The 2008 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (第二十九届夏季奥林匹克运动会), was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to 24, 2008.[a] A total of 10,942 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) competed in 28 sports and 302 events (a total of one event more than the schedule of the 2004 Games). China became the 22nd nation to host the Olympic Games and the 18th to hold a Summer Olympic Games. It was the third time that the Summer Olympic Games were held in Asia, after Tokyo, Japan, in 1964 and Seoul, South Korea, in 1988. The equestrian events were held in Hong Kong, making it the third time the events of the same olympics were held under the jurisdiction of two different NOCs[b], while sailing was contested in Qingdao, and football events took place in several different cities.
Beijing was awarded the Games over four competitors on July 13, 2001, having won an absolute majority of votes from members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after two rounds of voting. The Government of the People's Republic of China promoted the Games and invested heavily in new facilities and transportation systems. A total of 37 venues were used to host the events, including 12 constructed specifically for use at the Games. The official logo of these Olympic Games, titled "Dancing Beijing", featured a stylised calligraphic character jīng (京, meaning capital), referring to the host city. Media outlets reported unprecedented audience interest in the Games, and these Olympics had the largest television audience in Olympic history to date, an achievement later surpassed by the 2012 Games. Some politicians and non-governmental organizations criticized the choice of China as Olympic host because of the country's human rights record, and protests by pro-Tibetan independence activists and critics of China's human rights record marred the international portion of the Olympic torch relay.