Changing China

Giant on the move

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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.

Phelps is targeting eight golds in Beijing and who would now bet against him?

Continuing the theme of Phelps becoming an independent sovereign nation (see yesterday’s post) this latest success would be enough to put him level in the medals table with South Korea and Italy (if you include the relays) and behind only China, the U.S. and Germany.

Not bad for one man and his goggles.

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.

Chinese condom makers get sporty for the Olympics

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condom2.jpgSex and sport at the Olympics. It’s an irresistible mix — and one which Chinese condom makers don’t want to miss. Chinese company Elasun has come up with a series of Olympic condom advertisements which have gone viral online.      

 condoms1.jpgOrganisers of the Beijing Games are providing 100,000 condoms for athletes at the Olympics as we reported on Tuesday.                    

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.

Look away if you’re squeamish

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If you’re in any way squeamish, look away before you’ve spotted what is wrong!

Russell Boyce writes: Officials gather round a young man who has a distressed look in his face. Parental looking figures try to help. What is the matter, the mind asks? The eye is drawn from the distressed face to the hand that is being held … no, that looks OK. Then the eye is led along to the elbow. Oh no … elbows shouldn’t bend that way!

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.

Hop on the Olympics-mobile

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pinheadOne of the more entertaining things about these Olympics for me has been seeing Chinese people of all ages and backgrounds find their own ways of expressing enthusiasm for the Games.

Some have bordered on the bizarre.

One man stuck a couple of hundred mini flagpoles in his head to show his support. Another guy I saw walked down the sidewalk in front of the Bird’s Nest, in a red dress and high heels, with a crown crafted out of palm leaves on his head and a big Chinese flag draped over each shoulder (wish I’d had a camera with me!).

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