Changing China

Giant on the move

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Temple of Heaven

China's elderly find life and joy in exercise

By Grace Liang and Lucy Hornby

BEIJING - Gao Mingyuan has found joy at age 66.

Joy, in his case, consists of bending himself double and hooking his legs around a pole that runs behind his shoulders, in a Chinese meditative martial arts tradition.

Gao is one of many Chinese seniors, freed from the rigors of work and raising children, who are turning to martial arts such as tai chi, bopping to trendy beats or singing patriotic songs as they seek health and friends in parks across the country.

"We forget all our troubles when we practice," he said as he contorted himself at the Temple of Heaven, where seniors exercise beneath the gnarled trees at dawn.

China has over 140 million people over the age of 60. Many lost out on an education, thanks to the Cultural Revolution, and have retired early as state-owned factories went bust or to help care for grandchildren.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Maradona and Ronaldinho

Rickey Rogers writes: Pictures of sports idols don’t get much better than this one. Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona kisses the hand of modern-day Brazilian idol Ronaldinho.

The rivalry between their countries, their differences in personality and the arrogance for which Maradona is known all make this fraction of a second one that in the sports world speaks volumes.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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combo shot

Rickey Rogers writes: A combination photograph as Germans Christian Gille and Thomasz Wylenzek crash into a buoy after winning silver in the C2 1000 m final, gets the vote of Picture of the Day.

What seems like good fun as one team member drags another into the water, suddenly appears to be a real-life drama judging by their situation as they are saved by a rescue boat.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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First gold

Russell Boyce writes: A big celebration for a first medal win for Afghanistan gets the picture of the day nomination.

New Delhi based Reuters News Pictures photographer Desmond Boylan captured this special moment as Afghanistan’s Rohullah Nikpai celebrated beating Spain’s Juan Antonio Ramos to win a bronze medal during the men’s -58kg taekwando bronze medal competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Weightlifting grimaces

Russell Boyce writes: The men’s +105kg weightlifting produced grunts and groans, strains and shouts as men lifted weights up to 258kg.

It also produced an amazing series of portraits as these heavyweight giants battled it out for the gold medal, ferocious and hard faced giants every one of them, or at least so it seemed.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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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.

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

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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pic1408

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.

Look away if you’re squeamish

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elbow injury

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!

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Phelps underwater

Gary Hershorn writes: Underwater photography is a tricky thing to get right but Germany-based photographer Wolfgang Rattay has perfected the art of making dramatic images from a most unusual angle.

Today’s photo of Michael Phelps winning his 10th all-time gold medal (the 11th came later) was perfect in its beauty and painting like feel. The image captured Phelps in the lead and on his way to gold.

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