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Beijing Olympics Breaks Records

By Allison Tam | null null , null
Fireworks explode at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Stadium, August 8, 2008. The stadium is also known as the Bird's Nest. (Photo:©Tim Wimborne/Reuters)
Fireworks explode at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Stadium, August 8, 2008. The stadium is also known as the Bird's Nest. (Photo:©Tim Wimborne/Reuters)

In every Olympics, athletes from around the world break many records. The 2008 Olympics begin in Beijing, China, on August 8, but before any of the games have started, these Olympics have already broken many records.

The Chinese government has tried very hard to make this the greatest Olympics ever. They spent a record $70 billion on the Games, with part of that money going to new buildings and facilities. The Chinese reconstructed a large part of Beijing and built many state-of-the-art facilities. Among them is the nest-like Olympic Stadium and CCTV headquarters. Both buildings made it on to Time Magazine’s 2007 list of the “10 Best Architecture Marvels.”

The Chinese people are enthusiastic about the Olympics. More than one million local people volunteered to be “Game Helpers.” Even though only 400,000 volunteers were needed to guide foreigners around the city, more than 1.2 million people filed applications.

Around the world, these Olympics are greeted with great interest too. About 80 world leaders attended the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. That is a record-breaking number. President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, and their daughter Barbara attended the opening ceremony. It was the first time a sitting U.S. President attended the opening ceremonies.

For the first time, 205 nations will compete in the Olympics. The Games will also be broadcast in high definition for the first time. They are expected to attract a record television audience of four billion viewers, over 100 million more than the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

US delegation, at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Opening Ceremony, in Beijing
Lopez Lomong of the United States Olympic men's track and field team carries his country's flag to lead out the delegation during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. (Photo: ©Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images/NewsCom)

 

The Olympic flame is a symbol of the Olympic spirit. It’s tradition to transport the flame in the Olympic torch from Greece to the Olympics host city. This year’s Olympic torch relay is the longest ever in time and distance. It took 130 days to reach Beijing, two days longer than it took to reach Sidney in 2000.

The flame traveled 85,000 miles, through 19 countries and across 5 continents. For the first time, it reached the top of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. In order to accomplish such an amazing journey, the torch was designed so that the flame could withstand winds of up to 40 miles per hour and rainfalls of up to two inches an hour.

The torch has kept the Olympic flame alight on its journey around the world. Olympic athletes will keep the spirit of “Friendship, Fair Play, Honor, Peace, and Glory” alive and spread it around the world.

Follow the Olympics with Scholastic News Online!

Among the record audience watching the 2008 Summer Olympics on TV will be Scholastic News kid reporters. They will watch the Games and write about the events and athletes on the Scholastic News Online Olympics Blog. The kid reporters will be posting to the blog every day, so be sure to keep your Web browser tuned to Scholastic News Online while you watch the Games!

You can also catch up with past Scholastic News Online coverage of the Beijing Olympics in a special article collection. In that collection you will find stories about the Olympic Media Summit, the Olympic torch protests, and which athletes have made it onto the U.S. Olympic teams.

On Scholastic News Online, you will also find insightful video interviews with members of the U.S. Olympic teams. Watch Michael Phelps, Paul Hamm, and all your favorite athletes talk about competing in the 2008 Olympics before you watch them compete in Beijing!

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