Giant on the move
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.
But there I was, not 10 metres from President George W. Bush, his father, former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger covering the blockbuster United States v China Olympic men’s basketball game.
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.
Ronaldinho’s two-goal performance against New Zealand in Sunday’s Olympic Games has already been hailed as some sort of revival after his miserable last season with Barcelona.
The former World Player of the Year showed flashes of his best form in the 5-0 win with plenty of cheeky flicks, shimmies and stepovers. And, of course, he grinned.
When I joined a fencing club in June, I just wanted to learn about a sport I would cover for the
first time at the Beijing Games. Then a grandmother thrashed me in my first bout, bruising more than just my ego.
I used to fool around with a plastic sword as a kid, pretending I was d’Artagnan, so I figured I was well primed for a promising amateur career in this low-profile sport.
In 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.
Beijing weather was one of the biggest stories in the run-up to the Games, and rightly so judging by the struggles of the cyclists in the men’s road race on Saturday. More than a third of contestants dropped out of the race, including one of the favourites Stefan Schumacher, who complained of a “very, very strong headache” he blamed on the pollution.
It got me wondering — why are the Games being held in August, just about the muggiest and smoggiest time of the year in the Chinese capital? What is wrong with September, or April come to that? It would not only have been cooler, but skies in Beijing are clearer too.
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.
China might once have been known as the ‘bicycle kingdom’, but if the scene along the women’s road race today is anything to go by, I wouldn’t hold my breath that the Olympics will inspire many Chinese people to become fans of competitive cycling.
A sizeable crowd gathered along an intersection near the historic Lama Temple in the centre of town to watch the racers go by this afternoon — some spectators who came specifically for the event, others passersby who were forced by the roadblock to wait and watch, many of them on bicycles themselves.