Changing China

Giant on the move

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Snapshot Beijing, 7: Bolt breaks the unbreakable world record

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Bolt breaks the 200 world record

My abiding memory from these Games  will be watching Usain Bolt give everything he had to break a world record most of us had thought unbreakable.

Michael Johnson’s time of 19.32 in the 200 metres had never been seriously challenged before the Jamaican sprinter, a headline writer’s dream, decided it was finally time to get down to some serious work.

Bolt had won the 100 metres, and broken the world record, with ridiculous ease on the Saturday to set the Games alight. He was running so well that he had time to ease up well before the line and still record a commanding win.

Wednesday was different. Again, he had the race won well before the line, thanks to a brilliant bend, but there was no question of him slacking off as he hurtled down the straight. I could see him grimacing with pain as he neared the finish line before looking over to check the time.

Beijing 2008: Were these the best Games ever?

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Fireworks at the closing ceremony

The Beijing Olympic Games closed on Sunday, as China passed on the flame to London.

Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch was in the habit of describing each Games as “the best ever”, with the notable exception of Atlanta in 1996.

Beijing podcast — day 16

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Join us for the 16th and last podcast from the Beijing Olympics. We cast an eye back over the best moments of the Games, discuss Beijing’s world ranking and look ahead to quite a contrast with the next Olympics in London.

Julian Linden, Belinda Goldsmith, Nick Mulvenney and Robert F Woodward join me for the festivities. And Laura, that line at the start is really only a joke… 

Snapshot Beijing, 3: Usain Bolt’s victory in the 100m

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Bolt snapshot

At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. I shall never forget sitting in the front row and watching Ben Johnson hurtling towards the finish line in the 100 metres and then raising his hand aloft in an almost contemptuous “I am Number One” gesture.

Twenty years later, sitting — lucky me — in the front row again, my indelible memory of the Beijing Games will always be that magical last 100 metres when Usain Bolt looked left and right, spread his arms wide and thumped his chest for sheer joy.

Beijing podcast — day 15

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Join us on the penultimate podcast from the Games for a look at Argentina’s win in the football, mixed feelings for Jamaica in the 4x100m relays and the prospect of Pearly Kings and Queens taking over the Bird’s Nest stadium.

Paul Radford, Al Himmer, Robert Woodward, Julian Linden and Paul Majendie join me around the laptop. Sorry about the end-of-term feel.

Three golds, three world records

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Relay goldOK, it’s not Michael Phelps territory, but Usain Bolt clinched his third gold medal and third world record from three events when Jamaica won the 4x100m relay on Friday.

Bolt teamed up with Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell to clock a time of 37.10 seconds and take 0.30 seconds off the 15-year-old record set by the United States at the 1993 world championships.

Beijing podcast — day 14

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Join us for an eight-minute whirl around the Games, taking in baton bungling from the relay favourites, the joys of synchronised swimming and the upcoming closing ceremony. Find out why:

1. The Brits were in a Monty Python training camp

2. Tyson Gay is not a happy man

3. David Beckham may become the first footballer in space

I’m joined by Julian Linden, Simon Evans, Paul Majendie and the debut-making Robert Woodward. Go on, dip a toe in. 

Is this the most fun you can have on two legs?

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Bolt fliesJamaica’s sprinters have pulled off a remarkable trick at the Beijing Games by making running look like the most enjoyable thing you can do standing up.

While speedsters from other nations have looked tense on the track at the Bird’s Nest, Usain Bolt and the women who swept the medals in the 100 metres have clearly been enjoying themselves.

Clean sweep in the sprints — it’s the Jamaica Olympics

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Vampbell-Brown celebrates clean sweep

Congratulations to Jamaica for completing a clean sweep in the men’s and women’s sprints at the Beijing Games on Thursday.

Veronica Campbell-Brown surged to 200 metres victory on Thursday, making it four golds from the four individual events and shutting out the U.S. for the first time since they boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

Relay bad mistakes from United States, Britain

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Gay misses outOn another miserable day for Tyson Gay, the United States failed to make it to the final of the 4×100 metres relay after their latest case of baton bungling.

Britain, the defending Olympic champions, followed them out of the event when a messed up changeover led to their disqualification from a later heat.

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