Changing China

Giant on the move

Move over Mr Phelps, the real Games are about to begin

August 14, 2008

Tyson Gay

Michael Phelps and the swimming have been great, I’ve really enjoyed the beach volleyball, the Greco-Roman wrestling has been interesting and I’ve even watched the archery.

All in all, the last six days have been a really good warm up, but now I’m ready for the real action, which it does on the track in the Bird’s Nest Stadium on Friday morning.

Athletics, for all its problems, remains the heart and soul of the Olympics and the men’s 100 metres is the heart and soul of athletics.

Memories of the voice of former BBC commentator David Coleman calmly, authoritatively and almost whispering: “The Olympic 100 metre final” as the eight men make their final fidgets signal a flashback to that overwhelming excitement of expectation no other sporting event could match.

Being there, two metres from the track, bang on the finish line, is something else.

The race takes less than 10 seconds yet produces millions of printed words, untold hours of TV and years of discussions and arguments.

Over the next 10 days, in front of 91,000 people and hundreds of millions of TV viewers, dozens more great stories of human endeavour will captivate the world as the Olympic motto of “Higher, faster, stronger” is made real.

Thanks to all you bit-part players but it’s time to leave the stage.

Let the real Games begin.


Bit of an exaggeration (as usual…) but there is a new spring in the step of the Games this morning. The giant TV in the MPC has pictures from the Bird’s Nest and with the sun shining it looks very handsome.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Let the ‘real’ Games begin? As if swimming is not a ‘real’ part of the Games?
‘Athletics, for all its problems, remains the heart and soul of the Olympics and the men’s 100 metres is the heart and soul of athletics.’??
This is the same author who claims that the greatest Olympian is a rower?

Just how many more times are you going to insult other sports that you don’t know about and embarrass yourself in front of an international readership of Reuters with your disgusting prejudice, poor logic and serous lack of respect and knowledge of different sports?

This article contains not one word that is slightly informative and is clearly written out of desperation and self-defense. You dislike of Phelps is painfully clear. You entire writing is laughable and distasteful.

Reuters, you have seriously jeopardised your professionalism by allowing a writer like this to publish on your website. It’s pure embarrassment.

Posted by Naomi | Report as abusive

Yup, all the great olympians are trackstars…. apart from when Tarzan won the swim race… Lets face it take any sport out of the Olympics, other than the track events, and it would carry on regardless. Swimming is a simple sport, low risk of injury, straightforward technique learning, labored training regimes, no race contact. Then you add in the swimsuits that get 20+ WRs, all gets a little silly.
Give me a decent track race anytime with all its variations.. as for comparing swimming to 100M / 1500M / 5000M /Marathon / 4×4 etc etc… Get real… its the athletics stupid..

Posted by Roy Webster | Report as abusive

Once again wise words from the venerable Mr Philips.

One stadium, 47 gold medals up for grabs and over 90,000 seats available. Bring it on!

Posted by Roger Barr | Report as abusive

One of the best things about about good blogs is that they stimulate debate and passion… Marvellous.
Living in Australia you can’t help but get caught up in the swimming but the track is where it is at….

Posted by Plung | Report as abusive

oh puh-lee-ze! The women’s 100 metres final this morning was one of the most exciting moments in swimming history (in my humble opinion). When was the last time you saw a swimmer in lane 7 (LANE 7, with the 7th slowest qualifying time) win the race? And when was the last time you saw a swimmer in lane 7 who was half a body behind lane 8 at the turn come from behind like that? Sorry, athletes (when they’re clean) can produce some fantastic moments….but all the doping and medals stricken has really turned me off. I think people will look back at this Olympics as the one where swimming eclipsed athletics — NBC has certainly made that decision: why else would the swimming finals be broadcast in the U.S. prime time and athletics in the U.S. morning?

Posted by Erik Kirschbaum | Report as abusive

Isn’t is about time we had some golf in the Olympics. Now there’s an endurance event – 5 hours solid – that’s 2 and a half marathons!! As for the swimming / athletics debate give me athletics any day. Now I’m no runner but the thought of performing in a pool of other people’s sweat, verucas and dribble is not my idea of fun. No wonder they all swim so fast – I’d be out of there like a shot.

Posted by PDub | Report as abusive

Quite agree. Let me know if there is an empty seat next to you on the finish line.

Posted by Alfie | Report as abusive

Spot on about the golf — let’s see what these swimmers are made of! Five hours in the sun, x four days, will be too much for most of them, I bet.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Yep, Naomi, looks like you were right. Nobody’s going to be talking about the athletics much after that dull old 100 metres final. Anyone for 4×100 medley relay? Track’s Back!


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