In 2001, China won the bid to host the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Historically, China won most of its medals in table tennis, badminton, weightlifting, diving and gymnastics. But they were quite weak in other sports. In response, China created Project 119 to improve their medal count in these sports.
119 refers to the number of gold medals available in events that China is targeting including Track and Field, Swimming, Rowing & Canoe/Kayak and Sailing. A total of 119 gold medals are available at these events.
New training facilities were built, top foreign coaches were hired with hefty contracts, and more than $700 million was invested into China’s olympic program.
The results? China won 51 gold, 15 more than the second place US with 36 gold medals.