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Beijing Olympics underway at the stroke of luck

The XXIX Olympic Games commenced at 8:08pm Beijing time on this 8th day of the 8th month of 2008. Eight is considered a lucky number in China -- and they are very zealous about it! The Seattle Times staff shares a few examples:

The date full of eights is moving several thousand couples in Beijing to get married today - and elsewhere around the world.

Sichuan Airlines paid $280,000 for the rights to the telephone number 8888-8888.

A man in Hangzhou has been widely reported for his offer to sell his car's license plate A88888 for $160,000.

Staying on the eighth floor of a hotel in China? Might cost you extra for the good fortune.

Also, Michael Phelps is going for eight gold medals. And were China to win 88 medals in the total medal count it might be enough to beat out the US. (In Athens the US had 102 medals, China won 63).