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from Changing China:

China opens Paralympic Games

opening cermoney one

Beijing opened the Paralympic Games in spectacular fashion on Saturday, the crowd at the Bird's Nest roaring in approval at the lavish performance overseen by renowned Chinese film director Zhang Yimou.

Particularly well received was a moving ballet performance by a young girl who lost a leg in May's massive Sichuan earthquake.

Check out the photos and click here to read Ben Blanchard's view from the Bird's Nest...

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Reuters photos by Jason Lee (top two) and Claro Cortes IV (bottom)

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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Britain’s Beijing heroes can teach soccer a thing or two

British Olympic medal winnersStanding in the reception of a Heathrow hotel watching a roll call of British gold-medal winners file past, the overriding impression was just how normal they all seemed.

There was something wonderfully natural and down-to-earth about these luminaries of Britain's finest Olympic effort in a century.

from Changing China:

Snapshot Beijing, 7: Bolt breaks the unbreakable world record

Bolt breaks the 200 world record

My abiding memory from these Games  will be watching Usain Bolt give everything he had to break a world record most of us had thought unbreakable.

Michael Johnson's time of 19.32 in the 200 metres had never been seriously challenged before the Jamaican sprinter, a headline writer's dream, decided it was finally time to get down to some serious work.

from Changing China:

A pleasant surprise in Beijing

Volunteers stand near the targetsI'd expected the worst when I got to Beijing three weeks ago. I remember what it was like in another Communist country -- East Germany with its suppressed and scared people coupled with deplorable service and shoddy quality everywhere you turned.

That's roughly what I had in mind for China, although I knew Beijing itself would certainly be a more prosperous and modern place than East Germany, and with a bit of window dressing for the Olympics.

from Changing China:

Snapshot Beijing, 6: Michael Phelps wins eight golds

Phelps in full flow

Michael Phelps trouncing his rivals is always something fantastic to see, and here in Beijing it took your breath away to watch him so often leave everyone else for dead.

But the races which stick most vividly in my mind are the two in which gold appeared to have escaped him.

from Changing China:

Beijing bustling again already

As Olympic visitors started to worry on Sunday about airport return traffic, cars in Beijing were being parked on sidewalks again.

Night clubs were open after an anti-prostitution blitz a few weeks ago. Once banished vendors scrummed on sidewalks to sell Olympic pins, the collection of which had grown to a competitive roar among locals close to the Games.

from Changing China:

Olympic fever hits London

Riding a wave of sporting euphoria after its best Olympic performance in a century, Britain accepted Olympic host-nation status from China on Sunday with a huge street party in front of Buckingham Palace.

Owen Wyatt catches up with Olympic gold medallists Michael Phelps and Bradley Wiggins as London throbbed with 40,000 partygoers at a live concert to start the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics.

from Changing China:

Snapshot Beijing, 5: Fair play gets forgotten

Taekwondo kick to the head

It was everything the event was not supposed to be. The Olympics should embody sportsmanship and fair play. Taekwondo is about discipline and civility in a fight.

Unfortunately Cuba's Angel Vaoldia Matos forgot about both in the heat of his bronze medal bout.

from Changing China:

Will China change post-Olympics?

torch goes outThe million dollar question on the minds of many: Will China change after the Olympics?

I've worked intermittently in Beijing for 11 years and in Taipei for 15, but analysing the world's most populous nation, and an opaque one for that matter, is like a blind man feeling an elephant.

from Changing China:

Beijing 2008: Were these the best Games ever?

Fireworks at the closing ceremony

The Beijing Olympic Games closed on Sunday, as China passed on the flame to London.

Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch was in the habit of describing each Games as "the best ever", with the notable exception of Atlanta in 1996.

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