There may still be some debate as to what exactly is 'The Greatest Show on Earth'. Pre-TV, it was a circus that first coined the phrase; on TV, the FIFA World Cup draws an enviable number of spectators at each turn, and, these days, Game of Thrones might even be in with a shout.
But the Olympic Games are still a spectacle like no other, and for two weeks in August 2008, Beijing pulled out all the stops to live up to such a billing. From its iconic centrepiece stadium, which hosted that opening ceremony, to the many memorable feats of athletic achievement that were seen, Beijing’s take on the event set a new, glitzy standard in Olympic pageantry.
They also changed Beijing. With the dramatic facelift and preparations that went into the games, they would turn out to be a significant milestone in the city’s development. A lot can happen in ten years, too, and the capital has continued to expand outwards and upwards at an alarming pace ever since. A decade on, we look back at the games, the city that was, the city that is, and the legacy of Beijing 2008.
Image: U.S. Army via Wikimedia Commons