Beijing opening ceremony

Beijing 2008

Team Canada Medal Count

Gold medal icon 3
Silver medal icon 9
Bronze medal icon 8

Flag Bearers

Opening Ceremony

Closing Ceremony

Games Summary

Games of the XXIX Olympiad

The 2008 Olympic Games were the first to be held in China and there was no holding back on the pomp and splendor. The torch relay was the most international in Olympic history, as the flame travelled to every continent as well as the peak of Mount Everest. The awe-inspiring Opening Ceremony has been commonly called the most spectacular ever, featuring more than 15,000 performers. The venues were also impressive, highlighted by two showcase pieces, the National Stadium and the National Swimming Centre, each better known by their respective nicknames, the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. Beijing’s thousand year old history was also on display as cycling’s road race route followed the Great Wall and passed in front of the Forbidden City.

Beijing Olympics 2008 view of stadium

A record 204 NOCs participated, with 87 of them winning medals, including first-timers Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mauritius, and Togo. There were more than 40 world records and 130 Olympic records broken.

Canadian athletes won 20 medals, making it the country’s second-best non-boycotted summer Games ever behind the 22 won at Atlanta 1996. Eric Lamaze was the country’s only double medallist, winning Canada’s first ever individual equestrian gold medal after being part of the jumping team that won silver. Also on that team was Ian Millar, who in his ninth Olympic appearance finally won his first medal at age 61.

In rowing, the confident men’s eight raced to gold in the dominant fashion that they expected of themselves. Inspired by the image of the crew, particularly Adam Kreek, singing O Canada loudly and proudly on the dock, the phrase “Sing Like Kreek” became a mantra for other athletes on the Canadian team, notably triathlete Simon Whitfield who taped the words to the handlebars of his bike as he raced to silver. A silver medal from the pair of Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen started the second week of the Games. There were also bronze medals from the men’s lightweight four and the women’s lightweight double sculls.

Carol Huynh celebrating

Canada’s first gold medal of the Games came from wrestler Carol Huynh. It was just Canada’s second ever Olympic gold in wrestling and the first by a woman. Tonya Verbeek added a bronze. Canada’s other combat sport medal was a silver won by Karine Sergerie in taekwondo.

Trampolinists Karen Cockburn and Jason Burnett each won a silver medal. For Cockburn, it was the third straight Games at which she had stood on the podium, an accomplishment that was recognized by her being named Closing Ceremony flag bearer.

The Opening Ceremony flag bearer, kayaker Adam van Koeverden, also reached the podium, winning a silver medal. Canoeist Thomas Hall added a bronze.

Adam van Koeverden celebrating

At the pool, Alex Despatie won his second straight silver in the 3m springboard, while Ryan Cochrane put Canada back on the podium in swimming for the first time since Sydney 2000 with his bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle. It was Canada’s first Olympic medal in that event since Antwerp 1920.

Priscilla Lopes-Schliep won bronze in the 100m hurdles for Canada’s first athletics medal since Atlanta 1996. And in the category of better late than never, shot putter Dylan Armstrong finally received his bronze medal in February 2015 for Canada’s first Olympic medal in a throwing event since Stockholm 1912. After initially missing the podium by one centimetre, Armstrong was given the medal upgrade following the disqualification of original third place finisher Andrei Mikhnevich for doping.

Weightlifter Christine Girard had to wait a couple more years to receive her bronze medal in the 63kg event. After thinking she had missed the podium by three kilograms, Girard became the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal following the August 2016 disqualification to original second place finisher Irina Nekrassova for doping.

Canadian Medallists

Event Athlete Finish Sport
Individual - MixedEric LamazeGoldEquestrian - Jumping
Coxed Eight - MenAndrew Byrnes, Kyle Hamilton, Malcolm Howard, Adam Kreek, Kevin Light, Brian Price, Benjamin Rutledge, Dominic Seiterle, Jacob WetzelGoldRowing
48kg - WomenCarol HuynhGoldWrestling - Freestyle
Platform 10m - WomenEmilie HeymansSilverAquatics - Diving
Springboard 3m - MenAlexandre DespatieSilverAquatics - Diving
K-1 500m - MenAdam van KoeverdenSilverCanoe-Kayak - Sprint
Team - MixedMalcolm Cone, Jill Henselwood, Eric Lamaze, Ian MillarSilverEquestrian - Jumping
MenJason BurnettSilverGymnastics - Trampoline
WomenKaren CockburnSilverGymnastics - Trampoline
Coxless Pair - MenDavid Calder, Scott FrandsenSilverRowing
67kg - WomenKarine SergerieSilverTaekwondo
MenSimon WhitfieldSilverTriathlon
Freestyle 1,500m - MenRyan CochraneBronzeAquatics - Swimming
Hurdles 100m - WomenPriscilla Lopes-SchliepBronzeAthletics
C-1 1,000m - MenThomas HallBronzeCanoe-Kayak - Sprint
Lightweight Double Sculls - WomenTracy Cameron, Melanie KokBronzeRowing
Lightweight Four - MenJonathan Beare, Iain Brambell, Mike Lewis, Daniel Liam ParsonsBronzeRowing
55kg - WomenTonya VerbeekBronzeWrestling - Freestyle
Shot Put - MenDylan ArmstrongBronzeAthletics
63kg - WomenChristine GirardBronzeWeightlifting