Saturday, March 29, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Henderson secures seat for Olympics

New Zealand rider Greg Henderson finished fifth in the points race at the world track cycling championships in England today.

Henderson was prominent throughout the 40km, 160-lap race to finish only two points away from a medal in Manchester.

He was in third place for much of the middle part of the race.

Vasili Kiryienka, of Belarus, played a part in most of the sprints to claim the title with 24 points, one ahead of Frenchman Christophe Riblon, who won the final two sprints in a desperate attempt to lap the field.

Peter Schep, of the Netherlands, who won three sprints early on, was nearly dropped but recovered to finish third on 19 points, one ahead of Australian Cameron Meyer, with Henderson another point back in the tightly fought race. (...more)

PostHeaderIcon D'Arcy prepares for Olympics … then retirement

Nick D'Arcy will this year achieve a life-long ambition to swim at an Olympic Games. If all goes to plan, the 20-year-old will then quit competitive swimming.

When most of his contemporaries would be looking for ways to secure their swimming careers for years to come, D'Arcy has other aims.

The Queenslander, who won the 200 metres butterfly at the Olympic trials last week, comes from a medical family. His father is a doctor, his mother a nurse. And that is where D'Arcy — currently doing science and planning to then study medicine — believes his future lies.

"The Olympics is all I have wanted to accomplish in my (swimming) career," D'Arcy said. "… I really want to get started on an academic career. It's a lot of study, years and years of work.

" This is honestly more than I could have asked for out of my sport and to come away with a Commonwealth record as well is more than I could have ever dreamed of." (...more)

PostHeaderIcon Australia squad for 2008 Beijing Olympics

Australia are hoping for a record medal haul from their swim team at this year's Beijing Olympics after picking a 42-member squad overflowing with talent.

Australia's best result in swimming was at the 2000 Sydney Olympics when they collected 18 medals but officials believe they could eclipse that mark in China after breaking eight world records at this week's trials.

"Congratulations to the swimmers on their tremendous standard and depth," Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates told a news conference on Saturday.

"Swimming no doubt will be our strongest section and will deliver for us at the Games."
The powerful squad is made up of 22 women and 20 men and includes a mixture of seasoned campaigners and newcomers who have just burst on to the scene.

Grant Hackett, Adam Pine, Ashley Callus and Leisel Jones will be appearing at their third Olympics, while 12 will be competing at their second and the other 26 at their first. (...more)

PostHeaderIcon The suit that's turned the swim world on its head

Records are falling to competitors wearing Speedo's new LZR Racer. Critics say it constitutes an unfair advantage. Even before the LZR debuted, there were signs of what might come, given how technology has ramped up the race to be faster in the water, revolutionizing the sport much as high-tech metal clubs changed golf.

Not only was this suit designed with help from NASA and its wind tunnels, but Speedo made sure that each step of the development process, including ultrasonically bonded seams -- no thread and needle here -- was approved by FINA, swimming's international governing body.

Then, at the product launch last month, Olympic star and Speedo pitchman Michael Phelps, who will attempt to win an unprecedented eight gold medals at the Olympics this summer in Beijing, said of wearing the suit: "When I hit the water, I feel like a rocket."

One rare complaint, however, surfaced Wednesday at the trials in Australia. Jess Schipper said that the LZR filled with water as she competed in the 200-meter butterfly final and caused her to fade down the stretch.

Still, with so many records falling so fast, three-time Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband captured the essence of the controversy: "This [suit] allows far less talented swimmers to go fast," he told a French newspaper, adding that it made records meaningless. (...more)

PostHeaderIcon BBC Takes 437 Staff Members To Olympics

bbc logo
THE BBC was slammed yesterday after deciding to send a whopping 437 staff to cover the Olympics.

The huge figure is nearly 150 more than the number of British athletes taking part in this summer’s Games.

Presenters including newsman Huw Edwards, 46, sports hosts Clare Balding, 37, Gabby Logan, 34, Sue Barker, 51, and swimming champ Sharron Davies, 45 will make the trip to Beijing – all funded by the licence-payer.

A huge number of backroom staff, camera operators and sound engineers will also go.

The figure – 33 more than covered the 2004 Olympics in Athens – was revealed during a police inquiry after travel files went missing. Detectives fear they may have been stolen. (...more)

PostHeaderIcon ViDeOnline partners with on Olympics ad rights

ViDeOnline Communications Ltd, a network company, declared yesterday that it was granted exclusive adverting rights by for the Olympic Games. will use VideOnline's 08 intelligent advertisement insertion network to deliver targeted online advertisements for the Chinese mainland and Macao SAR coverage via Live and VOD (Video On Demand) channels.

"In aggregate, there are over 1,800 matches over the 15 day period with almost 30 different kinds of competition. This represents over 15,000 advertisement impressions just in the live feeds, and the advertisements may last till the end of September," added Lu.

"Normally, we will have eight pieces of advertisement in one hour, and each piece will last 15 seconds," said Lu, "This is our rule, but we also strictly obey the rules by the International Olympic Committee on advertisements."

"The streaming of live broadcast of the Olympics events represents the first time ever that all events will be broadcasted live as well as viewed, video on demand over the Internet," said Lu.

ViDeOnline, a leader in secured video networks founded in China in 2004, focuses on a secured video network, supports broad based video distribution over the Internet through P2P with an overlay and insertion network, and completes with transaction tracking and content management. (...more)

PostHeaderIcon Boycott of Olympics opening receives chilly response

2008 beijing olympics logo
The call for a boycott of the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics received chilly response at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Slovenia on Friday.

Some EU politicians recently threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics. As foreign ministers from EU member states kicked off a two-day meeting here Friday, the Tibet issue was added to the agenda at the last minute.

While the discussions were scheduled for Saturday, many EU foreign ministers voiced their opposition to politicize the Olympic Games on the first day of the meeting.

"A no to the Olympics in order to relieve our consciences would help neither the people in China nor the sports organizations," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters on arrival for the meeting.

"At the moment I am against the kind of boycott debate that is going on in some European member states," he added. (...more)

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told reporters: "We are fully engaged in supporting the Olympics. We want to see it as a success, and I think it is right that the prime minister represents us."
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Chinese and the potential Tibet boycot at the Olympics

tibet china olympicsChinese citizens are voicing outrage over international debate linking recent protests in Tibet to their prized Beijing 2008 Olympics, accusing outsiders of trying to spoil their country's landmark event.

Foreign media have distorted incidents in Tibetan regions of China and mistakenly associated those with Beijing's right or ability to hold an international sporting event this summer, citizens are complaining privately and online.

The situation in Tibet has also become a lightning rod for criticism of China's Communist government ahead of the Beijing Olympics, marring the country's desire to use the Games to showcase progress in the world's fourth-largest economy.

Leaders in France, Taiwan and elsewhere have murmured about a boycott of China's first Games because of Tibet, following similar concern from foreign-based human rights groups. The government-in-exile estimated 140 deaths in the violence. (source)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

PostHeaderIcon 4,000 to lose homes to Vladimir Putin’s Winter Olympics

2014 Winter Olympics logoMore than 4,000 people are facing eviction to make room for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, according to campaigners, who say that many will receive little or no compensation.

“My family has lived on this land for five generations,” said Dmitry Drofichev, a farmer. “We are being offered a fraction of what the land is worth. They’ll have to bulldoze me and the house to make me move.”

The authorities have already begun forcibly removing people from areas where Olympic facilities are to be built. Fifteen families of refugees from a war in the neighbouring republic of Abkhazia have been evicted from the outskirts of Sochi where they have lived for 15 years. They have nowhere to go.

Residents fear systematic evictions after the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, passed a bill known as the “Olympic law”, which will speed up the confiscation of property. Typically, land offered to those facing eviction is said to be in remote and rundown areas and payments are far below the value of the property appropriated. (...more)

PostHeaderIcon EU parliament Pres. says Olympics boycott should be considered

2008 beijing olympics logo
A boycott of this summer's Beijing Olympic Games should be considered if China does not re-evaluate its actions in Tibet, the president of the European Parliament said in an interview to be published in a German newspaper on Sunday.

"Beijing must decide. It must negotiate with the Dalai Lama immediately," Hans-Gert Poettering told the mass circulation Bild newspaper. Poettering added that boycott measures were justified, if there was no attempt at reconciling the differences.

"We should not exclude the possibility of a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. We want a successful Games, but not at the price of the cultural genocide of the Tibetans," he said.

Poettering, a member of the conservative Christian bloc in the parliament, said the European Parliament would discuss the situation in Tibet on Wednesday. (...more)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

PostHeaderIcon China Scrambles To Fix Toilet

If there's one thing you do not want to get wrong when hosting the Olympics it is to not provide adequate restroom facilities. After running user tests on the facilities that will host the Olympic sports China found one glaring problem in the style of restrooms.

Most buildings do not have enough western-style bathrooms. Instead they are the traditional squat toilets which are mostly unfamiliar to western cultures. Olympic authorities are rushing to install more of the modern toilets in their facilities in time of the China Olympic games in August.

"Some 500,000 overseas visitors are expected in Beijing during the August 8-24 Games but the only toilets available for the public and the media at many top venues like the National Aquatic Centre, known as the Water Cube, are squat toilets that are widespread in China but unfamiliar to westerners.

"After more than 30 test events, a lot of parties have raised the question of toilets," Yao told journalists."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Smog may stop Beijing Olympics marathon

Following a study of the Chinese capital's air quality by four independent scientists last August, the IOC have concluded that the majority of athletes will be unaffected by the conditions.

But endurance athletes, such as Britain's world-record holding marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, could be hit by the smog, along with competitors in road cycling, mountain biking, triathlon and race walking.

In a further blow, Professor Arne Ljungqvist, head of the IOC's medical commission, revealed yesterday that asthmatics like Radcliffe were likely to suffer more than most.

The IOC are now preparing to monitor the pollution in Beijing on a daily basis during the Games and are drawing up plans to postpone events if pollution and humidity pose a threat to competitors. (...more)

PostHeaderIcon Taiwan presidential candidate threatens to boycott Beijing Olympics

Taiwan's frontrunning presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou warned Tuesday that if China continues to suppress Tibetans, Taiwan would not rule out boycotting the Beijing Olympic Games.

"If China continues to suppress Tibetan people and if the situation in Tibet continues to worsen, after I have become president, I do not rule out not sending Taiwan's delegation to the Beijing Olympics," Ma told reporters.

Taiwan will hold its presidential election on Saturday and the new president will be sworn in on May 20.

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Welcome to Olympic Updates, my continuing blog to following the Olympic Games. Founded in 2007, I have enjoyed providing news and information on the 2008 Beijing Summer Games and I look forward to keeping you up to date on the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

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