China was the host nation of the 2008 Summer Olympics. China was represented by the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC), and the team of selected athletes were officially known as Team China.
As the host country, China received an automatic quota for every competition, though athletes had to meet the qualification standards set by the country's national Olympics committee. A total of 639 athletes qualified for places on the national team, the 2008 game's largest, and significantly more than the 407-strong Chinese team that went to Athens in 2004. Chinese athletes from every province qualified to compete in all 28 Olympic sports, marking the first time that Chinese athletes were represented in every sport at an Olympics. Of the total 639 athletes, 469 were competing in their first Olympics, 165 competed in Athens 2004, 37 took part in Sydney 2000 and the average age is 24.2 years old. Three athletes, diver Guo Jingjing, shooter Tan Zongliang and basketballer Li Nan, were making their fourth Olympic appearances, having first competed in Atlanta 1996. China's Olympic delegation totalled 1,099, which included 460 officials. According to Olympic protocol, China entered as the last country into the Beijing National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony. They were led by basketballer Yao Ming and Lin Hao, a 9-year-old primary school student who had rescued two schoolmates during the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake.
China topped the rankings for the first time with 51 gold medals. In 2009 Team China won the Laureus World Sports Awards for the best Team of the Year.
The team excludes athletes from the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, which competed separately as Hong Kong, China.