In Chinese culture, certain numbers are believed by some to be auspicious (吉利) or inauspicious (不利) based on the Chinese word that the number name sounds similar to.
Here is a little background to the Chinese belief of the lucky number 8, according to Wikipedia:
The word for ‘eight’ in Mandarin (Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or ‘wealth’. In regional dialects the words for ‘eight’ and ‘fortune’ are also similar, eg Cantonese “baat” and “faat”.
There is also a resemblance between two digits, “88”, and the shuang xi (‘double joy’), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (xi, ‘joy’, ‘happiness’).
In fact, people will often choose, attempt to obtain, or pay large sums for numbers that are considered to be lucky for their phone numbers, street addresses, residence floor (in a multi-story building), driver’s license number, vehicle license plate number, bank account number, etc. For example, the telephone number 8888-8888 was sold for USD $270,723 in Chengdu, China.
Oh by the way, the unlucky number in China is 4.
So I hope the number 8 will be lucky at least for all the US Olympians. I do hope that USA makes a good show in Beijing! Good Luck USA!
The Summer Olympics in Beijing are scheduled to open on 8/8/08 at 8:08:08pm.