Changing China

Giant on the move

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Are we taking things too far in this pursuit of excellence?

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Synchronised divingCitius, Altius, Fortius or Faster, Higher, Stronger goes the Olympic motto, but is world sport pushing things a bit too hard?

I’m talking about the way young children are chosen at an early age and groomed for success, often at the expense of their childhood and their education.

In the West, it is often parents who drive their children to achieve what they could not, and there are plenty of burnout stories in sports like tennis to prove the point.

In China, it is the state which selects children at a young age in its relentless pursuit of Olympic success.

Beijing podcast — day seven

In which Julian Linden, Martin Petty, Ossian Shine and myself combine to discuss Harry Potter, Rocky and Mary Poppins, as well as all the sport you could shake a stick at.

This one’s short and sweet so go ahead and give it a click. What else have you got to do for the next seven minutes?

The Olympics? But I could be watching Stoke City…

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Bolt on trackI had always thought the height of sporting ecstasy was watching my beloved Stoke City score a goal.

Now I’m at the Olympics in Beijing, well, I think I still do… but I must admit this life-long credo is coming under severe strain.

Michael Phelps: the joy of six

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Phelps joy

Six races, six world records and six gold medals: there really is no stopping Michael Phelps at these Games.

The man from Baltimore finished over a second ahead of his closest rival, Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, in the men’s 200 metres individual medley on Friday to close to within one of Mark Spitz’s record of seven golds at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Ryan Lochte, pictured above, was third.

Day six at the Games: Roger Federer’s miserable year

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FedererRoger Federer came to Beijing hoping for a singles gold medal to ease the pain of losing the last two major finals and his number one ranking to Rafa Nadal.

Tennis at the Olympics may rank far below the Grand Slams but considering he has not won one of those this year a gold medal would still have served very nicely, thanks very much.

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

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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.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Gary Hershorn writes: Photographers at the Olympics are always waiting for the cliché medals ceremony images, those being a bite or kiss of the medal.

As corny as they may be, once in awhile the framing all comes together and actually produces a nice photo that newspapers love to publish. Alain Bernard kissing his gold medal after winning the men’s 100 meters freestyle final was one such photo.

The school of hard knocks

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YanezLuis Yanez, a pocket-sized 19-year-old from Duncanville, Texas, wipes his sore nose with his bandaged hand and catches his breath, showing off a string of broken down teeth.

Grandly nicknamed the Latin Legend, he has been working at a Mexican restaurant in the Dallas area since the age of 13.

Story of the day: Blind archer targets fuzzy yellow, gold

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Legally blind archer

Peter Rutherford had an interview today with South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun, who has already won one gold medal at these Games and is favourite for the individual title despite being legally blind.

Im’s eyesight is listed at 20/200 by the Korea Archery Federation, which basically means he can see at 20 feet what a person with perfect vision can see at 200 feet.

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.

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