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|MEXICO CITY， Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Games of the XXIX Olympiad were the first one to be organized by China and from the beginning they met the great expectation of becoming a memorable event due to all the colors， culture， level of competition and the investment that they represented.
The 29th Olympic Games began on Aug. 8， 2008 with the opening ceremony and came to a close on Aug. 24. The inaugural date bore a great significance for the Chinese as they consider the number eight to be lucky. The opening ceremony was watched all over the world and was considered by many to be the best inaugural events ever seen.
In Beijing's National Stadium， the light display， choreography and talent showed the world around the main milestones in Chinese culture， under the artistic direction of filmmaker Zhang Yimou.
Chinese contributions to universal culture such as paper， printing， porcelain and the compass along with icons such as the Great Wall， the Terracotta Army and the Silk Road， were all part of the spectacle filled with history and technology. Afterwards， 10，942 athletes from 204 delegations participated in the opening parade and went on to compete in 302 events.
The Olympic cauldron was lit by Chinese artistic gymnast Li Ning， whose run along the stadium's roof slowly revealed a scroll showing the Olympic Torch's journey across the world.
The Games were also memorable for the architecture. The National Stadium was re-named the "Bird's Nest" and the National Swimming Center was known as the "Water Cube" due to their avant-garde models and symbols of the new Beijing.
The "Water Cube" bore witness to one of the best Olympic achievements of all time when U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps became the athlete with the most first-place finishes at any single Olympics. He won eight gold medals at Beijing， five of them were in individual events.
During the Games， the headlines were also stolen by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt， who won 100 and 200 meters events， setting new world records in both. He also won and set the world record with his teammates in the 4x100 meters relay.
Bolt was the first athlete to win three golds in men's track and field at one Olympics since U.S. sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis in 1984.
Another memorable world record was smashed by Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva， who took home the gold and the world record in pole vaulting when she cleared 5.05 meters.
Tajikistan， Afghanistan， Mauritius and Togo all experienced podium finishes for the first time during these Games. However， Mongolia， Bahrain and Panama managed to go one better with their athletes bringing home their country's first Olympic gold.
In team sports， it is worth mentioning Argentina's gold in men's soccer. The team was captained by soccer star Lionel Messi. The U.S. "dream teams" in both men's and women's basketball also took home the golds.
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES MEDAL TABLE
COUNTRY GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
China 51 21 28 100
U.S. 36 38 36 110
Russia 23 21 28 72
UK 19 13 15 47
Germany 16 10 15 41
Australia 14 15 17 46
South Korea 13 10 8 31
Japan 9 6 10 25
Italy 8 10 10 28
France 7 16 17 40
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