Opening ceremony Main article: 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony The opening ceremony officially began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time (UTC+8) on August 8, 2008 in the Beijing National Stadium.[61] The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture, and here it was a triple eight for the date and one extra for time (close to 08:08:08 pm).[62] The ceremony was co-directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou and Chinese choreographer Zhang Jigang[63] and featured a cast of over 15,000 performers.[64] The ceremony lasted over four hours and was reported to have cost over US$100 million to produce.[65] A rich assembly of ancient Chinese art and culture dominated the ceremony. It opened with the beating of Fou drums for the countdown. Subsequently, a giant scroll was unveiled and became the show's centerpiece. The official song of the 2008 Olympics, titled "You and Me", was performed by Britain's Sarah Brightman and China's Liu Huan, on a large spinning rendition of the globe.[66] The last recipient in the Olympic Torch relay, former Chinese gymnast Li Ning ignited the cauldron, after being suspended into the air by wires and completing a lap of the National Stadium at roof height.[67] The opening ceremony was lauded by spectators and various international presses as "spectacular" and "spellbinding" [68] Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the XXIX Olympiad, called the ceremony "a grand, unprecedented success."[69] [edit]Sports Michael Phelps set a record for number of gold medals at the Olympics. The program for the Beijing Games was quite similar to that of the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. There were 28 sports and 302 events at the 2008 Games. Nine new events were held, including two from the new cycling discipline of BMX. Women competed in the 3000 metre steeplechase for the first time. Open water swimming events for men and women, over the distance of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), were added to the swimming discipline. Team events (men and women) in table tennis replaced the doubles events.[70] In fencing, women's team foil and women's team sabre replaced men's team foil and women's team epee.[d] Two sports were open only to men, baseball and boxing, while one sport and one discipline were open only to women, softball and synchronized swimming. Equestrian and mixed badminton are the only sports in which men and women compete together.[71][72] The following were the 28 sports that were contested at the Games. The number of events contested in each sport is indicated in parentheses (in sports with more than one discipline, as identified by the IOC,[73] these are also specified).