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from Changing China:

A costly kick to the head

A kick to the head

Cuba's Angel Valodia Matos was banned for life from taekwondo on Saturday after he kicked the match referee in the head in his bronze medal bout.

Matos's coach was also banned for the behaviour that the official said was in "strong violation of the spirit of taekwondo and the Olympic Games".

That would be putting it mildly, one might say.

PHOTO: Angel Valodia Matos of Cuba kicks out at referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden during the men's +80kg bronze medal taekwondo competition against Arman Chilmanov of Kazakhstan at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 23, 2008. REUTERS/Issei Kato

from Changing China:

Beijing’s favourite Olympic happy snap

Holding the torchRemember those jolly tourist pictures you took of yourself in Italy where you were pretending to prop up the leaning tower of Pisa? Here's the Beijing equivalent.

You stand in front of the Bird's Nest stadium, hold up your hand and by a miracle of foreshortening appear to grip the vast cornetto-shaped torch burning on the roof of the athletics venue.

from Changing China:

China assured of first place in medals table

Zhang YiningThere's been a lively discussion, here and elsewhere, about which version of the medals table is a better way of ranking countries' achievements at the Olympics.

Reuters goes with the "gold standard", if you like, which has put China out in front almost from the start. Other, mainly American outlets go with the "total number of medals" tally that puts the U.S. on top.

from Changing China:

Beijing Games: picture of the day

combo shot

Rickey Rogers writes: A combination photograph as Germans Christian Gille and Thomasz Wylenzek crash into a buoy after winning silver in the C2 1000 m final, gets the vote of Picture of the Day.

What seems like good fun as one team member drags another into the water, suddenly appears to be a real-life drama judging by their situation as they are saved by a rescue boat.

from Changing China:

Is this the most fun you can have on two legs?

Bolt fliesJamaica's sprinters have pulled off a remarkable trick at the Beijing Games by making running look like the most enjoyable thing you can do standing up.

While speedsters from other nations have looked tense on the track at the Bird's Nest, Usain Bolt and the women who swept the medals in the 100 metres have clearly been enjoying themselves.

from Changing China:

A weird and wonderful water ballet

synchronised swimming

When I told my editors I wanted to cover synchronised swimming at the Olympics they laughed. When I said it again they looked slightly embarrassed, like I was pushing a bad joke too far.

I had to ask several more times but I finally convinced them and two weeks later, I was watching two sequin-strewn contenders splash around in perfect union to an orchestral version of the Rolling Stones' Paint It Black.

from Changing China:

Beijing Games: picture of the day

Heavy horse

This is one of those pictures that really makes you wish we had a caption competition.

Hang on a minute ... Why don't we have a caption competition just for once? No prizes, I'm afraid, but if you feel inspired send in your ideas in the comments. The serious caption we sent out with the pic is below, but I'm sure you can do better...

from Changing China:

Too much, too young for Olympic gymnasts?

Cheng FeiThe more I watch the women's gymnastics competitions the more I'm torn between amazement at the athleticism on display and horror at what can seem at times like cruel and unusual punishment.

Most elite athletes put themselves through gruelling training regimes -- not to mention the mental toll that the stress of competition must take -- but few are quite so young as the women's gymnasts

from Changing China:

Chinese fans not shy in picking sides

China fansChina had just lost to the U.S. but even though their team was out the crowd's cheering, jeering, floor stomping and plastic stick drumming was just warming up on a 14-hour day of men's volleyball play.

One match later, the Chinese fans were wildly rooting for Egypt over Russia.

from Changing China:

Those moving medal moments…

Isinbayeva on the podiumRemember the Black Power salutes from the podium in Mexico 1968?

The 2008 Beijing Olympics medal ceremonies might not produce anything to match that, but there has been no shortage of drama so far.

In the full emotional spectrum, we have had:

Anger - Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian stormed off the podium to dump his bronze on the mat in a protest against referees.

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