Beijing by the Numbers: The 8-8-08 Olympics Index

Travel | by China Travel
Posted: August 8th, 2008 | Updated: May 6th, 2011 | Comments
The 2008 Olympics are bigger than life, a huge spectacle taking place in the world's most populous nation with millions upon milllions from around the globe watching the games on television and many more following the exploits of Olympic atheletes online and in print. Records stand to be broken, billions of yuan are changing hands, and all eyes are on China in its long-awaited debut as an Olympic host nation. To get a handle on the enormity of it all, over the next two weeks we'll be assembling a statistical portrait of these Olympics, juxtaposing facts and figures on anything and everything Beijing '08-related in our 8-8-08 Olympics Index. We're looking for numbers that tell a bit of the story behind the Olympics as well as ones that illustrate the sheer size and scale of what might just be the world's—and China's—greatest show ever. We'll update it frequently ,and we invite you to add your own facts and figures in the comments field below. By the end of it all, we'll have a unique record of China's big coming-out party, full of surprises and insights, trivia and telltale stats. Without further ado, we present the Index. Click the numbers to see sources. Enjoy! * Approximate number of performers in the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony: 14,000 Number of performers from the People's Liberation Army: 9,000 Year in which Mao Zedong wrote "Our nation is wanting in strength. If our bodies are not strong, how can we attain our goals and make ourselves respected?": 1917 Number of gold medals judged "up for grabs"  by China's Sports Ministry's "119 Project," designed to fulfill the promise of its "Winning at the Olympics" slogan by capturing the most gold medals: 122 Percentage of tickets sold at RMB 100 to make them affordable for "ordinary Chinese citizens": 58 Price in RMB for which an elderly Beijing resident told the Beijing Times he sold his ticket to the opening ceremony: 60,000 Top price paid for an opening ceremony ticket resold via legal bank transfer (original price RMB 5,000 / USD 730): RMB 210,000 (USD 30,657) Percent likelihood of air quality goals being met according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences: 99% Beijing Government-monitored Air Pollution Index (API) on July 7, 2008, one day before the Opening Ceremony: 95 API number considered a "blue sky day" on the Chinese scale: 100 Amount China has spent on cleaning the capital's air in advance of the Olympics: RMB 120 billion (USD 17.6 billion) Number of condoms provided by organizers for Olympic village residents for the 2000 Syndey Olympics: 90,000 Number provided for the 2008 Athens games: 130,000 Number provided for the Beijing Olympics: 0 Number of photographers who documented Beijing for 12 hours one year ago on August 8, 2007 for the project One Night in Beijing: 30 Number of athletes participating in the 2008 Olympics: 10,708 Number of athletes on China's team, the largest in Olympic history: 639 Number of athletes on the US team Number of openly gay athletes: 11
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