Ten years on: Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics

We look back at the Games that changed our city

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

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