Western media. There was also criticism of CNN's use of a particular cropped picture. John Vause, who reported this story, responded to the criticism saying "...technically it was impossible to include the crashed car on the left", however CNN later replaced the image with one that was cropped differently. On March 24, 2008, the German TV news channel RTL disclosed that one photograph depicting rioters had been erroneously captioned. Separately, another German station, n-tv, admitted that it had mistakenly aired footage from Nepal during a story on Chinese riots. AFP further reported that Chinese students abroad have set up a website, namely Anti-CNN, to collect evidence of "one-sided and untrue" foreign reporting. Media companies accused of "falsified reporting" include CNN, FOX, the Times Online, Sky News, Spiegel Online and the BBC. Spiegel Online has rejected the accusations in an article. As of June 02, 2008, none of the media has given any graphic proof of a "heavy crackdown" by the military as what was reported with those miscaptioned or cropped pictures. According to New York Times, CNN apologized on May 18 over some comments made on April 9th.

China's downplaying of the event soon ended. Riots against non-Tibetans began on Friday, March 14. Chinese TV channels aired hours of anti-Chinese riots in Lhasa and the aftermath. Employees at the state television service CCTV's English service were instructed to keep broadcasting footage of burned-out shops and Chinese wounded in attacks. As of March 18, 2008, No footages of demonstrators acting peacefully were shown. China's Communist Party newspaper, the People's Daily, called on the government to "resolutely crush the 'Tibet independence' forces' conspiracy and sabotaging activities". The People's Daily also accused the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration of orchestrating the protests in its commentary. Yahoo! China have published "most wanted" poster across its homepage to help China police to catch 24 Tibetans. MSN! China has published the same list as well.

To counteract what the Chinese government called biased Western reporting on the crisis, foreign journalists were allowed to access the region again. Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Deutsche Welle (DW) reported that the Chinese government has allowed a small group of foreign journalists on a tour of Tibet. These reporters includes those from the American Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Britain's Financial Times, Japan's Kyodo News Agency, KBS of South Korea, and Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera.. However, on March 27 in Lhasa, a riot by a group of monks from the Jokhang Monastery disrupted a media tour organised by Chinese authorities through Lhasa. The tour was the first opportunity given to selected foreign journalists to enter Tibet after the de facto ban on foreign reporters. The delegation was composed of journalists from the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, USA Today, the Arabic news station Al-Jazeera and the Associated Press. The journalists were selected by the Chinese authorities and were kept under close control while in Lhasa. The authorities blamed the limited number of journalists permitted to attend and the restrictions on their movement on logistic considerations. The Taiwanese media, who were also invited on the tour, reported that the monks, speaking in Tibetan and Chinese, could not make themselves understood to the foreign media, such as the Associated Press. Turning to the Taiwanese reporters, the monks told them that they had been locked down in the temple even though they did not participate in the riots, that monks had been beaten and killed in the unrest, and that the monks and worshippers seen going about the monastery were imposters planted by the Chinese authorities. They said that they merely wanted freedom, and implored the foreign media to report the truth. The vice-chairman of the Tibetan Autnomous Region subsequently admitted that the monks had been locked inside the monastery, but explained that they were locked down pending police interviews in relation to the riots, and that once interviewed they were released. He denied "arranging" the worshippers and monks in the monastery, saying that there were far too many people for it to be possible to "arrange". He also promised that the monks involved in the protest would be "dealt with" according to law. The Tibetan activist group International Campaign for Tibet stated on March 28, 2008 that it feared for the welfare and whereabouts of the monks involved in the protest -- Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Ganden Monastery and Ramoche Temple. The group did not explain why it identified four monasteries when the protest involved only monks from Jokhang. The vice-governor of Tibet, Baima Chilin, later told reporters the monks would not be punished.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao blamed supporters of the Dalai Lama for the recent violence in Tibet. "There is ample fact and we also have plenty of evidence proving that this incident was organised, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique," said the Premier; however, the young generation of Tibetans are dissatisfied with the Dalai Lama's insistence on peaceful protest, revealing deep divisions within the Tibetan community. The Dalai Lama denied any involvement in the events, April 1 2008, the Chinese government escalated its accusation against supporters of the Dalai Lama, accusing them of planning suicide attacks. The prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche, denied these allegations, saying "Tibetan exiles are 100 percent committed to nonviolence. There is no question of suicide attacks. But we fear that Chinese might masquerade as Tibetans and plan such attacks to give bad publicity to Tibetans".

On March 31, 2008, the PRC state-owned news agency Xinhua published what it claimed to be an account of the process by which the Dalai Lama allegedly orchestrated the riots. Key claims include that five groups associated with the Government-in-Exile recruited agents for the "Tibetan People's Great Uprising" in India in February; that 101 agents sent from Dharamsala were instrumental in organising the protests and riots; that the Government-in-Exile directly funded the protests; and that the Tibetan Youth Congress intends to conduct an armed guerilla campaign in China.

The People's Republic of China responded by deploying the People's Armed Police. The BBC reported seeing over 400 troop carriers mobilizing into Tibet, which would represent a deployment of up to 4,000 troops. The Chinese authorities have ordered all Hong Kong and foreign journalists to leave Lhasa. According to General Yang Deping, regular military troops from the People's Liberation Army were not deployed.

Chinese authorities are also reportedly concerned that the Tibetan protests could "embolden activists in restive Xinjiang province" to organise street protests as well. The Chinese-backed Panchen Lama, Qoigyijabu, condemned the unrest, saying "the rioters' acts not only harmed the interests of the nation and the people, but also violated the aim of Buddhism. We resolutely oppose all activities to split the country and undermine ethnic unity. We strongly condemn the crime of a tiny number of people to hurt the lives and properties of the people." (While Qoigyijabu is popular with worshipers when conducting ceremonies in Tibet, some reports suggest that many Tibetans accept the Dalai Lama-identified candidate as the 11th Panchen Lama instead.

In addition to sealing off monasteries, an eyewitness at Sera Monastery identified as John claimed, "They were grabbing monks, kicking and beating them". In Ngawa county, Sichuan, police fired at the crowd after the rioters had burned down government buildings including the local police station, destroyed public and private vehicles including police cars, stabbed police officers with swords, and finally attempted to take firearms from the police, and after the police fired warning shots to no avail. The government claimed that the police acted in self-defense. According to the Chinese government, four protesters were wounded. In contrast, Tibetan activists have claimed that at least eight people were killed during the demonstration.

On March 19, 2008 Premier Wen Jiabao condemned the Dalai Lama's alleged role in the riot, but said the door for dialogue remained open if he renounced Tibetan independence, and if he "recognizes Tibet and Taiwan as inalienable parts of the Chinese territory." The Dalai Lama has repeatedly stated he seeks autonomy, not independence, citing the need for Tibet to develop as a modern nation which can only happen if Tibet remains part of China.

In an interview with Newsweek on March 20, 2008, the Dalai Lama claimed that up until 1959, the Tibetan attitude toward the Han Chinese was affectionate. He also said that the Chinese communists became more aggressive and more harsh, and that at times Tibetans complained about the "Bad Communists", but never "Bad Chinese". He said he hoped for a better relationship between Tibetans and Chinese, and admitted the relationship in the past has been difficult. The Dalai Lama also revealed that he had received messages from top senior officials within the Chinese Communist Party, hoping for better dialogue.

On May 4, 2008, two representatives of the PRC government, Zhu Weiqun and Sitar met with two representatives of the Dalai Lama, Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. The two sides exchanged views and agreed that a further round of talks should be held at an appropriate time. Plans for the meeting had been announced by the Xinhua News Agency on April 25, 2008 and was confirmed by the Dalai Lama's spokesman.

This was the first high-level dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the PRC government since the March unrest, and was the continuation of a series of talks between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama's representatives, including his immediate family and close aides. During the Shenzhen meeting, a second meeting was scheduled for 11 June, 2008. However, due to the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes, the two sides have agreed to postpone the meeting. The second meeting was held on 1 July, 2008.

The Tibetan diplomat Lodi Gyari stated October 8 at the Asia Society in New York that "If the issue is not resolved, then I'm afraid a section of the Tibetans will resort into violence." The Dalai Lama is proposing to accept a role for Communist party and socialism in Tibetan areas, an idea which is not popular among Tibetans because of resentment. "But when His Holiness makes such a pronouncement there is not strong opposition to that. This clearly shows how strong, how deep the reverence . If the Chinese want to find a solution, this is the time, because they have a person they can deal with". Lodi Gyari will present ideas on how the Tibetans see autonomy at the next and eighth round of talks.

According to the People's Daily, as of March 24, order has returned to some affected areas in Sichuan Province, as schools, shops and restaurants reopen to the public.

On March 26, a small group of foreign journalists was taken by bus into Tibet, in a move that appears calculated to bolster government claims that authorities are in control and that the protests which began peacefully were acts of destruction and murder. The heavily armed police presence indicates Lhasa remains under lockdown. Reporters were guided to burned streets in Lhasa hung with a red banner that reads "Construct a Harmonious Society," a catchphrase from the Chinese president's efforts to deal with social unrest created by an increasing gap between an urban middle class and the poor. The Dalai Lama called the trip "a first step," provided that reporters were given complete freedom.

According to International Olympic Committee vice-president Thomas Bach, some athletes were considering boycotting the 2008 Summer Olympics in August over the crackdown in Tibet. He said that he understood their concerns but advised the athletes to still compete. "They will realize when they assess the situation that it is better to make an appearance than to stay away. That is a symbol that will be noticed by the public," he said. European Union members and the Olympic Committees voiced opposition to a boycott of the Beijing Games over China's handling of the Tibet protests, saying sports should not be linked to politics. Patrick Hickey, the head of the European Olympic Committees, said in an interview with the Associated Press. "Under no circumstance will we support the boycott. We are 100 percent unanimous. Not one government leader has called for a boycott. A boycott is only a punishment of the athletes." Australia's Olympic Committee have also objected, and, to date, no foreign governments have called for one. The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner did not rule out the idea of a "mini-boycott" in a first moment. However, in a second moment he backtracked describing it as being "unrealistic" given the importance of the economic relations with China. On Tuesday, he stated his boycott of the opening ceremony would depend on China's actions in the interim. Belgian Vice Premier Didier Reynders has also not excluded a boycott of the opening ceremony.

The 14th Dalai Lama himself reiterated that he was against any boycott, saying Chinese people should not be blamed for the situation in his homeland. He said Beijing needs to be "reminded to be a good host" of the Summer Games.

The Olympic torch was lit in Greece on March 24 despite a protest from media rights group Reporters Without Borders who broke through a cordon of 1,000 police officers. Tibet protestors now plan to dog the Olympic torch throughout its journey across the globe.

Many Beijing Olympic sponsors are now facing pressure including Lenovo, Coca-Cola, Samsung, and McDonalds. The unrest is being compared to sponsor boycotts of the 1996 Atlanta games over Southern U.S. homophobic culture, as well as the 2000 Sydney games over Australian aboriginal rights.

Kenya's Nobel Peace laureate, Wangari Maathai, has withdraw from the Olympic torch relay in Tanzania for human rights concerns in Tibet.

By the end of July 2008, the leaders of more than eighty countries had decided to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, more than in any of the preceeding Olympics. The safety of these leaders worldwide became a tough test for the Chinese government. Beijing held a high level of security, but some Beijing residents have complained that this made the Olympics less entertaining.

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1936 Summer Olympics

Swastika on the plane of Ernst Udet used for aerobatic demonstrations held during the 1936 Summer Olympics (on display in the Polish Aviation Museum).

The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona (two years before the Nazis came to power). It marked the second and final time that the International Olympic Committee would gather to vote in a city which was bidding to host those Games. The only other time this occurred was at the inaugural IOC Session in Paris, France, on April 24, 1894. Then, Athens, Greece, and Paris were chosen to host the 1896 and 1900 Games, respectively.

Filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, a favorite of Hitler's, was commissioned by the IOC to film the Games. Her film, entitled Olympia, introduced many of the techniques now common to the filming of sports.

By allowing only members of the Aryan race to compete for Germany, Hitler further promoted his ideological belief of racial supremacy. At the same time, the party removed signs stating "Jews not wanted" and similar slogans from the city's main tourist attractions. In an attempt to "clean up" Berlin, the German Ministry of Interior authorized the chief of police to arrest all Romani (Gypsies) and keep them in a special camp. Nazi officials ordered that foreign visitors should not be subjected to the criminal strictures of anti-homosexual laws. Total ticket revenues were 7.5 million Reichsmarks, generating a profit of over one million marks. The official budget did not include outlays by the city of Berlin (which issued an itemized report detailing its costs of 16.5 million marks) or that of the German national government (which did not make its costs public, but is estimated to have spent US$30 million, chiefly in capital outlays).

Only two cities - Berlin and Barcelona - bid for the 1936 Games.

The bidding for these Olympic Games was the first to be contested by IOC members casting their votes for their favorite host city. Here was the result of that inaugural voting.

Basketball and handball made their debut at the Olympics, both as outdoor sports. Handball would not appear again on the program until 1972.

Hans von Tschammer und Osten, as Reichssportführer, ie. head of the Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (DRL), the Reich Sports Office, played a major role in the structure and organization of the Olympics. He promoted the idea that the use of sports would harden the German spirit and instill unity among German youth. At the same time he also believed that sports was a "way to weed out the weak, Jewish, and other undesirables." Many Jews and Gypsies were banned from participating in sporting events.

Von Tschammer trusted the details of the organization of the games to Theodor Lewald and Carl Diem, the former president and secretary of the Deutscher Reichsausschuss für Leibesübungen, the forerunner of the Reich Sports Office. Diem revealed himself as highly competent and made original innovations, like the Olympic torch relay from Athens, that are still valued.

Jesse Owens's participation in the Olympics was controversial because of his race, at a time when segregation and discrimination against blacks were the norm in much of the United States. However, once in Berlin, Owens was able to freely use public transportation and enter bars and other public facilities without the difficulty he would face as a black man in the United States.

On reports that Hitler had deliberately avoided acknowledging his victories, and had refused to shake his hand, Owens recounted "When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany.” He also stated "Hitler didn't snub me—it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." While Hitler did not personally congratulate Owens, he did not in fact congratulate any athlete (including those competing for Germany) after the first day, in accordance with IOC guidelines that he should maintain Olympic neutrality. Hitler did, however, leave the Olympic Stadium just before another African-American athlete, Cornelius Johnson, was set to receive his medal.

German crowds adored Owens, and he forged a long-term friendship with German competitor Luz Long.

Prior to and during the Games, there was considerable debate outside Germany over whether the competition should be allowed or discontinued.

Those who voiced their opinions on the debate included Americans Avery Brundage, Ernest Lee Jahncke, and Judge Jeremiah Mahoney. The United States considered boycotting the Games, as to participate in the festivity might be considered a sign of support for the Nazi regime and its anti-Semitic policies. However, others argued that the Olympic Games should not reflect political views, but rather be strictly a contest of the greatest athletes.

Avery Brundage of the United States Olympic Committee opposed the boycott, stating that Jewish athletes were being treated fairly and that the Games should continue. Brundage believed that politics played no role in sports, and that they should never be entwined. He stated, “The very foundation of the modern Olympic revival will be undermined if individual countries are allowed to restrict participation by reason of class, creed, or race.” Brundage also believed that there was a “Jewish-Communist conspiracy” that existed to keep the United States out of competing in the Olympic Games.

Unlike Brundage, Jeremiah Mahoney supported a boycott of the Games. Mahoney, the president of the Amateur Athletic Union, led newspaper editors and anti-Nazi groups to protest against American participation in the Berlin Olympics. He contested that racial discrimination was a violation of Olympic rules and that participation in the Games was tantamount to support for the Third Reich.

Most African-American newspapers supported participation in the Olympics. The Philadelphia Tribune and the Chicago Defender both agreed that black victories would undermine Nazi views of Aryan supremacy and spark renewed African-American pride. American Jewish organizations, meanwhile, largely opposed the Olympics. The American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee staged rallies and supported the boycott of German goods to show their disdain for American participation.

Eventually, Brundage won the debate, manipulating the Amateur Athletic Union to close a vote in favor of sending an American team to the Berlin Olympics, winning by only two and a half votes. Mahoney’s efforts to incite a boycott of the Olympic games in the United States failed. President Roosevelt demanded the participation of U.S.A. in the Olympics, intending to keep the tradition of America being void of outside influence intact.

The 1936 Summer Olympics ultimately boasted the largest number of participating nations of any Olympics to that point. However, some individual athletes, including Jewish Americans Milton Green and Norman Canners, chose to boycott the Games.

The Spanish government led by the newly elected left-wing Popular Front boycotted the Games and organized the People's Olympiad as a parallel event in Barcelona. 6,000 athletes from 22 countries registered for the games. However, the People's Olympiad was aborted due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War just one day before the event was going to start.

The games were the first to have live television coverage. The German Post Office, using equipment from Telefunken, broadcast over seventy hours of coverage to special viewing rooms throughout Berlin and Potsdam and a few private TV sets, transmitting from the Paul Nipkow TV Station. The Olympic Flame was used for the second time at these games, but this marked the first time it was brought to the Olympic Village by a torch relay, with the starting point in Olympia, Greece. The Republic of China's Three Principles of the People was chosen as the best national anthem of the games.

United States Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage became a main supporter of the Games being held in Germany, arguing that "politics has no place in sport", despite having initial doubts. Brundage requested that a system be established to examine female athletes for what Time magazine called "sex ambiguities" after observing the performance of Czechoslovak runner and jumper Zdenka Koubkova and English shotputter and javelin thrower Mary Edith Louise Weston. (Both individuals had sex change surgery and legally changed their names, to Zdenek Koubek and Mark Weston, respectively.) . Gender verification in sports was not in place in 1936.

Despite not coming from fascist countries, French and Canadian Olympians gave what appeared to be the Hitler salute at the opening ceremony, although some have later claimed that they were just performing the Olympic salute, which was in fact a very similar action.

Gretel Bergmann, despite equaling a national record in the high jump a month before the games, was excluded from the German team because she was Jewish.

American sprinters, Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman, the only two Jews on the U.S. Olympic team were pulled from the 4 x 100 relay team on the day of the competition, leading to speculation that U.S. Olympic committee leader Avery Brundage did not want to add to the embarrassment of Hitler by having two Jews win gold medals.

Italy's football team continued their dominance, winning the gold medal in these Olympics between their two consecutive World Cup victories (1934 and 1938). Much like the successes of German athletes, this triumph was claimed by supporters of Benito Mussolini's regime as a vindication of the superiority of the fascist system. Austria won the silver; a controversial win after Hitler called for a rematch of the quarterfinals match to discount Peru's 4-2 win over Austria. The Peruvian national Olympic team refused to play the match again and withdrew from the games. In the quarter-finals of the football tournament, Peru beat Austria 4-2 in extra-time. Peru rallied from a two-goal deficit in the final 15 minutes of normal time. During extra-time, Peruvian fans ran onto the field and attacked an Austrian player. In the chaos, Peru scored twice and won, 4-2. However, Austria protested and the International Olympic Committee ordered a replay without any spectators. Peru refused and their entire Olympic squad left in protest as did Colombia.

The Nazis demoted Captain Wolfgang Fürstner, the half-Jewish commandant of the Olympic Village, during the games, and replaced him with Werner von Gilsa. After the games' conclusion, Fürstner, a career officer, committed suicide when he learned that the Nuremberg Laws classified him as a Jew, and, as such, he was to be expelled from the Wehrmacht.

Basketball was added to the Olympic program. In the final game, the United States beat Canada 19-8. The contest was played outdoors on a dirt court in driving rain. Due to the quagmire, the teams could not dribble, thus the score was held to a minimum. Joe Fortenbury was the high scorer for the U.S. with 7 points. Spectators did not have seats, and the people (approximately 1000) in attendance had to stand in the rain.

In the freestyle, swimmers originally dived from the pool walls, but diving blocks were incorporated at the 1936 Olympics.

Germany had a prosperous year in the equestrian events, winning individual and team gold in all three disciplines, as well as individual silver in dressage. In the cycling match sprint finals, the German Toni Merkens fouled Arie van Vliet of the Netherlands. Instead of being disqualified, he was fined 100 marks and kept his gold. German gymnasts Konrad Frey and Alfred Schwarzmann both won three gold medals.

Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the sprint and long jump events. His German competitor Luz Long offered Owens advice after he almost failed to qualify in the long jump and was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship. Glenn Edgar Morris, a farm boy from Colorado, won Gold in the Decathlon. Rower Jack Beresford won his fifth Olympic medal in the sport, and his third gold medal. The U.S. eight-man rowing team from the University of Washington won the gold medal, coming from behind to defeat the Germans and Italians with Adolf Hitler in attendance.

In the marathon two Korean athletes won medals — Sohn Kee-chung (gold) and Nam Sung-yong (bronze) — running for Japan and under Japanese names; Japan had annexed Korea in 1910. India won the gold medal in the field hockey event once again (they won the gold in all Olympics from 1928-1956), defeating Germany 8-1 in the final. However, Indians were considered Indo-Aryans by the Germans and there was no controversy regarding their victory. Rie Mastenbroek of the Netherlands won three gold medals and a silver in swimming. Estonia's Kristjan Palusalu won two gold medals in Men's Wrestling, marking the last time Estonia competed as an independent nation in the Olympics until 1992.

The Egyptian Khadr El Touni set a record that lasted for 60 years, until the 1996 Games in Atlanta where Turkey's Naim Suleymanoglu surpassed the Egyptian to top the list. After winning the middleweight class, Eltouny continued to compete for another 45 minutes, finally exceeding the total of the German silver medalist by 35 kg. The 20-year-old Eltouny lifted a total of 387.5 kg crushing two German world champions, Eltouny broke the then Olympic and world records, while the German lifted 352.5 kg. Furthermore, Eltouny had lifted 15 kg more than the heavyweight gold medalist, a feat only Eltouny has accomplished. Eltouny's new world records stood for thirteen years. Fascinated by Eltouny's performance, Adolf Hitler rushed down to greet this human miracle. Prior to the competition, Hitler was said to have been sure that Rudolf Ismayr and Adolf Wagner would embarrass all other opponents. Hitler was so impressed by his domination in the middleweight class that he ordered a street named after him in Berlin olympic village. Also Egypt won many medals in this Olympics.

A total of 49 nations attended the Berlin Olympics, up from 37 in 1932. Six nations made their first official Olympic appearance at these Games: Afghanistan, Bermuda, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, and Peru.

These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games.

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2008 Summer Olympics

2008 Olympic Torch

The "Dancing Beijing" emblem, depicting a Chinese seal inscribed with the character "Jīng" (京, from the name of the host city in the form of a dancing figure.

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 (except football, which started on August 6) to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes competed in 302 events in 28 sports, one event more than was on the schedule of the 2004 Games. The 2008 Beijing Olympics marked the first occasion that either the Summer or Winter Games were hosted in China, making it the 22nd nation to do so. It also became the third time that Olympic events have been held in the territories of two different National Olympic Committees (NOC), as the equestrian events were being held in Hong Kong.

The Olympic Games were awarded to Beijing after an exhaustive ballot of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 13, 2001. The official logo of the Games, titled "Dancing Beijing", features a stylised calligraphic character jīng (京, meaning capital), referring to the host city. Several new NOCs have also been recognised by the IOC. It was the third time that the Summer Olympic Games were held in Asia and the first since 1988, when the Summer Games were in Seoul. The first Summer Olympics to be held in Asia was in Tokyo in 1964.

The Government of the People's Republic of China promoted the Games and invested heavily in new facilities and transportation systems. A total of 37 venues were used to host the events including 12 newly constructed venues. At the closing ceremony IOC president Jacques Rogge declared the event a "truly exceptional Games" after earlier asserting that the IOC had "absolutely no regrets" in choosing Beijing to host the 2008 Games. The choice of China as a host country was the subject of criticism by some politicians and NGOs concerned about China's human rights record. China and others, meanwhile, warned against politicizing the Olympics.

The Games saw 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set. A record 87 countries won a medal during the Games. Chinese athletes won 51 gold medals and 100 medals altogether, and the United States won 36 gold medals and 110 total medals. Michael Phelps broke the records for most golds in one Olympics and for most career gold medals for an Olympian, and equaled the record for most individual golds at a single Games. Usain Bolt secured the traditional title "World's Fastest Man" by setting new world records in the 100m and 200m sprints.

Beijing was elected the host city on July 13, 2001, during the 112th IOC Session in Moscow, defeating Toronto, Paris, Istanbul, and Osaka. Prior to the session, five other cities (Bangkok, Cairo, Havana, Kuala Lumpur, and Seville) submitted bids to the IOC but failed to make the short list in 2000. After the first round of voting, Beijing held a significant lead over the other four candidates. Osaka received only six votes and was eliminated. In the second round, Beijing was supported by an absolute majority of voters, eliminating the need for subsequent rounds.

After winning the bid, Li Lanqing, the vice premier of China, declared "The winning of the 2008 Olympic bid is an example of the international recognition of China's social stability, economic progress and the healthy life of the Chinese people." Eight years earlier, Beijing led every round of voting for the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, but lost in the final round to Sydney by just two votes.

On March 6, 2009 the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games reported that total spending on the games was "generally as much as that of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games", which was about $15 billion, and that surplus revenues from the Olympic Games would exceed the original target of 16 million USD. Other sources, however, estimated that approximately US$40 billion had been spent on the games, which would make it the most expensive Olympic Games by a wide margin.

By May 2007, construction of all 31 Beijing-based Olympic Games venues had begun. The Chinese government has also invested in the renovation and construction of six venues outside Beijing as well as 59 training centres. Its largest architectural pieces are the Beijing National Stadium, Beijing National Indoor Stadium, Beijing National Aquatics Center, Olympic Green Convention Center, Olympic Green, and Beijing Wukesong Culture & Sports Center. Almost 85% of the construction budget for the six main venues was funded by US$2.1 billion (RMB¥17.4 billion) in corporate bids and tenders. Investments were expected from corporations seeking ownership rights after the 2008 Summer Olympics. Some venues will be owned and governed by the State General Administration of Sports, which will use them after the Olympics as facilities for all future national sports teams and events. The 2008 Beijing Olympics are the most expensive Games in history with a total of $40.9 billion spent between 2001 and 2007 on infrastructure, energy, transportation and water supply projects.

Some events were held outside Beijing, namely football in Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Tianjin; sailing in Qingdao; and, because of "uncertainties of equine diseases and major difficulties in establishing a disease-free zone", equestrian in Hong Kong. The British Olympic Association has announced that no more than US$19 billion will be spent on the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, while the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Olympics cost US$7 billion and US$15 billion respectively.

The centrepiece of the 2008 Summer Olympics is the Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest because of its nest-like skeletal structure. Construction of the venue began on December 24, 2003. The Guangdong Olympic Stadium was originally planned, constructed, and completed in 2001 to help host the Games, but a decision was made to construct a new stadium in Beijing. Government officials engaged architects worldwide in a design competition. A Swiss firm, Herzog & de Meuron Architekten AG, collaborated with China Architecture Design & Research Group to win the competition. The stadium features a lattice-like steel outer skeleton around the concrete stadium bowl and has a seating capacity of over 90,000 people. Architects originally described the overall design as resembling a bird nest with an immense ocular opening with a retractable roof over the stadium. However, in 2004, the idea of the retractable roof was abandoned for economic and safety reasons. The Beijing National Stadium was the site of the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the athletics events and soccer finals.

The Beijing Olympic Village opened on July 16, 2008 and to the public on July 26, 2008.

To prepare for Olympic visitors, Beijing's transportation infrastructure was expanded significantly. Beijing's airport underwent a major expansion, adding the new Terminal 3, the world's largest airport terminal, designed by renowned architect Norman Foster. On August 1, Beijing south railway station was reopened after two years of construction. The 120-km long Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Rail, which opened on the same day, connects the new railway station with Olympic co-host city Tianjin with the world's fastest scheduled train service at 350 km/h.

Within the city itself, Beijing's subway expanded to more than double its capacity and overall size, adding an additional 7 lines and 80 stations to the previously existing 4 lines and 64 stations, including a new link connecting directly to the city's airport. Also, a fleet of thousands of buses, minibuses and official cars transported spectators, athletes and officials between venues.

A temporary road space rationing based on plate numbers was in effect during the Games in an effort to improve air quality. In addition, 300,000 heavy-polluting vehicles have been banned from operating within the city, and entry into Beijing by vehicles has been strictly limited. These restrictions are enforced from July 20 to September 20. Passenger vehicle restrictions are placed on alternate days depending on the plates ending in odd or even numbers. This measure is expected to take 45% of Beijing's 3.3 million cars off the streets. The boosted public transport network is expected to absorb the demand created by these restrictions and the influx of visitors, which is estimated at more than 4 million extra passengers per day.

The slogan for the 2008 Olympics is "One World, One Dream" (simplified Chinese: 同一个世界 同一个梦想; traditional Chinese: 同一個世界 同一個夢想; pinyin: Tóng Yíge Shìjiè Tóng Yíge Mèngxiǎng.) The slogan calls upon the whole world to join in the Olympic spirit and build a better future for humanity. It was chosen from over 210,000 entries submitted from around the world.

The mascots of Beijing 2008 were the five Fuwa, each representing both a colour of the Olympic rings and a symbol of Chinese culture.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 4.7 billion viewers worldwide tuned in to some of the television coverage, one-fifth larger than the 3.9 billion who watched the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The 2008 Olympics was the most-viewed event in American television history.

Globally, however, the 2008 Olympics is subject to extensive copyright restriction –which amounts to territorial restrictions– whilst still being covered extensively online within various exclusive copyright autarkies. Thus despite the international nature of the event and the global reach of the Internet, the coverage world wide of assorted nation-states and television networks is not readily accessible; there is no global or supranational media coverage as such. The international European Broadcasting Union (EBU), for example, provides live coverage and highlights of all arenas only for certain of its own territories on their website eurovisionsports.tv. Many national broadcasters likewise restrict online events to their domestic audiences.

Despite the contractual obligations of the digital economy, some of the same technologies used to circumvent the Great Firewall of China (such as UltraSurf) can be used to subvert the Olympic media autarkies on the Internet as well.

YouTube has removed a video of a regional German network's (NDR) coverage of the opening ceremonies as "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party.; a video from Australia's Seven Network has been removed "for violation of terms of service". Furthermore, the General National Copyright Administration of China has announced that "individual (sic) and websites will face fines as high as 100,000 yuan for uploading recordings of Olympic Games video to the internet," part of an extensive campaign to protect the pertinent intellectual property rights.

The design of the Olympic Torch is based on traditional scrolls and uses a traditional Chinese design known as the "Propitious Clouds" (祥云). The torch is designed to remain lit in 65 km/h (40 mph) winds, temperatures as low as -40°C and in rain of up to 50 mm (2 in) per hour.

The relay, with the theme Journey of Harmony, lasted 130 days and carried the torch 137,000 km (85,000 mi)—the longest distance of any Olympic torch relay since the tradition began at the 1936 Berlin Games. The torch relay was called a "public relations disaster" for China by The Times, with protests of China's human rights record, particularly about Tibet. The IOC subsequently barred future Olympics organizers from staging international torch relays.

The relay began March 24, 2008, in Olympia, Greece. From there, it traveled across Greece to Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, and then to Beijing, arriving on March 31. From Beijing, the torch followed a route passing through every continent except Antarctica. The torch visited cities on the Silk Road, symbolizing ancient links between China and the rest of the world. A total of 21,880 torchbearers were selected from around the world by various organizations and entities.

The international portion of the relay was problematic. The month-long world tour saw wide-scale protests to China's human rights abuses and recent crackdown in Tibet. After trouble in London saw several attempts to put out the flame, the flame was extinguished in Paris the following day. The American leg in San Francisco on April 9 was altered without prior warning to avoid such scenes, although there were still demonstrations along the original route. The relay was further delayed and simplified after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake affecting western China.

The flame was carried to the top of Mount Everest on a 108 km (67 mi) long "highway" scaling the Tibetan side of the mountain especially built for the relay. The $19.7 million blacktop project spanned from Tingri County of Xigazê Prefecture to the Everest Base Camp. In 2008 March, China banned mountaineers from climbing its side of Mount Everest and later persuaded the Nepalese government to close their side as well, officially citing environmental concerns. It also reflected concerns by the Chinese government that Tibet activists may try to disrupt its plans to carry the Olympic torch up the world's tallest peak.

The originally proposed route would have seen the torch carried through Taipei after leaving Vietnam and before heading for Hong Kong. Taiwan authorities (then led by the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party), however, objected to this proposal, claiming that this route would make the portion of the relay in Taiwan appear to be part of the torch's domestic journey through China, rather than a leg on the international route. This dispute as well as demands that the flag of the Republic of China and the National Anthem of the Republic of China be banned along the route led the Taiwan authorities to reject the proposal that it be part of the relay route, and the two sides of the Taiwan Strait subsequently blamed each other for injecting politics into the event.

The opening ceremony was held in the Beijing National Stadium. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time (UTC+8) on August 8, 2008. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture, and here it was a triple eight for the date and one extra for time (close to 08:08:08 pm). The ceremony was co-directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou and Chinese choreographer Zhang Jigang. It featured a cast of over 15,000 performers, and was dubbed beforehand as "the most spectacular Olympics Opening Ceremony ever produced".

A rich assembly of ancient Chinese art and culture dominated the ceremony. It opened with the beating of Fou drums for the countdown. Subsequently, a giant scroll was unveiled and became the show's centerpiece. The official song of the 2008 Olympics, titled You and Me, was performed by Britain's Sarah Brightman and China's Liu Huan, on a large spinning rendition of the globe. The last recipient in the Olympic Torch relay, former Chinese gymnast Li Ning ignited the cauldron, after being suspended into the air by wires and completing a lap of the National Stadium at Stadium roof height in the air.

The entry parade of the competing athletes differed in order from previous Olympic ceremonies, as the national teams did not enter in alphabetical order by the host nation's alphabet. Since Chinese does not have an alphabet, teams entered the stadium in order (lowest first) of the number of strokes in their Simplified Chinese character transcriptions; this is a common collation method for the Chinese language, such as the surname stroke order system. As a result, Australia (normally one of the first teams to enter the stadium) became one of the final teams to arrive, as the first character of the Chinese name of Australia (澳大利亚) has 16 strokes. The Olympic traditions of Greece entering first and the host nation (China) entering last were still observed.

The opening ceremony was lauded by spectators and various international presses as spectacular and spellbinding. Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the XXIX Olympiad, called the ceremony "a grand, unprecedented success." A review of the opening ceremony from around the world called it "spectacular and devoid of politics". It was deemed that the real fireworks were too dangerous to film from a helicopter; as such, some footage were generated to provide simulated aerial shots of the scene. Another cosmetic enhancement in China's quest for a "perfect" Summer Games was using 9-year-old Lin Miaoke to lip-sync over the singing voice of Yang Peiyi for the opening ceremony song Ode to the Motherland. Miss Yang, 7, had reportedly won a "grueling" competition to be chosen as the performer, but was considered to be insufficiently photogenic, and a member of the Politburo who oversaw the final preparations ordered that Miss Lin appear in Miss Yang's place. Another portion of the ceremony featured 56 children carrying a large Chinese flag, with 55 of them dressed in traditional costumes of the officially recognized ethnic minorities of China. The children wearing the ethnic minority costumes were described in the official program as members of these minorities, but it was later revealed that they were actually Han Chinese.

More than 100 sovereigns, heads of state and heads of government as well as 170 Ministers of Sport attended the Beijing Olympic Games.

The 2008 Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony concluded the Beijing Games on August 24, 2008. It began at 8:00pm China Standard Time (UTC+8), and took place at the Beijing National Stadium.

The Ceremony included the handover of the Games from Beijing to London. Guo Jinlong, the Mayor of Beijing handed over the Olympic flag to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, followed by a performance organized by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

All but one (Brunei) of the 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated. China and the United States had the largest teams, with 647 for the United States and 639 for China.

Three countries participated for their first time: the Marshall Islands, Montenegro and Tuvalu.

South African swimmer Natalie du Toit, five time gold medalist at the Athens Paralympics in 2004, qualified to compete at the Beijing Olympics, thus making history by becoming the first amputee to qualify for the Olympic Games since Olivér Halassy in 1936. Natalia Partyka (who was born without a right forearm) competed in Table Tennis for Poland.

As in the previous Games since 1984, athletes from the Republic of China (Taiwan) are competing at the Olympics as Chinese Taipei (TPE) under the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag and using the National Banner Song as their official anthem. The participation of Taiwan had been in doubt due to disagreements over the designation of the team in the Chinese language, and concerns that Taiwan would march in the Opening Ceremony next to the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. Unlike in previous games, supporters were not able to legally display the flag of the Republic of China even outside the venues.

The Marshall Islands and Tuvalu gained National Olympic Committee status in 2006 and 2007 respectively, and participated in the Games.

The states of Serbia and Montenegro, which participated at the 2004 Games jointly as Serbia and Montenegro, are now competing separately. The Montenegrin Olympic Committee was accepted as a new National Olympic Committee in 2007. After the declaration of independence in Kosovo, IOC specified the requirements that Kosovo needs to meet before being recognised by the IOC; most notably, it has to be recognised as independent by the United Nations.

North Korea and South Korea held meetings to discuss the possibility of sending a united team to the 2008 Olympics, but the proposal failed, due to disagreements between the two NOCs on the proportion of athletes from the two countries within the team.

Brunei Darussalam were due to take part in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. However, they were disqualified on August 8, having failed to register either of their athletes. The IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said in a statement that "it is a great shame and very sad for the athletes who lose out because of the decision by their team not to register them. The IOC tried up until the last minute, midday Friday August 8, 2008, the day of the official opening, to have them register, but to no avail." Brunei's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports submitted a Press release on why Brunei decided not to participate in Beijing, stated that "one athlete competing in the shot putt event Mohd Yazid Yatimi Yusof (who) has undergone intensive training since March ... injured himself in June (right liotibial strain with mild lateral ministrial knee injury), when he was competing in the Pesta Sukan Kebangsaan (National Sports Festival)". The Brunei Darussalam Olympic Council (BNOC) issued a Press release stating that "it had to wait for approval from the Youth and Sports Department under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports as to whether Brunei Darussalam could be represented at the Olympic Games". It is also noted that the withdrawal can lead Brunei to being sanctioned and appropriate action will be taken after the closing of the Olympics on August 24.

Georgia announced on August 9, 2008 that it was considering withdrawing from the Beijing Olympic Games due to the military conflict in South Ossetia but it went on to compete while the conflict was still ongoing.

The program for the Beijing 2008 Games was quite similar to that of the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. The 2008 Olympics saw the return of 28 sports (some of which, such as aquatics, gymnastics and cycling, were divided into multiple disciplines), and held 302 events (165 men's events, 127 women's events, and 10 mixed events), one event more in total than in Athens.

Overall, 9 new events were held, which included 2 from the new cycling discipline of BMX. Women competed in the 3000 m steeplechase for the first time. In addition, marathon open water swimming events for men and women, over the distance of 10 kilometres, were added to the swimming discipline. Team events (men and women) in table tennis replaced the doubles events. In fencing, women's team foil and women's team sabre replaced men's team foil and women's team épée.

In 2006, the Beijing Organizing Committee released pictograms of 35 Olympic disciplines (for some multi-discipline sports, such as cycling, a single pictogram was released). This set of sport icons is named the beauty of seal characters, due to each pictogram's likeness to Chinese seal script.

The following were the 28 sports to be contested at these Games. The number of events contested in each sport is indicated in parentheses (in sports with more than one discipline, as identified by the IOC, these are also specified).

In addition to the official Olympic sports, the Beijing Organising Committee was given special dispensation by the IOC to run a wushu competition in parallel to the Games. The Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 saw 128 athletes from 43 countries participate, with medals awarded in 15 separate events; however, these were not to be added to the official medal tally since Wushu was not on the programme of the 2008 Olympic Games.

In the following calendar for the 2008 Olympic Games, each blue box represents an event competition, such as a qualification round, on that day. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport are held. Each bullet in these boxes is an event final, the number of bullets per box representing the number of finals that was contested on that day.

A variety of concerns over the Games, or China's hosting of the Games, have been expressed by various entities; including allegations that China violated its pledge to allow open media access, various alleged human rights violations, air pollution in both the city of Beijing and in neighbouring areas, proposed boycotts, warnings of the possibility that the Beijing Olympics could be targeted by terrorist groups, potentially violent disruption from pro-Tibetan protesters, religious persecutions, the banning of ethnic Tibetans from working in Beijing for the duration of the Games, criticisms of policies mandating the electronic surveillance of internationally owned hotels, displacement of residents, ticket adversities, manhandling of foreign journalists, dubious protest zones, as well as alleged harassment, house arrests, forced disappearances, imprisonment, and torture of dissidents and protest applicants.

Furthermore, there are allegations that some members of China's women's gymnastics team were too young to compete under the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique's rules for Olympic eligibility. On August 21, the IOC ordered a probe into the legal ages of double gold medal winning gymnast He Kexin and her fellow teammates. After a five and a half week investigation, the Chinese gymnasts were deemed eligible to compete and the original results were allowed to stand.

In the lead-up to the Olympics, the government allegedly issued guidelines to the local media for their reporting during the Games: most political issues not directly related to the games were to be downplayed; topics such as Pro-Tibetan independence and East Turkestan movements were not to be reported on, as were food safety issues such as "cancer-causing mineral water." As the 2008 Chinese milk scandal broke in September 2008, there was widespread speculation that China's desire for a perfect games may have been a factor contributing towards the delayed recall of contaminated infant formula.

In the short term, the 2008 Olympic Games have been generally accepted by the world's media as a logistical success. Contrary to fears before the game, no terrorists struck Beijing; no athlete protested at the podium, and largely due to favorable weather conditions the air quality was generally good.

For the Chinese government, the Olympic events, as well as the medals won by Chinese athletes, were a great source of national pride. The Olympics seem to have also bolstered some domestic support for the Chinese government, and support for the policies of the Communist Party of China, giving rise to concerns that the state will possibly have more leverage to disperse dissent, at least momentarily.

The long-term economic impact is not yet clear, but it is generally expected that there will be no lasting effect on the city due to the games. It is also believed that the number of gold medals won at the Olympics helped the pro-beijing party(DAB) win at Hong Kong legislative election, 2008, in which the DAB remain the largest party. The olympics,however has not changed the views of many across Europe on certain controversial issues in China such as Tibet, huamn rights etc. There have even been some people who have even compared it to the 1936 olympics in Germany, where it was likened to a propaganda show all masterminded by the politicians.

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Source : Wikipedia