Giant on the move
Was the IOC right to criticise Usain Bolt? What is the most dangerous sport at the Games? And what’s the worst horse joke you could possibly imagine?
Tune in to the latest podcast as I’m joined by Julian Linden, Simon Evans, Ossian Shine and Paul Majendie for a figurative stroll around the Olympic green.
Remember the Black Power salutes from the podium in Mexico 1968?
The 2008 Beijing Olympics medal ceremonies might not produce anything to match that, but there has been no shortage of drama so far.
In the full emotional spectrum, we have had:
Anger – Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian stormed off the podium to dump his bronze on the mat in a protest against referees.
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, chided Usain Bolt on Thursday for showing a lack of respect to his rivals after his sprint double at the Beijing Games.
Maybe it’s a generational thing but I doubt if a single person lucky enough to be in the Bird’s Nest on for his 200 metres gold and world record on Wednesday, or when he won his 100 metres in such audacious style, would agree.
It looks tough enough on the surface. Lord knows what is happening under the water. This is a contact sport with a vengeance.
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.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt completed a breathtaking sprint double at the Beijing Games on Wednesday, breaking the 200 metres world record that many had thought unbreakable to take his second Olympic gold medal.
The contrast between this and his winning run in the 100 could hardly have been more marked, as this time he gave it everything he had to go under the old best mark, Michael Johnson’s 19.32, by two hundredths of a second.
It seems like silence has been outlawed at the Beijing Olympics. Every second between every performance is filled with cheesy American rock, or the sort of music reminiscent of the moment the
hero comes to the rescue in a mediocre sub-Spielberg movie.
This is obviously an attempt to create an atmosphere and has been lifted wholesale from American sport. But as someone who has been brought up with the roar of the crowd at Fratton Park (Portsmouth Football Club’s home ground for non-British readers) I have to say it jars.
Tune in to the unfortunately timed day 12 podcast from Beijing, recorded shortly before Usain Bolt’s crack at the 200 metres, to learn about:
The alternative alternative Olympics medals table
The great gold medal con trick
The ping pong bong
Who could resist? It’s eight minutes of nonsense, with an old joke at the end, and features Julian Linden, Belinda Goldsmith, Padraic Halpin, Karolos Grohmann and me.
When super-heavyweight lifter Matthias Steiner won his first Olympic gold medal, he kissed a photo of the woman he had buried in her wedding dress last year.
The hulking German’s tale of love and loss has moved millions of viewers around the world, and the image of Steiner holding up the photo of Susann, who died after a car crash, was splashed across German websites on Wednesday.
For those of us who live in Beijing, the air during the Olympics has been a real treat. It smells sweet and breathes in nicely. Even better, I feel like I can see forever — buildings that are more than a mile away, even the purple outline of the Fragrant Hills to the west of the city.
There were a lot of worries about the Beijing smog expressed by athletes and foreign journalists before the Games began. But for the last week, there has been a lovely salmon tinge to the clouds — real clouds, not smog! — in the evenings.