The Beijing Olympics will be the world's premier sporting event in 2008. Countries should begin planning for appropriate support for their Olympic athletes. Experienced medical staff should be appointed early and become familiar with the major medical or injury concerns of athletes and officials. Teams should assemble a comprehensive medical kit. Appropriate medical advice can ensure that athletes will arrive in Beijing in optimal condition. Medical issues particularly relevant to competitors at the Beijing Olympics include heat and humidity, waterborne diseases and air pollution. However, the air pollution probably represents less of a threat than previous media reports would indicate. The Olympic village and venues can be thought of as small enclaves located within a rapidly developing country.