Beijing has been selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced Friday, making it the first city in the history of the Olympics to host both the Summer and Winter Games. The announcement came amid continuing concern from human rights groups around the world over China's censorship of free expression in the press and for individuals, as well as a disregard for environmental health and other humanitarian issues.
In the wake of this historic announcement, here is a look back at the first games in Beijing: the 2008 Summer Olympics. When Beijing held the 2008 Summer Olympics, a similar outcry over human rights issues sprang forth and the Chinese government promised it would address those concerns ahead of the games. Progress on those questions is still hotly debated.
The opening ceremony that year was one of the most noteworthy in recent memory and it cast the prowess and sheer magnitude of China that its hosting nation wanted to project. The elaborate, hourlong ceremony featured an extravagant fireworks display and 14,000 performers in costumes to celebrate China's culture and history.
Forty world records and over 130 Olympic records were broken during the 2008 games. The top medalists were Michael Phelps, who won eight medals for the U.S. in swimming; Usain Bolt, who won three gold medals for Jamaica in track; and Kai Zou, who won three gold medals in gymnastics for China.
The games also featured several new events, including a 10km swimming race and BMX, or Bicycle Moto Cross.
The youngest participant, Antoinette Joyce Guedia Mouafo, a swimmer from Cameroon, was only 12 years old. The oldest participant, Japanese horse rider Hiroshi Hoketsu, was 67 years old at the time. The almost 50 year age difference broke Olympic records for age of participants.
Looking ahead to the 2022 games, spectators are likely expecting some of the same glitz from 2008 as well as continued controversy over human rights.