Changing China

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Phelps out on his own with eighth gold medal — your views

Michael Phelps completed his record-breaking haul of eight gold medals at one Games on Sunday, beating fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz’s seven from Munich in 1972.

This one was never in much doubt — in stark contrast to the ‘fingernail’ win in yesterday’s butterfly — as he and his American team won the 4 x 100 metres medley relay comfortably. It took his overall tally to 14 from two Games.

He was already the athlete with most Olympic gold medals; now he has overtaken Spitz’s record too.

Not everyone may regard him as the greatest Olympian ever, but this was surely the greatest single feat at one Games.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

Bolt wins the men’s 100 metres

Picture of the day has to be the victory celebration of the fastest man on earth, Jamaican Usain Bolt, after winning Olympic gold at the 100 m sprint.

This picture was shot by London-based Reuters staff photographer Dylan Martinez and the composition is perfect.

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).

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.

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.

A stroll in the sun for Usain Bolt (Updated)

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Bolt amblesUntil today I would not have thought it possible that somebody could amble 100 metres in 9.92 seconds but that is what Usain Bolt did in his second heat of the event on the first day of athletics action in the Bird’s Nest.

The gods had been kind and produced a clear-skied day hot day with minimum breeze and Bolt enjoyed his time in the sun.

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