From the BBC press site: BBC Sport collaborates with Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn for Beijing Olympics. Hewlett and Albarn are the creators of the virtual band Gorillaz, and have brought a similar visual style to the BBC's Olympic credit sequences (larger image here) , which will be based on the classic folk epic Journey To The West aka The Monkey King. (They have already produced, under the direction of Chen Shi-Zheng, a spectacular musical stage adaption, Monkey - Journey to the West).
Journey to the West is Wu Ch'eng-en's vastly mythologised and embroidered fantasy, written in the mid-1500s, on the real-life journey of the 7th century Chinese monk Xuan Zang, who travelled to India and brought Buddhist scriptures back to China. A while back I found another nice picture, in anodised titanium, of the chief characters on the September 2004 cover of the materials journal JOM (like the BBC, I assume, JOM chose the story as an metaphor for East meeting West). The priest Xuanzang is escorted by Sun Wukong (Monkey, a powerful trickster-god constrained to aid him), and his companions Zhu Bajie (Pigsy) and Sha Wujing (Sandy), who are also divine and forced to atone for misdeeds by demeaning reincarnations - the former as a pig, the latter as a cannibal sand monster. Tripitaka is, incidentally, a misnomer for Xuanzang; it's not actually his name, but an honorific for priests who had mastered the Buddhist scriptural canon called the Tripitaka - "three baskets" in Sanskrit.
Arthur Waley. Online, China-on-site.com has a summary and illustrated retelling. I'm not ashamed to admit that I know the story primarily from the cult Japanese TV series starring Masaaki Sakai - see Monkey Heaven and YouTube). Despite the dire special effects and peculiar English dubbing, the series was remarkably faithful to the original stories; for instance, Monkey's bizarre powers, as described in this appreciation by Matthew Craig, or the Five Pillars at the End of the Universe incident, are perfectly authentic.
Addendum: the animation is now up at BBC Sport - see Meet Monkey.