Tag Archives: Beijing Olympics 2008

BEIJING OLYMPIC PICTURES

A view of the festivities in Beijing National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest, during the Closing Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.

(L-R) Brenton Rickard of Australia, Alexander Dale Oen of Norway and Kosuke Kitajima of Japan compete in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke Final held at the National Aquatics Center on Day 3 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 11, 2008 in Beijing, China. Kosuke Kitajima of Japan finished the race in first place in a time of 58.91 to win the gold medal and set a new World Record.

Beijing, China – Fireworks outside Olympic Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest. The Beijing sky was filled with fireworks, 11,456 of them on the top of the stadium itself and 8,428 around the city. The XXIX Olympic Games began in truly spectacular style.

Michael Phelps of the United States celebrates victory in the Men’s 100m Butterfly Final held at the National Aquatics Centre during Day 8 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 16, 2008 in Beijing, China. By winning gold in the Men’s 100m Butterfly, Phelps tied Mark Spitz’s record of winning seven gold medals in a single Olympic Games.

Competitors take part in the cycling portion of the Men’s Triathlon Final at the Triathlon Venue on Day 11 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 19, 2008 in Beijing, China.

Mixed legacy likely as China’s Olympics conclude

With help from British star power, China concluded its debut as Olympic host Sunday after 16 days of near-flawless logistics and superlative athletic achievement – coexisting awkwardly with the government’s wariness of dissent and free speech.

 

A spectacular closing ceremony opened with torrents of fireworks and included a pulsating show-within-a-show by London, host of the 2012 Games. From a stage formed from a red double-decker bus, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page played classic rock hit “Whole Lotta Love” and soccer icon David Beckham booted a ball into the surrounding throng of athletes on the stadium floor.

Then more lyrical music returned, and the Olympic flame atop the stadium was extinguished.

To a large extent, China, an emergent superpower, got what it had craved from these long-sought games: a dominant effort by its athletes to top the gold-medal standings for the first time and almost glitch-free organizing that showcased world-class venues and cheerful volunteers to the largest-ever peaceful influx of foreign visitors.

As a bonus, not just one but two athletes gave arguably the greatest performances in Olympic history – Michael Phelps with his eight gold medals in swimming, Jamaica’s ebullient Usain Bolt with three golds and three world records in the sprints.

The International Olympic Committee, whose selection of Beijing as host back in 2001 was widely questioned, insisted its choice had been vindicated.

“Tonight, we come to the end of 16 glorious days which we will cherish forever,” IOC President Jacques Rogge told the capacity crowd of 91,000 at the National Outdoor Stadium, and a global TV audience. “Through these Games, the world learned more about China, and China learned more about the world.”

“These were truly exceptional games,” he said, before declaring them formally closed.

The head of the Beijing organzing committee, Liu Qi, said the games were “testimony to the fact that the world has rested its trust in China.” He called them “a grand celebration of sport, of peace and friendship.”

Rogge and the IOC were criticized by human rights groups for their reluctance to publicly challenge the Chinese as various controversies arose over press freedom and detention of dissidents. Athletes shied away from making political statements, and “protest zones” established in Beijing went unused as the authorities refused to issue permits for them.

But the atmosphere was festive at the stadium as fireworks burst from its top rim – and from locations across Beijing – to begin the closing ceremony.

After an army band played the Chinese national anthem, hundreds of gayly dressed dancers, acrobats and drummers swirled onto the field, then made room for the athletes, strolling in casually and exuberantly from four different entrances.

China invested more than $40 billion in the games, which it viewed as a chance to show the world its dramatic economic progress. Olympic telecasts achieved record ratings in China and the United States, and the games’ presence online was by far the most extensive ever.

Rogge said these Olympics would leave a lasting, positive legacy for China – improved transportation infrastructure, more grass-roots interest in recreational sports, a more aggressive approach to curbing air pollution and other environmental problems. Smog that enveloped the city early in the games gave way to mostly clear skies, easing fears that some endurance events might be hazardous for the athletes.

American rower Jennifer Kaido of West Leyden, N.Y., said the games exceeded her expectations.

“We were prepared for smog, pollution, demonstrations, but everything has gone very smoothly,” she said.

Rogge acknowledged that China, despite promises of press freedom during the games, continued to block access to numerous politically oriented Web sites, including those related to Tibet and the outlawed spiritual movement Falun Gong.

However, he contended that media restrictions were looser during the Olympics than beforehand, “and so we believe the games had a good influence.”

Human rights groups disagreed.

“The reality is that the Chinese government’s hosting of the games has been a catalyst for abuses, leading to massive forced evictions, a surge in the arrest, detention and harassment of critics, repeated violations of media freedom, and increased political repression,” said Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch. “Not a single world leader who attended the games or members of the IOC seized the opportunity to challenge the Chinese government’s behavior in any meaningful way.”

Led by Phelps and Bolt, athletes broke 43 world records and 132 Olympic records during the games. Yet Rogge, who visited every venue, said the most touching moment for him came after the 10-meter air pistol event, when gold medalist Nino Salukvadze of Georgia embraced runner-up Natalia Paderina of Russia even as their two countries’ armies fought back in Georgia.

“That kind of sportsmanship is really remarkable.

Medal Count Beijing Olympic 2008

Overall Medal Count……


Country
Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States 35 37 36 108
China 50 20 28 98
Russia 22 21 28 71
Britain 19 13 15 47
Australia 14 15 17 46
Germany 16 10 15 41
France 6 15 17 38
South Korea 13 10 8 31
Italy 7 10 10 27
Ukraine 7 5 15 27
Japan 9 6 10 25
Cuba 2 9 11 22
Belarus 4 5 10 19
Canada 3 9 6 18
Netherlands 7 5 4 16
Spain 5 9 2 16
Brazil 3 4 8 15
Kenya 5 5 4 14
Kazakhstan 1 4 7 12
Jamaica 6 3 2 11
Poland 3 6 1 10
Norway 3 5 2 10
New Zealand 3 1 5 9
Hungary 2 5 2 9
Romania 4 1 3 8
Turkey 1 4 3 8
Ethiopia 4 1 2 7
Denmark 2 2 3 7
Azerbaijan 1 2 4 7
Czech Republic 3 3 0 6
Slovakia 3 2 1 6
Georgia 3 0 3 6
North Korea 2 1 3 6
Argentina 2 0 4 6
Switzerland 2 0 4 6
Uzbekistan 1 2 3 6
Armenia 0 0 6 6
Slovenia 1 2 2 5
Bulgaria 1 1 3 5
Indonesia 1 1 3 5
Sweden 0 4 1 5
Croatia 0 2 3 5
Lithuania 0 2 3 5
Thailand 2 2 0 4
Zimbabwe 1 3 0 4
Finland 1 1 2 4
Greece 0 2 2 4
Nigeria 0 1 3 4
Taiwan 0 0 4 4
Mexico 2 0 1 3
Mongolia 1 2 0 3
Latvia 1 1 1 3
India 1 0 2 3
Austria 0 1 2 3
Belgium 1 1 0 2
Dominican Republic 1 1 0 2
Estonia 1 1 0 2
Portugal 1 1 0 2
I.R.Iran 1 0 1 2
Trinidad & Tobago 0 2 0 2
Algeria 0 1 1 2
Bahamas 0 1 1 2
Colombia 0 1 1 2
Kyrgyzstan 0 1 1 2
Morocco 0 1 1 2
Serbia 0 1 1 2
Tajikistan 0 1 1 2
Ireland 0 0 2 2
Bahrain 1 0 0 1
Cameroon 1 0 0 1
Panama 1 0 0 1
Tunisia 1 0 0 1
Chile 0 1 0 1
Ecuador 0 1 0 1
Malaysia 0 1 0 1
Netherlands Antilles 0 1 0 1
Singapore 0 1 0 1
South Africa 0 1 0 1
Sudan 0 1 0 1
Vietnam 0 1 0 1
Afghanistan 0 0 1 1
Egypt 0 0 1 1
Israel 0 0 1 1
Mauritius 0 0 1 1
Moldova 0 0 1 1
Togo 0 0 1 1
Venezuela 0 0 1 1

China steal show with golden double

CHINA stole the limelight from the mighty Cubans by winning their first two Olympic boxing titles to deafening roars from a thrilled crowd yesterday.

Zou Shiming, 27, started the party by winning in unexpectedly easy fashion, his Mongolian opponent retiring with a shoulder injury early in the second round of their light-flyweight final.

Shiming, who had won China’s first boxing medal with a bronze in Athens four years ago, draped himself in the Chinese flag and burst into tears during the medal ceremony.

Light-heavyweight Zhang Xiaoping later doubled the hosts’ tally by out-pointing Kenny Egan 11-7, a verdict met by boos from a small but raucous Irish contingent, who felt the score did not reflect the bout.

Cuba were pinning their last hopes on bantamweight Yankiel Leon and welterweight Carlos Banteaux but both lost, to Mongolia’s Badar-Uugan Enkhbat and Kazakh Bakhyt Sarsekbayev respectively.

Apart from the 1984 and 1988 Games, which they boycotted, Cuba had not left without a boxing title since the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.

They had, however, come here with their least-experienced squad in years after a string of defections and were not complaining after grabbing four silver and four bronze medals.

Wild celebrations by the Chinese fans meant a rare feat by Russian Alexey Tishchenko did perhaps not get the attention it deserved.

Featherweight champion at the 2004 Athens Games, the red-haired Siberian used all his experience to win a 11-9 decision over Frenchman Daouda Sow in the lightweight final and become the fourth boxer to win gold in two different weight classes.

The super-heavyweights closed a busy show and two weeks of action with Italian Roberto Cammarelle stopping local favourite Zhang Zhilei in the final round.

Cammarelle, who was 14-4 up when Zhilei received a standing count and was stopped by the referee because of a face wound, gave Italy their first Olympic boxing title since Giovanni Parisi won featherweight gold in 1988 in Seoul.

Kenya’s Wanjiru ends marathon title drought and breaks Olympic record

SAMUEL Wanjiru made it a full house of Olympic titles in middle distance and long distance races for Kenya’s men yesterday as he ended their title drought in the event and broke the long-standing Olympic record as well.

The 21-year-old timed 2’06:32, breaking the 24-year-old Olympic record set by Carlos Lopes.

He beat home Morocco’s two-time world champion Jaouad Gharib (2’07:16) for the gold while Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia took the bronze.

“In Kenya, we have many medals but I’m glad to have this one,” said Wanjiru, who learnt to run the marathon when he left for school in Japan aged 15.

“It feels good to make history here. It feels good to make history for Kenya and win the gold.”

The youngster was no complete outsider as he had finished second at the London Marathon earlier this year and holds the half marathon world record.

“I had to push the pace to tire the other runners and because my body gets tired when I slow down,” said Wanjiru. “I tried to push with six kilometres left. It was hard but they couldn’t keep up.”

The winning time was fast given the quickly rising temperatures on a sunny day in the 42.195km race from Tiananmen Square past several Beijing landmarks to the stadium.

The pace was high from the outset with Wanjiru and others breaking away before the 10km mark. Soon there were only five runners left up front, apart from the medallists Deriba Merga of Ethiopia and Martin Lel of Kenya.

The group was further reduced to three before Wanjiru made his final move. Merga tired dramatically in the end and was overtaken for bronze by Kebede in the stadium as he lost four minutes on Wanjiru in the final 5km.

Marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie did not compete, saying he was worried about Beijing’s pollution. The Ethiopian ran the 10,000m instead and finished sixth there.

The race took its toll as world champion Luke Kibet of Kenya retired after 30km and the 2004 Olympic gold medallist Stefano Baldini of Italy had to settle for 12th place in his last big race.

“The start was okay because it wasn’t so hot but during the race the weather was bad. In the last 10km it was unbelievable what the Kenyans and Africans were able to do in these conditions,” said Baldini.

Kibet said: “I had a problem with my stomach. I started to feel it from 15km.”

Mixed legacy likely as China’s Olympics conclude

With help from British star power, China concluded its debut as Olympic host Sunday after 16 days of near-flawless logistics and superlative athletic achievement – coexisting awkwardly with the government’s wariness of dissent and free speech.

 

A spectacular closing ceremony opened with torrents of fireworks and included a pulsating show-within-a-show by London, host of the 2012 Games. From a stage formed from a red double-decker bus, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page played classic rock hit “Whole Lotta Love” and soccer icon David Beckham booted a ball into the surrounding throng of athletes on the stadium floor.

Then more lyrical music returned, and the Olympic flame atop the stadium was extinguished.

To a large extent, China, an emergent superpower, got what it had craved from these long-sought games: a dominant effort by its athletes to top the gold-medal standings for the first time and almost glitch-free organizing that showcased world-class venues and cheerful volunteers to the largest-ever peaceful influx of foreign visitors.

As a bonus, not just one but two athletes gave arguably the greatest performances in Olympic history – Michael Phelps with his eight gold medals in swimming, Jamaica’s ebullient Usain Bolt with three golds and three world records in the sprints.

The International Olympic Committee, whose selection of Beijing as host back in 2001 was widely questioned, insisted its choice had been vindicated.

“Tonight, we come to the end of 16 glorious days which we will cherish forever,” IOC President Jacques Rogge told the capacity crowd of 91,000 at the National Outdoor Stadium, and a global TV audience. “Through these Games, the world learned more about China, and China learned more about the world.”

“These were truly exceptional games,” he said, before declaring them formally closed.

The head of the Beijing organzing committee, Liu Qi, said the games were “testimony to the fact that the world has rested its trust in China.” He called them “a grand celebration of sport, of peace and friendship.”

Rogge and the IOC were criticized by human rights groups for their reluctance to publicly challenge the Chinese as various controversies arose over press freedom and detention of dissidents. Athletes shied away from making political statements, and “protest zones” established in Beijing went unused as the authorities refused to issue permits for them.

But the atmosphere was festive at the stadium as fireworks burst from its top rim – and from locations across Beijing – to begin the closing ceremony.

After an army band played the Chinese national anthem, hundreds of gayly dressed dancers, acrobats and drummers swirled onto the field, then made room for the athletes, strolling in casually and exuberantly from four different entrances.

China invested more than $40 billion in the games, which it viewed as a chance to show the world its dramatic economic progress. Olympic telecasts achieved record ratings in China and the United States, and the games’ presence online was by far the most extensive ever.

Rogge said these Olympics would leave a lasting, positive legacy for China – improved transportation infrastructure, more grass-roots interest in recreational sports, a more aggressive approach to curbing air pollution and other environmental problems. Smog that enveloped the city early in the games gave way to mostly clear skies, easing fears that some endurance events might be hazardous for the athletes.

American rower Jennifer Kaido of West Leyden, N.Y., said the games exceeded her expectations.

“We were prepared for smog, pollution, demonstrations, but everything has gone very smoothly,” she said.

Rogge acknowledged that China, despite promises of press freedom during the games, continued to block access to numerous politically oriented Web sites, including those related to Tibet and the outlawed spiritual movement Falun Gong.

However, he contended that media restrictions were looser during the Olympics than beforehand, “and so we believe the games had a good influence.”

Human rights groups disagreed.

“The reality is that the Chinese government’s hosting of the games has been a catalyst for abuses, leading to massive forced evictions, a surge in the arrest, detention and harassment of critics, repeated violations of media freedom, and increased political repression,” said Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch. “Not a single world leader who attended the games or members of the IOC seized the opportunity to challenge the Chinese government’s behavior in any meaningful way.”

Led by Phelps and Bolt, athletes broke 43 world records and 132 Olympic records during the games. Yet Rogge, who visited every venue, said the most touching moment for him came after the 10-meter air pistol event, when gold medalist Nino Salukvadze of Georgia embraced runner-up Natalia Paderina of Russia even as their two countries’ armies fought back in Georgia.

“That kind of sportsmanship is really remarkable,” Rogge said

Russian women win 4×100, gaffe costs Jamaica

BEIJING (AP) – Someone finally beat Jamaica in the sprints. The Jamaicans.

The Jamaican women spoiled the country’s shot at sweeping the Olympic sprints Friday when Sherone Simpson never got the stick to Kerron Stewart between the second and third legs of the 400-meter relay.

That opened the door for Russia to win the gold in 42.31 seconds, followed by Belgium and Nigeria.

Jamaica was the prohibitive favorite in the race, with two gold and five overall sprint medals already won by its four-woman lineup, and without any competition from the United States, which botched a handoff in preliminaries the night before.

Simpson was pushing Jamaica into the lead near the end of her leg. Stewart took off, reached her arm back and never received the baton.

Simpson ran into Stewart and stopped running, which left Veronica Campbell-Brown, who ran the fastest 200 meters in a decade the night before, without a chance to run her anchor leg.

“I can’t find nothing to say,” Stewart said. “I did what I was supposed to do, she did what she was supposed to do, but I guess it wasn’t God’s will.”

With only the men’s 400 relay remaining, Jamaica fell to 4-for-5 in the Olympic sprints, leaving the United States in 1984 as the only country to sweep all six Olympic sprints.