Changing China

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Day two at the Olympics

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Michael Phelps smashed his own world record in the 400m individual medley to set off on what could be a record-breaking gold medal trail on day two of real action at the 2008 Olympics.

That was early in the morning and it took until late at night before we had a story that even came close to matching it, with the United States overcoming a slightly unconvincing start to beat China by an emphatic 101-70.

Along the way we had Stephanie Rice, one half of Australian swimming’s glam couple, matching Phelps with a world record and a gold medal in the women’s 400m individual medley.

They were fantastic tales, and there were many others, but I think my favourite today came in the shooting, where despite the ongoing strife between their two countries, Georgian Nino Salukvadze hugged Russian rival Natalia Paderina after they took bronze and silver respectively in the 10-metre air pistol.

U.S. rout China — but just wait another 117 years

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Bryant slam dunks

The Olympic basketball match between China and the United States just ended with the U.S. pulling away to win 101-70 in what they say was the most-watched event sporting event in China’s history.

It’ll be no surprise if the estimates are right and a billion or so people around the world were tuned in to watch what was after all an irresistible contest – a meeting between the “Reds” and the “Red-White-and-Blues” and one laden with symbols. 

Beijing Games: picture of the day

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Yao Ming holds the Olympic torch aloft

Chinese basketball player Yao Ming (C) holds the Olympic torch during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games torch relay in Beijing August 6, 2008. REUTERS/Joe Chan (CHINA)

Russell Boyce writes: Yao Ming enters Tiananmen Square holding the Olympic torch high in the air in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao. The calm in the faces of Yao and Mao belies the chaos that surrounds them, as the flame escorts push back the assembled media and a crush of spectators.

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