In just over 12 months, China will take centre stage when it hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics. Scroll though this gallery for some dramatic images as China prepares to welcome the world's biggest sporting event.

The 29th Olympiad in the Chinese capital Beijing from August 8-24, 2008, promises to be an extravagant affair [GALLO/GETTY]

 

A total of 10,000 athletes will compete in 28 sporting events, vying for 303 medals [GALLO/GETTY]

 

The Torch Relay will last 130 days covering a distance of 137,000 kilometers, covering the longest distance involving the most number of people in Olympics history [EPA]

 

The torch itself, created by designers at Chinese PC giant Lenovo, is designed to resemble an ancient scroll and features a "lucky cloud" design [Reuters]



Beijing's 40,000 police officers will undergo security training to handle the estimated two million visitors expected at the games. More than half will get coaching in English, Spanish, French, German and Arabic [Reuters]

 

The sheer scale and complexity of the venue construction is unprecedented, one of many record-setting engineering feats in the 2008 Games [GALLO/GETTY]

 

The design of the National Aquatics Center - dubbed the Water Cube - is based on the natural formation of soap bubbles and set to be a crowd-puller [
Reuters]
 

 
The National Stadium - nicknamed the Bird's Nest due to its exposed skeleton of steel girders - will accommodate 100,000 people to become the world's biggest enclosed space [EPA]
 

 

 
Beijing has spent 120bn yuan ($16bn) since 1998 on environmental protection and improvement, a priority for the Games which organisers have promoted as the Green Olympics [EPA]
 

The Fuwas or Games mascots - Beibei the Fish, Jingjing the Panda, Yingying the Tibetan Antelope, Nini the Swallow and Huanhuan the Olympic Flame [GALLO/GETTY]
 
 

 

The Summer Games carries the theme 'Journey of Harmony' with the slogan 'Light the Passion, Share the Dream' [GALLO/GETTY]

Source: Agencies