Changing China

Giant on the move

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World Games bring spotlight to southern Taiwan

2008 was undoubtedly China's year in the limelight, thanks to the Beijing Olympics. But this year, China's longtime political and diplomatic rival Taiwan gets the World Games

And it's not Taiwan's frenetic, fashionable capital Taipei which will be hosting the event. Instead, the island's second largest city and one of the world's busiest ports, Kaohsiung, will be home to the 16-26 July extravaganza.

The shadow of a passer-by is cast on a poster of the 2009 World Games in KaohsiungThe World Games, held under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee, is for some of the sports which don't make the cut for the Olympics. That includes billiards, tug of war, sumo, squash, water skiing and even life saving.

"For the spectators, at the venues as well as in front of TV sets, the particular fascinations of The World Games are found in watching these athletes compete in sports of a kaleidoscopic variety that is without match in the entire Olympic Movement," is how the organisation describes the event.

Beijing podcast — day 13


Was the IOC right to criticise Usain Bolt? What is the most dangerous sport at the Games? And what’s the worst horse joke you could possibly imagine?

Tune in to the latest podcast as I’m joined by Julian Linden, Simon Evans, Ossian Shine and Paul Majendie for a figurative stroll around the Olympic green. 

Criticism of Bolt is hard to fathom


Bolt celebrates

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, chided Usain Bolt on Thursday for showing a lack of respect to his rivals after his sprint double at the Beijing Games.

Maybe it’s a generational thing but I doubt if a single person lucky enough to be in the Bird’s Nest on for his 200 metres gold and world record on Wednesday, or when he won his 100 metres in such audacious style, would agree.

Greek sprinter Thanou barred from Games


Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou has been barred from competing at the Beijing Olympics over her involvement in the doping scandal that overshadowed the Athens Games.

Thanou came back from her two-year ban to qualify for these Games but she still needed permission from the IOC to compete and that has been emphatically denied.

Alex the Great


The IOC has just launched “The Best of Us” campaign to promote the main Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. I won’t bore you with the details of the campaign, suffice to say it is without doubt worthy. The best part of it, for my part, is the Alex Puskitas video. It is lovely! Who said the IOC hasn’t a sense of humour (OK they may not have come up with the concept, but they did sanction it!).

The background is: Alex Puskitas is a fictional, underdog athlete that incorporates all we want to express with the “Best of Us” campaign. He is capable of overcoming the odds and ‘bringing out his best’ in order to achieve his goals. He symbolizes the spirit of the athlete – the participation and striving to be your best.  Take a look..