Project 119

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Project 119 is a governmental program of the People's Republic of China targeting sports that China has not traditionally excelled in at the Summer Olympics, to maximize the amount of total medals and number of golds won during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The number, 119, refers to the number of gold medals available in events that China is targeting. The total number of golds available in the targeted sports was 122 at the targeted 2008 Olympics, an increase of three.

"Project 119" is related to the Plan for Olympic Glory, a more general plan for greater performance across the board.[1]


With the awarding of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad of 2008 to Beijing in 2001, the government of China embarked on a program to increase its medal load. Project 119 was established to gain medals in the sports of Track and Field, Swimming, Rowing & Canoe/Kayak and Sailing. These sports had a total gold medal count of 119 in the 2000 Summer Olympics. At those Games, China had only won one medal in all these sports. China wished to finish on top of the medal count and gold medal total at its own games.[2]

For rowing, China established a training centre at Thousand Island Lake, 500 km from Shanghai, and hired foreign coaches from around the world.[3]


Leading up the 2008 target, China harvested several fruits for their labours.


Project 119 failed to live up to billing in the swimming events, resulting in only one gold medal.[6]

Entering with a powerful team in rowing, Project 119 resulted in a single gold medal for the women's quad. The men's eight failed to advance.[7]


The Beijing Olympics ended with China winning the most golds, while finishing second to the United States in total medals. This marked the first time since the 1936 Summer Olympics that neither the United States, nor the Soviet Union/Russia, had won the most gold medals at a Summer Olympics.

China performed well at the London 2012 Games,[8] winning the second largest amount of gold medals and in total medal count.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yanping, Li; Cheng, Wing-Gar (25 August 2008). "Olympic Dream Helps Chinese Kids Beat Pain in Drive for London". Bloomberg. 
  2. ^ Layden, Tim; Nazzaro, Mary Nicole (28 July 2008). "Project 119". Sports Illustrated. 
  3. ^ a b Austin, Simon; Slater, Matt (21 July 2008). "China crisis for British rowing". BBC Sport. 
  4. ^ Liu, Melinda (9 January 2008). "Gold Rush: China's Olympic strategy and "Project 119"". Newsweek. 
  5. ^ Jones, Gary (1 August 2008). "China's Olympic plan to topple America". The First Post. 
  6. ^ Smith, Michael David (22 August 2008). "Project 119 Didn't Work Despite China's Gold Lead". New York Sun. 
  7. ^ Slot, Owen (13 August 2008). "China's masterplan takes shape before our eyes". The Times. 
  8. ^ Mortimer, James (28 August 2008). "Beijing – a triumph for China, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Great Britain... and not forgetting India". Sportingo.