The 2012 host faces numerous challenges, including tight budgets, security concerns, and a dearth of homegrown Olympic champions in many sports.
Gloomy forecasts of smog, terrorism, and rude hosts all but evaporated during the 17-day sports extravaganza, though concern remained about human rights.
The success of the Olympics is expected to help China’s leaders and people trust the rest of the world more readily, and tone down an often aggrieved nationalism.
Many Olympic events get little notice worldwide but have huge national followings. For Finland, the javelin throw is a national obsession.
It has relied on a massive – and expensive – sports system to dominate the Beijing Games's gold-medal count.
Its dominance at the Beijing Games’ gold-medal table relied on a massive centralized sports system.
Shifting political winds may explain the lack of awareness about Chiu Teng Hiok, who helped the British shine in basketball at the 1924 Paris Games.
Why does China crush opponents in diving? How does South Korea do so well in archery? Excellence in an Olympic sport can be a result of traditions or serendipity.
Almost 300,000 migrant workers who constructed Olympics sites and infrastructure were driven out of Beijing before the Games. Now, some are returning to the Bird’s Nest to enjoy their handiwork.
Gold medalist Nastia Liukin’s father is also her coach. It’s a delicate balance they’ve worked out over years.