A record 201 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated in the Olympic Games. The overall tally for events on the programme was 301 (one more than at the Sydney Games in 2000).
Popularity in the Games also soared, as 3.9 billion people had access to the television coverage compared to 3.6 billion for Sydney. This global audience enjoyed coverage of never-before-seen sports such as women's wrestling, which was included in the programme for the first time.
Swimmer Michael Phelps won six gold medals and set a single-Games record with eight total medals. Leontien Ziljaard-van Moorsel became the first female cyclist to earn four career gold medals, reaching a total of six Olympic medals, while canoeist Birgit Fischer became the first athlete in any sport to win two medals in each of five Olympic Games.
Runner Hicham El Guerrouj won both the 1500m and the 5000m, while on the women's side Kelly Holmes triumphed in both the 800m and the 1500m. In team play, Argentina won the men's football tournament without conceding a goal, and the U.S. softball team outscored their opponents by an aggregate score of 51-1.
See the list of teams and medals won by each.See table