Changing China

Giant on the move

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A stroll in the sun for Usain Bolt (Updated)

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Bolt amblesUntil today I would not have thought it possible that somebody could amble 100 metres in 9.92 seconds but that is what Usain Bolt did in his second heat of the event on the first day of athletics action in the Bird’s Nest.

The gods had been kind and produced a clear-skied day hot day with minimum breeze and Bolt enjoyed his time in the sun.

He started off running 10.2 in the opening heat and never appeared to reach full speed, was easing down from about 70 metres yet clocked a time that would have won the gold medal in the Moscow Olympics 28 years ago.

He returned in the evening for a another leisurely stroll around the Bird’s Nest to make it clear that his world record of 9.72 is extremely vulnerable.

Are we taking things too far in this pursuit of excellence?

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Synchronised divingCitius, Altius, Fortius or Faster, Higher, Stronger goes the Olympic motto, but is world sport pushing things a bit too hard?

I’m talking about the way young children are chosen at an early age and groomed for success, often at the expense of their childhood and their education.

Beijing podcast — day seven

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In which Julian Linden, Martin Petty, Ossian Shine and myself combine to discuss Harry Potter, Rocky and Mary Poppins, as well as all the sport you could shake a stick at.

This one’s short and sweet so go ahead and give it a click. What else have you got to do for the next seven minutes?

The Olympics? But I could be watching Stoke City…

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Bolt on trackI had always thought the height of sporting ecstasy was watching my beloved Stoke City score a goal.

Now I’m at the Olympics in Beijing, well, I think I still do… but I must admit this life-long credo is coming under severe strain.

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.

Instant expert: the men’s 100m

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The athletics is underway, at last, and the three favourites Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay all came safely through their heats this morning.

This is the race everyone will be talking to in the build-up to Saturday’s final so we thought we’d give you the chance to sound like an expert without have to leaf through the record books.

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.

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