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The $40bn Beijing Games which will obviously go down in history for Michael Phelps 8 golds as much as for anything else, also saw China overthrow the United States as the nation to beat as they amassed 51 gold medals to the US' 36. The United States can still take heart from coming away with 110 medals in all to top the charts and the much hyped ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Redeem Team' winning the Basketball gold.
China despite the overall win; would be disappointed that their two most famous athletes Liu Xiang (1 10 meter hurdles) and Yao Ming (basketball star) went medal-less. Ofcourse with 100 new superstars the nation will surely find some more poster boys (and girls!)
The other highlight of the games was the remarkable pace of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt as the long-legged-one left Beijing with three golds (100m, 200m, 4*100m) and his competition looking rather slow in comparison as he simply blew away the rest of the world in record breaking time.
For India it was a memorable games too with shooter Abhinav Bindra winning India's maiden individual gold medal and the India contingent winning three medals in the Olympics for the very first time. Pugilist Vijender Singh and grappler Sushil Kumar both picked up bronze medals in forgotten sports. In fact, India can be proud of the entire boxing team which produced some memorable performances in a domain where India was never considered competitive let alone a powerhouse.
The disappointment of the games would surely be the failure of what must be the last Olympics for the Indian express of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes. Who knows when India will ever again have athletes of this caliber competing together on a grand tennis stage.
Also, the complete lack of competitiveness of 40+ athletes who finished near the bottom of their respective disciplines should be a cause for concern for Indian sports in general as we head into the Commonwealth Games where India, after two consecutive 4th place finishes, will be hoping to do much better as the host nation.
This wraps up our coverage of the Beijing Olympics, we hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you...see you in New Delhi in 2010.
Photograph Copyright: Richard Giles