But the Olympics were really only a staging post in a much more fundamental reshaping of the Chinese capital.
On blog.esllibrary.com, I found "Olympics" is a singular:
We at ESL Library decided to go with “the Olympics” + singular verb and “the Olympic Games” + plural verb. Basically, “the Olympics” is a collective noun like team or United States, and usually takes a singular verb. “Games,” on the other hand, is a plural noun that should take a plural verb. It’s possible to consider “the Olympic Games” as a collective noun, but “the Olympic Games is...” just doesn’t sound right to me. “The Olympic Games are...” sounds much better!