China and the World Make a Date for 2008
After missing out on the 2000 Summer Games by two votes, Beijing gets its chance in 2008
by John Gettings
Despite criticism of China's human rights practices and its environmental record, the 122-member International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July 2001 gave Beijing the simple majority it needed in the second round of voting to beat out Toronto, Paris, Istanbul, and Osaka for the honor.
The historic vote was the first held without any visits by IOC members to the bidding cities. After a vote-buying scandal erupted in 1998 regarding the selection of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, subsequent reforms enacted by the IOC before the 2000 Sydney Games prohibited such visits.
The Beijing Games will mark the Olympics fifth trip to Asia and first since 1998's Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.
China's proposal calls for a giant Olympic Park to be built on the northern outskirts of Beijing near landmarks such as the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, which will host venues for at least 15 sports. Developers hope that a new exhibition center featuring two skyscrapers will overshadow the twin Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
The Winter Games will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2010.