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www. olympic. orgOLYMPIC REVIEW9 EDITORIAL W elcome to the final issue of 2008 of Olympic Review. After six years, it is also my last issue as editor, and a more significant edition on which to bow out is hard to imagine. Through the memories, highlights and reflections of those closest to the action, from athletes to volunteers, organisers to spectators, this special edition takes a fresh perspective on the Beijing Olympic Games, and the unforgettable 16 days and 17 nights of drama, ceremony and sports the world witnessed this summer... I don't think any of us who were fortunate enough to play a role – albeit a supporting one – in Beijing will forget it. China wowed the world in putting on a superb Games that drew plaudits and praise from all quarters. Athletes such as Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps rose to the occasion with some of the most remarkable performances ever seen. Our review begins on page 30 with the awesome Opening Ceremony, watched by record numbers of people worldwide and a spectacular curtain- raiser for the Games. We speak to the proud architect of an evening that was arguably the greatest show the world has ever seen, director Zhang Yimou. The 204 flags that were paraded into the Opening Ceremony showcased the record numbers of National Olympic Committees participating; this evidence of the Olympic Movement's increasing universality was underscored by the record numbers of NOCs who won medals. One hopes competitors at the Olympic Games are rivals, but not enemies. The embrace on the podium between two athletes, one Russian, one Georgian, reminded the world how much better it would be if that spirit was shared just a little more broadly. We reflect on this, and some of the other moments of friendship that struck a chord with people around the world. The 2008 Olympic Games were broadcast to more people in more countries than ever before and, starting on page 46, we reveal how the first fully digital Games delivered the magic of the Olympic experience to people around the world, while a record number of spectators attended the events live in the magnificent venues. The organisation of the Games was second to none, with a level of professionalism that was exceeded only by the quality of the hospitality, and which provided the perfect support for the amazing sporting achievements that we witnessed in Beijing. We look at some of the these remarkable performances, starting on page 56, and re- live the golden moments through the athletes' own recollections, learning from them what it takes to be an Olympic champion. The Games were an opportunity for a meeting of cultures between China and the rest of the world. Thousands of athletes were brought together in the Olympic Village – widely acclaimed as the best ever – but, as you can read on page 72, arguably the most vivid expression of the meeting of cultures were the magnificent Chinese volunteers who greeted and assisted Olympic visitors. The Games also provided a catalyst for change in aspects of the host nation, such as the environment, a theme explored in recent issues of Olympic Review. The legacy of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will only truly be known with a greater perspective of time than the passing of four months allows, but already we can draw some conclusions. From page 80, our correspondents who reported on these areas in the build- up to the Games look at what tangible results were evident in Beijing and assess what the long- term benefits will be for sport, China and the Olympic Movement. Happy continued reading and best wishes for the New Year. ¦ Above rightThe achievements of the Jamaican sprinters in the Bird's Nest were among the many sporting highlights of the Games We welcome all your comments and suggestions. Please email olympicreview@ olympic. org, fax + 41 ( 0) 21 621 6356, or send letters to: Olympic Review, IOC Department of Communications, Château de Vidy, 1007 Lausanne, Switzerland EDITORIALBYGISELLEDAVIES IOC DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS