With the handover of the Olympic Flag to Wang Qishan, the mayor of
Beijing, host city of the 2008 Olympics, President of the
International Olympic Committee Dr. Jacques Rogge declared the end
of the Athens Games after 16 days of competitions.
"I declare the Games of the 28th Olympiad closed and in
accordance with tradition, I call upon youth of the world to
assemble four years from now in Beijing."
The IOC chief praised Athens for organizing a well-run Games,
with the best ever athletes' village, flawless security, higher
television ratings, and good ticket sales.
However, Rogge refused to rank the Athens Games among past
Olympics, saying he would not make comparisons.
"The Olympic Games are a competition between athletes and not
between the Organizing Committees. You cannot compare at different
times, different countries with different political and cultural
But despite all the praise, Rogge sent a chilling warning there
could be more positive drug tests than the 22 recorded so far in
Athens, which double the figure in Sydney.
The Olympic supremo said the powerful performance at Athens by
China, Japan and their neighbors marked the "awakening of Asia"
that heralds a strong showing by Asian nations at the 2008
"In these Games we saw the awakening of Asia. We saw the major
progress of China, the extraordinary success of Japan, of Korea,
Thailand and Indonesia. I believe that this is a very strong sign
that Asia will be at full strength at the Beijing Games at four
China went into the Athens Games expecting to win fewer medals
than in Sydney, as the country adopted a youth policy to prepare
athletes for a maximum output at Beijing.
Chinese athletes finished third on the medal tally in Sydney
with 28 golds and 59 medals, after the United States and
With a historic high of 32 gold and 63 medals, China broke its
Olympic record medal haul and exceeded Russia to rank second in the
gold medal tally, following the United States.
Yuan Weimin is chef-de-mission of the Chinese delegation,
Yuan Weimin says we are proud to say that we have fully realized
the goals set before the Games. I'm pleased to say that we took
gold medals in 13 sports in Athens, compared to nine in Sydney.
Also, our athletes made historic breakthroughs in 24 events of nine
sports including athletics, canoeing and tennis.
Yuan Weimin says the triumph at the Athens Games will lay a
solid foundation for China's preparations at Beijing Games, when
the Olympics is held in China for the first time.
To invite the world to Beijing, an eight-minute Chinese gala
show was put on the center stage at the end of the closing
ceremony, with the performance reaching a climax when a young girl
singing Chinese folk song 'Jasmine'.
A message was revealed at the conclusion with the warm applause
of the audience, 'Welcome to Beijing!'
(CRI August 30, 2004)