China started one-year countdown to the2008 Beijing Olympic Games on Wednesday with a spectacular ceremony at the Tiananmen Square.
Some 10,000 guests were invited to be present at the ceremony which was also televised live across the nation and around the globe.
Jacques Rogge, president of International Olympic Committee, said at the ceremony that he believes Beijing will host a successful Games.
"The world is watching China and Beijing with great expectations. The athletes also have great expectations and they are all looking forward to competing in the state-of-the-art Beijing venues," Rogge told the crowd.
"Beijing and China will not only host a successful Games for the world's premier athletes, but will also provide an excellent opportunity to discover China -- its history, culture and people, with China opening itself to the world in new ways," Rogge said.
"From what we have seen so far, the preparations for Beijing 2008 are truly impressive in every regard," the Belgian said. "I don't think we have ever seen preparations on this scale."
The Beijing Olympics will begin at 8:08 on August 8, 2008. Eight is regarded as China's lucky number.