Changing China

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Does it matter if TV firework ‘footprints’ were a fix?

Organisers created a bit of a storm this morning when they revealed that parts of the spectacular firework display at the opening ceremony had been pre-recorded.

See this from Karolos Grohmann’s story on Reuters:

“Some footage had been produced before the opening ceremony to provide theatrical effect,” Beijing Games Executive Vice President Wang Wei told reporters.

Among the sections that were pre-produced were parts of a stunning fireworks display across the city, a series of fireworks “footprints” that led to the Bird’s Nest stadium where the four-hour extravaganza was staged.

A night-time aerial shot traced the consecutive explosions on the ground as they approached the stadium. “There were footprints of fireworks,” Wang said. “Some of them were genuinely produced. Some maybe were used from previously recorded material.”

Beijing podcast — day four

Is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian of all time? If so, shouldn’t he have a decent nickname by now? And what exactly is this “pantheon” everyone’s talking about?

I’m joined by Julian Linden, Mitch Phillips and Simon Evans for some more knockabout fun on our short but sweet podcast from Beijing. Please check it out and feel free to let us know what you think in the comments. We could use the feedback, frankly.

Phelps three in three, joins Olympic elite

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PhelpsThere was never any doubt about this one. Michael Phelps won the 200m freestyle, secured his third gold medal of these Games — his third world record, too — and become only the fifth athlete to win nine gold medals at the Summer Olympics.

He joins fellow Americans Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis, Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina at the top of the all-time list of gold medal winners.

Day three at the Olympics

It’s a case of two down, six to go for Michael Phelps after the American swimmer got by with a little help from his friends in the 4x100m freestyle on Monday.

Watching Jason Lezak come from half a length behind on the final leg to seal victory for the U.S. was astonishing, as he kept Phelps in with a shout of his record-breaking haul of eight golds. That was a truly memorable Olympic moment.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Michael Phelps

Gary Hershorn writes: With Michael Phelps being arguably the biggest story of the Olympics his celebration jumped off the screen after the U.S won an amazingly close race by a fraction of a second over France.

The US had been losing throughout but pulled off victory in the last inch of the race. Phelps’s bid for eight gold medals was saved and his celebration looked completely real.

Beijing podcast — day three

I’m joined today by Mitch Phillips, Julian Linden and Padraic Halpin for a chat about Michael Phelps and the rest of the action on a fantastic morning in Beijing. Please forgive the long and winding intro…

Click here for day two’s podcast.

India, Britain end long waits for Olympic gold

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Adlington, JacksonIn all the excitement over Michael Phelps and his bid for eight golds it’d be easy to overlook a few other extraordinary achievements at the Games today.

Amid the gold rush at the Water Cube, Rebecca Adlington won Britain’s first Olympic women’s swimming title in nearly half a century with a victory in the 400 metres freestyle that was every bit as exciting as the American relay win that kept Phelps’s hopes of eight golds alive.

Phelps takes second gold — record still on

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Phelps celebratesIt was a mighty close thing, but Michael Phelps is still on for a record-breaking haul at the Beijing Olympics.

In the words of my colleague Julian Linden, Phelps dodged a bullet at the Water Cube early on Monday, as he had his American team mates Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak combined to smash the 4×100 metres freestyle relay record after a ferocious battle with France.

Day two at the Olympics

Michael Phelps smashed his own world record in the 400m individual medley to set off on what could be a record-breaking gold medal trail on day two of real action at the 2008 Olympics.

That was early in the morning and it took until late at night before we had a story that even came close to matching it, with the United States overcoming a slightly unconvincing start to beat China by an emphatic 101-70.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Fencing

Rickey Rogers writes: Alessandro Bianchi created this wonderful image as he searched for a new angle from which to photograph the second day of the fencing competition.

Sports like fencing, boxing and judo are very repetitive for a photographer, and it takes a curious eye to find new angles. The picture is aesthetically pleasing with enough movement to give the reader an idea of what the sport is about, and its multi-layered composition invokes mystery.

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