Changing China

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Bolt takes sprinting to a whole new level

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Bolt with the flagUsain Bolt’s 100m triumph at the Bird’s Nest will surely be one of those sporting moments that stay in the collective memory for decades.

As anyone who was there, or who saw the TV pictures, will attest, Bolt could have put in an even quicker time than his new world record of 9.69 seconds, had he not started celebrating with 20 metres to go (it’s down to yam power, according to his family).

Yet it was his supreme confidence, bordering on arrogance, in milking the moment that made it such a memorable run.

Arms outstretched, face turned to the crowd, with 10 metres to go, Bolt knew that no-one was going to catch him and he could take a good look around as he made history. He carried on sprinting way past the finish line and the first quarter of his victory lap was almost a taster of what is to come when he runs in 200 metres.

Usain Bolt wins 100 metres — your views

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Bolt wins 100 metres gold medal

Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the Olympic 100 metres on Saturday, shattering the world record in the process with a time of 9.69 seconds.

Bolt thumped his chest in celebration as he crossed the line, after leaving Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago (silver) and American Walter Dix (bronze) trailing at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Beijing podcast — day eight

How exactly did Michael Phelps manage to win that race this morning?

What is the plunge for distance competition?

And how could we make archery a bit more exciting?

I’m joined by Julian Linden and Ossian Shine on our latest podcast from Beijing. Seven minutes is all it takes. Go on … you know you want to.

Olympic luck – it’s a numbers game

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radcliffeEight could be Michael Phelps’s lucky number if he can trump Mark Spitz’s Olympic haul of of seven golds at the 100m medley relay in Beijing on Sunday.

If so, he would have something in common with many host team athletes, who are big on the number 8 because in Chinese it sounds like a word for prosperity (fa). That’s why the Olympic Games opened on the 8th day of the 8th month at 8pm.

Shooting for a good story

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shooting starsWhile talking with Matt Emmons in the “mixed zone” after he won a silver medal on Saturday, I suddenly noticed the American sharpshooter had brought his rifle with him.

Resting casually on his left foot, it was pointed up at the ceiling, presumably empty of the ammunition he used to hit a thumbnail-sized bullseye 50 metres away nine of 10 times, but still, it was a reminder of how much I hate the things.

How do you feel, George? Well, it was a speech of two halves…

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Bush pitchesJournalists don’t generally address politicians by their first name, they tend to ask them searching questions and it’s rare to see them fawning. Not so, sports reporters.

For the vacuous, how about this, heard in the handball mixed zone at the Beijing Games: “Congratulations, Anita. Fantastic match. How did you feel in the last 10 minutes?”

Heroic Phelps equals Spitz record (Update x2)

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Phelps record

Michael Phelps joined Mark Spitz at the highest peak of Olympic achievement on Saturday when his final, desperate lunge for the board brought him victory in the 100m butterfly by the thinnest possible margin and gave him his seventh gold medal at these Games — after an official protest from Serbia was rejected.

Milorad Cavic of Serbia appeared to have the gold tied up until Phelps’s perfect timing saw him home by one hundredth of a second. That is as precise as the timekeeping goes but if anything it looked less than that and shortly after the race Serbia protested the result.

Day seven at the Games: Fabulous Phelps keeps focus on the pool

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Phelps divesMichael Phelps made it six golds in six races to edge closer to the record of Mark Spitz, while the three fastest men in the world whetted the appetites of 90,000 fans at the Bird’s Nest as swimming and athletics vied for attention on Friday.

Phelps was untroubled in the men’s 200 metres individual medley, moving to within one win of Spitz’s record from the 1972 Games.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Judo1

We actually have two pictures of the day for Friday, on a similar theme. These two shots are truly inspirational… The Games aren’t just about perfectly toned bodies, after all!

TOP: Andreas Tolzer of Germany (L) fights Janusz Wojnarowicz of Poland during their men’s +100kg repechage judo match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Charles in charge: speed, momentum and centrifugal force

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Charles in charge at the velodromeI’ve never met Matt Lauer from NBC but I was assured this week that I kicked his ass.

That was the consensus of several USA Cycling experts when I finally rolled off the Olympic velodrome after a gut-wrenching but exhilarating ride.

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