BEIJING - China
Beijing has won the race to stage the 2008 Olympics. The Chinese capital have beat four other bidding cities, including Toronto and Paris, to secure the country's first-ever Olympics. It only took one more round for Beijing to be confirmed as the preferred host. The announcement, read out by outgoing Olympic president Juan Antonio Samaranch, was greeted with wild scenes of jubilation from the Chinese delegation in Moscow, and with fireworks in Beijing itself. Beijing had lost the race for the 2000 Games by just two votes to Sydney - but there were no such dramas this time round. To secure the Games, Beijing and the Chinese government had agreed a substantial budget of more than US$14bn. There are few venues that are currently up to standard, so the centre of the Games will be a giant Olympic Park on the northern outskirts of the city, and on an axis with some of Beijing's notable landmarks such as the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.