Changing China

Giant on the move

Day one at the Olympics

August 9, 2008

The opening day of real competition at the Olympic Games produced seven gold medals, two of them for China and one each for the United States, South Korea, Romania, Spain and Czech Republic.

There was a pall cast over the day’s sporting events, however, as a Chinese man stabbed to death the father-in-law of a U.S. Olympic coach at a Beijing tourist spot before taking his own life.

You can read the full story of that attack here and a wrap-up of the events on day one here.

Among my favourite stories of the day were the U.S. gymnast who qualified for three finals after only finding out three days ago that he would be at the Games, the U.S. president’s antics on the beach volleyball court, and the upset in the very first gold medal event, which left heavy favourite Du Li and the rest of China disappointed but provided a heart-warming tale nonetheless.

Quote of the day? Probably this one from Stefan Schumacher, who was one of the many cyclists who retired from a men’s road race that was staged in exhausting conditions.

“It feels like you’re at 3,000 metres because of the air. You cannot breathe. The air is thick and there is smog … Right now, I’m just knackered.”

Come back tomorrow to see if Michael Phelps can get his bid for a record-breaking haul of gold medals underway in the 400m individual medley.

For now, feel free to check out our Podcast by clicking below. This time I’m joined by Ossian Shine and Peter Rutherford. Julian Linden will be back by personal demand tomorrow to talk about Phelps and the rest of the swimming.

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