Changing China

Giant on the move

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Look away if you’re squeamish

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elbow injury

If you’re in any way squeamish, look away before you’ve spotted what is wrong!

Russell Boyce writes: Officials gather round a young man who has a distressed look in his face. Parental looking figures try to help. What is the matter, the mind asks? The eye is drawn from the distressed face to the hand that is being held … no, that looks OK. Then the eye is led along to the elbow. Oh no … elbows shouldn’t bend that way!

PHOTO: Officials attend to Janos Baranyai of Hungary after he injured himself during the men’s 77kg Group B snatch weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 13, 2008. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Russell Boyce is Reuters chief photographer, Asia. For a selection of other great Reuters pix from the Games click here. For yesterday’s picture of the day click here.

The bin-scavenging Olympics

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food courtListening to journalists bellyache about how tough life is at the Games gets old pretty quickly, but there is one genuinely frustrating aspect of the Beijing media beat — finding something to eat.

The Main Press Centre has a cavernous dining area with food from around the world but reporters out at the venues are typing to the sound of rumbling stomachs — with nothing more than a few nuts and berries available anywhere near the stadiums.

If Michael Phelps were to declare independence

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This is a long shot, I know, but if Michael Phelps suddenly decided to break away from the United States and declare himself a sovereign nation, he’d currently be joint-fourth in the medals table at the Olympics — level with the U.S.

A glance to the right of this blog will show China leading with 20 golds and the U.S. second on 10. Phelps has won, or helped win five of those and with three more in his sights over the last few days of the swimming he could take his personal tally to eight.

Day five at the Olympics

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Michael Phelps cast a shadow over the Games once again on Wednesday as the man from Baltimore won two more gold medals, and set two more world records, to take his Beijing tally to five and make it 11 gold medals in his career.

What an athlete this man is. He is renowned as a cool customer, but we noted today that he did not entirely reject the idea that he is the world’s greatest Olympian. That’s a big debate, and one we’ve joined in lustily here at View from the Bird’s Nest, but no one would deny that he’s one of the greatest Olympians and I’m sure he’s about to put a lot more fuel on the fire when he goes for the remaining three golds open to him.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Phelps underwater

Gary Hershorn writes: Underwater photography is a tricky thing to get right but Germany-based photographer Wolfgang Rattay has perfected the art of making dramatic images from a most unusual angle.

Today’s photo of Michael Phelps winning his 10th all-time gold medal (the 11th came later) was perfect in its beauty and painting like feel. The image captured Phelps in the lead and on his way to gold.

Beijing podcast — day five

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Where do athletes go after they’ve outgrown the pantheon?

Just who is the Marine Biologist from Baltimore?

And who was responsible for a piece of writing variously described as the worst piece of publishing ever, the worst article ever written and being based on a stupid premise?

Click play on the podcast above to find out the answers to all these questions and more, as I’m joined by Mitch Phillips, Padraic Halpin, Simon Evans and the world’s loudest Australian, Julian Linden.

Olympics has an Audrey Hepburn moment

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Rings in the ceremonyFirst it was the fireworks (see below). Now it turns out the opening ceremony to the Beijing Games had its very own Audrey Hepburn moment.

Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke, who was celebrated across China as the angelic voice with the adorable face who sang “Ode to the Motherland” at Friday’s ceremony, was merely a photogenic stand-in for the real singer, who was rejected because of her appearance.

Phantastic Mr Phelps (x2)

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Phelps rubs his eyes

Michael Phelps made light of goggle trouble to claim his fourth gold medal of the Games and then helped his American team win the 4 x 100 m freestyle and make it five wins from five, in fact five world records from five, at these Games.

He now has 11 Olympic gold medals, which puts clear blue water between him and four athletes who have won nine.

Day four at the Olympics

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Michael Phelps made the headlines once again – most of them including the word “pantheon” — as he made it three gold medals and three world records from three finals so far.

The American now has nine career Olympic gold medals to his name and will almost certainly break the record he now shares with four other athletes when he swims in two finals tomorrow.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Natalie Coughlin

Gold medallist Natalie Coughlin (C) of the U.S. wipes away tears as she stands with silver medallist Kirsty Coventry (L) of Zimbabwe and bronze medallist Margaret Hoelzer (R) of the U.S. during the medal ceremony for the women’s 100 meters backstroke swimming final during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 12, 2008. REUTERS/David Gray

Gary Hershorn writes: Emotions run high at the Olympics so it is always nice to see an athlete let loose and cry upon winning or receiving their gold medal. U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin cried on the victory podium and then again on the pool deck as she stood in front of photographers completely unable to contain her emotions. This never fails to produce a strong emotional photo.

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