Many cities offer to provide high-quality infrastructure for the Olympic Games – stadiums, housing, transportation, and media facilities. The International Olympic Committee has no firm criteria for selecting between qualified cities that bid to host the Olympics. During the contest to host the 2008 Games, Beijing distinguished their bid from other candidatures by presenting arguments that went far beyond organizational capacity. This did not only win them the right to host the Olympic Games, but also served to increase the legitimacy of the IOC and reinforce the strongly modernist ideologies of the Chinese government and the Olympic Movement. This paper analyses how Beijing set their bid apart, and discusses the conditions under which Chinese journalists produced material about the Olympic bid for official English-language media.