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24 September 2014
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The Beijing Games on the BBC
Huw Edwards and Hazel Irvine

The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC

The Beijing Games on the BBC

The 2008 Beijing Olympics will represent the 14th Summer Olympic Games broadcast by the BBC, a sequence that began with the 1948 Games in London and one that has run unbroken since the 1960 Games in Rome, Italy.


These Games will, in effect, be the first ever 24/7 Olympics with viewers able to access live coverage, the latest news updates and any of those missed magical moments, regardless of the time of day and where they are, through the BBC's extensive TV, radio, online, mobile and BBC iPlayer services.


For the first time, viewers will be able to watch the Olympics in High Definition on the BBC HD channel, which is extending its normal hours to provide around 300 hours of coverage. HD gives exceptionally clear, crisp pictures with vivid colours and is particularly good for watching fast-moving sporting events on large screens, with none of the motion-blur some viewers experience with standard definition.


Beijing 2008 is a 17-day festival of live international sport – from aquatics to athletics; boxing to badminton; football to volleyball; sailing to softball; taekwondo to tennis – taking place from 8 to 24 August.


The competition schedule involves 302 events (165 men's events, 127 women's events, and 10 mixed events), in 28 Olympic sports held throughout 31 venues.


BBC Television will broadcast more than 2,750 hours, bringing British audiences the global stories of ambition, determination and courage, while capturing the excitement, drama and magical moments that make the Olympics such a unique sporting event.


Roger Mosey, BBC Sport Director, says: "These Olympic Games offer a unique challenge in their location, their politics and their logistics.


"The BBC will report every aspect of the Games across all its services. We will also offer more choice than ever before to sports fans.


"These will be the first HD Games, and the Games where people have the largest range of digital options across all our platforms. They will be able to experience every moment with the BBC."


Once again, the BBC is set to produce more hours of coverage than ever before, and double that of Athens 2004.


BBC One, BBC Two and BBC HD will dedicate approximately 300 hours to the event over the 17 days, plus 2,450 hours of interactive coverage from BBCi.


Viewers with digital TV can access up to six additional streams to see extended coverage of the 302 individual events.


In another innovation, this will also be the first Olympics available on BBC iPlayer, where viewers will be able to access both the BBC's evening highlights programme, Games Today, as well as the pick of the day's action, available for selection by sport.


BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC 5 Live Sports Extra will bring round-the-clock news, commentary and coverage with the majority of the stations' output coming live from Beijing.


The online service ( will include live streaming of up to six interactive TV channels on broadband, as well as video highlights from all the key events during the day as they happen.


There will also be a selection of these video highlights clips available on mobile phones.


The BBC website currently receives up to 10 million unique users per week.


Radio 5 Live's Olympic Podcast will be available on a daily basis providing a catch-up news service, plus an additional podcast containing commentary highlights.


Also on the website will be a blog, photos and behind-the-scenes videos of 5 Live presenters to bring the atmosphere to viewers and listeners back home.


Other BBC channels such as BBC World will keep viewers around the globe up to date with the latest goings-on and the BBC News channel will be out in Beijing to bring all the news and issues surrounding the Games.


At lunchtime on Friday 8 August, the world will turn its eyes to the Olympic Stadium in Beijing for the spectacle and splendour of the Opening Ceremony. Millions of people worldwide will view this historic event, which marks the beginning of 16 days of world-class competition.


BBC Television will have live coverage of the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony, which will herald the start of London 2012's four-year Olympic cycle.


Both ceremonies will be presented by Sue Barker and Huw Edwards. Huw is joined in the commentary box by Hazel Irvine and Carrie Gracie.


Gabby Logan fronts the BBC's evening highlights programme Games Today, while Hazel Irvine and Adrian Chiles present Olympic Breakfast at 6am.


Other presenters include: Clare Balding, Jake Humphrey, John Inverdale and Rishi Persad.


A team of world-class presenters, commentators and analysts will provide intelligent, informative and exclusive insight on all the action in China.


The BBC Television team comprises some well-loved and respected faces, as well as a few new ones.


Michael Johnson, Colin Jackson, Jonathan Edwards and Steve Cram will guide viewers through the track and field events, with Brendan Foster, Paul Dickenson and Stuart Storey; Sharron Davies, Adrian Moorhouse and Andy Jameson will be poolside; Garry Herbert, Daniel Topolski and John Inverdale will be joined at the water's edge by Olympic rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave; Hugh Porter, Chris Boardman, Gary Sutton and Jill Douglas will be following Team GB at the Velodrome; and Richie Woodhall and Jim Neilly will be ringside.


The BBC Television team of roving reporters – Sir Matt Pinsent, Phil Jones, Garry Richardson and Jill Douglas – will prove indispensable as they get under the skin of the man or woman of the moment.


Notes to Editors


BBC HD is available at these EPG locations: Sky: 143; Virgin: 108; and Freesat: 108.


To watch the BBC's HD channel, you'll need an HD-ready TV, HDMI cable and a cable or satellite digital set-top box from a supplier like Sky, Virgin, or Freesat, which launched in May and which provides the BBC HD channel on a subscription-free basis.


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