Changing China

Giant on the move

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Argentina to play Siberia as Batista gets lost in translation

Argentine journalists were startled to learn that their team would be playing a match against Siberia at the Olympic football tournament. At least, that is what the official translation said.

Coach Sergio Batista, speaking ahead of a game against Serbia, looked on it utter bewilderment as one interpreter attempted to translate his answers from Spanish into Chinese and another then tried to translate the Chinese version of his answer into English.

Unsurprisingly, the final version invariably bore no relation whatsoever to the original, rending the whole exercise a waste of time.

The procedure went like this:

Argentine journalist asks question. Batista answers. The first interpreter translates the question from Spanish into Chinese. The second translates  from Chinese into English. Then the first interpreter translates the answer from Spanish to Chinese. Then the second translates from Chinese into English.

Beijing podcast — day four

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.

Phelps three in three, joins Olympic elite

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PhelpsThere was never any doubt about this one. Michael Phelps won the 200m freestyle, secured his third gold medal of these Games — his third world record, too — and become only the fifth athlete to win nine gold medals at the Summer Olympics.

He joins fellow Americans Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis, Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina at the top of the all-time list of gold medal winners.

Day three at the Olympics

It’s a case of two down, six to go for Michael Phelps after the American swimmer got by with a little help from his friends in the 4x100m freestyle on Monday.

Watching Jason Lezak come from half a length behind on the final leg to seal victory for the U.S. was astonishing, as he kept Phelps in with a shout of his record-breaking haul of eight golds. That was a truly memorable Olympic moment.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Michael Phelps

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.

Beijing podcast — day three

I’m joined today by Mitch Phillips, Julian Linden and Padraic Halpin for a chat about Michael Phelps and the rest of the action on a fantastic morning in Beijing. Please forgive the long and winding intro…

Click here for day two’s podcast.

Souvenir problem licked for Beijing athletes

Athletes at this year’s Olympics are being offered the ultimate souvenir — personalised Beijing 2008 postage stamps with their own faces on them.

The stamps are guaranteed to bring a smile to relatives’ faces back home, although you’ll need six of them for a foreign-bound postcard. Post office employees in the athletes’ village say coaches and officials are snapping them up as fast as a 100m sprinter.

A Ronaldinho revival? Don’t speak too soon

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Ronaldinho scoresRonaldinho’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.

My bruising experience training for Beijing

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gelu.jpgWhen 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.

India, Britain end long waits for Olympic gold

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Adlington, JacksonIn 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.

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