Changing China

Giant on the move

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An Olympic waiting game

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Pool in the villageThe last weeks before the Olympics may be the most difficult for the athletes. The work is done and there’s nothing else to do but wait, rest, watch grass grow and let the pressure build. It’s a time which tests athletes’ mental strength and discipline.

In the last week before my first Olympic race, I tried very hard to escape the Games.

Practices were short and light and didn’t do much to drain my energy. So I looked elsewhere. I went to the movies, mostly on my own, and hung out with friends who promised not to mention running. Time crawled and race day just wouldn’t get any closer. I suspected I was going crazy because I kept looking up in the sky, expecting a roof tile to fall on my head and end my Olympic hopes.

The anticipation drains the soul. It’s no accident Britain’s athletics team headed to Macau nearly two weeks before the athletics programme started in Beijing. They won’t be doing great deal of training there but being away from home and being together in a camp gives a sense that something has already begun.

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Bolt sits, arms stretched, in front of the Bird’s Nest

Russell Boyce writes: Great contacts and hard work led to Reuters News Pictures photographer Hans Deryk getting exclusive pictures of Usain Bolt, the 100m world record holder at the National Stadium.

The simple picture of Bolt posing with the specially made gold running shoes that he will wear when he aims for Olympic gold are a perfect blend of a sports news value with timing and place. After all, how much better could it get: the fastest man, being seen for the first time at the venue with is new running shoes.

Isinbayeva gold: the safest bet at the Games?

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Isinbayeva celebrates another world recordThe great thing about sport is that the next great upset is never far away.

Some gold medals at the Games look a lot easier to predict than others, though, and if I had to put my pay cheque on one athlete to win in Beijing I would go for Yelena Isinbayeva, the remarkable Russian pole vaulter who can’t stop breaking records.

Isinbayeva cleared 5.04 metres in Monaco on Tuesday to record her 13th outdoor world record and 23rd overall.

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