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  • On the Scene in Beijing -- Bolt is World's Fastest Man


    08/16/08

    Bolt Leads Fast Pack

    Usain Bolt becomes the first man to run under 9.7 seconds as he smashes his own world record to win the 100-meter final in Beijing. The race electrified a capacity crowd at the
    Usain Bolt makes the margin look big. (Getty Image)
    91,000-seat Bird’s Nest stadium Saturday.

    The 6ft 5in Jamaican left his rivals in the shade with a staggering time of 9.69 seconds, seeing off the challenge of his compatriot Asafa Powell who could only come fifth.

    Bolt slowed down to celebrate before reaching the line, pounding his chest as he clinched the title ahead of Trinidad & Tobago’s Richard Thompson (9.89 seconds) and Walter Dix of the U.S. (9.91 seconds). Powell’s time was 9.95 seconds.

    It was the fastest 100-meter final in Olympic history as six sprinters clocked under 10 seconds.

    The expected match-up between Tyson Gay and the Jamaicans did not materialize as the U.S. star failed to qualify for the final. He ran 10.05 seconds and came a disappointing fifth in his semi-final.

    “I just didn’t have nothin’ in me today. I ran as fast as I could. I gave it 100 percent,” said Gay.

    U.S. broadcaster NBC had been heavily hyping a showdown between Gay and the two Jamaicans – the current and former world record-holders – for months.

    But they will have to be satisfied with a world record – the first in track and field at the Beijing Olympics.
    Bolt also runs the 200-meters where he will be gunning for Michael Johnson’s record 19.32 seconds and the 4 x 100m relay.

    Phelps Wins, Barely

    As Michael Phelps was celebrating his record-tying seventh gold medal of the Beijing Games, FINA officials were reviewing the video of the race following an official protest from the Serbian swimming team.

    Phelps touched out Serbia's Milorad Cavic in the 100 m butterfly by .01 of a second -- the smallest margin of victory in the sport -- with an Olympic record time of 50.58 seconds. With the win, he tied Mark Spitz for seven gold medals in one Olympic Games, although he fell short of matching Spitz's mark of setting a world record in each event. Speedo, one of Phelps' sponsors, promised to pay Phelps $1 million if he won at least seven gold medals.
    Michael Phelps of the U.S. barely ahead of Milorad Cavic of Serbia in the 100m butterfly final. (Getty Images)


    Five FINA officials attended a press conference to defend the Omega timing system and verify the official results of the race.

    The men's referee, Ben Ekumbo of Kenya, said he looked at the video footage from Omega. "It is evident from the video that it is an issue of stroking," he said. "One was stroking [Phelps] and the other was gliding [Cavic]."

    He added, "The timing system in this case, Omega, was in perfect condition, was in perfect order."

    Ekumbo said he offered the Serbian team the opportunity to see the footage for themselves even though the rules don't allow it.

    "We didn't want them to go to sleep thinking that something is close and they don't have a chance," he said.

    Cornel Marculescu, FINA executive director, said there was no doubt Phelps would win the gold medal. "The question was for him to share the first place."

    He said Serbia had the option of appealing to the jury of appeals, but accepted the explanation of the referees and decided not to take that step.

    Phelps said he had no idea there was a protest. "Beats me," he said. "That's the first word I've heard of it."

    He said he saw the finish frame by frame.

    "It's almost too close to see," he said. He recalled that he was shocked when the U.S. 4 x 100-meter relay team won by .04 earlier in the Olympics. "It's possible I'm even more shocked than I was then," he said.

    Cavic said he was happy to have won the silver, although gold would have been better.

    "I'm not angry," he said. "If it's up to me, I would drop the protest. There is a gold medal at stake, but I came into this expecting bronze and I did one better and got silver and almost the gold. This is what the results showed on the electronic board."

    The difference between bronze medalist, Andrew Lauterstein of Australia, and fourth place, Ian Crocker of the U.S., was also .01. There was no protest.

    Severe Storms Halt Shanghai Football Match

    A severe storm in Shanghai forced the women’s football quarterfinal between Canada and the United States to be temporarily halted on Friday evening.
    A young football fan waits out the rain. (Getty Images)


    Swedish referee Jenny Palmqvist halted the match in the 20th minute after a heavy downpour that soaked the sparse crowd in the 56,000-seat stadium before play later resumed.

    Eight minutes earlier, the U.S. had scored to lead the match 1-0 before Canada drew even in the 30th minute. The U.S. claimed victory, scoring the decisive goal in the 11th minute extra time.

    The winner advances to the semifinal on Monday at Workers’ Stadium in Beijing.

    Woman Stabbed During Games Returns to U.S.

    The U.S. tourist who survived a knife attack while sightseeing on Day 2 of the Olympics has left Beijing by air ambulance. Barbara Bachman, whose husband, Todd, was killed in the attack at the Drum Tower, has been transferred to a hospital in the United States.

    Her three daughters have also returned to the United States, including Elisabeth McCutcheon, whose husband, Hugh, is the head coach of the U.S. men's volleyball team. Hugh McCutcheon remained with the team, which has already qualified for the quarterfinals to be played Aug. 20.

    "We are indebted to the physicians and caregivers at Peking Union Medical College Hospital who have done such a wonderful job providing Barbara with the medical care she needed," Hugh McCutcheon, a native of New Zealand, said in a statement. "We are also extremely appreciative of the support we have received from people here in Beijing, the United States, New Zealand and around the world. The prayers and support have been a source of strength for our family during this difficult time."

    Jet Set Treats Young Earthquake Victims to Olympics

    A group of 200 people from the earthquake zone in Sichuan, most of them children, will spend six days as guests of Jet Set Sports. The children will attend competitions such as athletics, basketball, boxing and table tennis.

    U.S.-based Jet Set is a world leader in Olympic ticket sales and hospitality and travel packages to the Olympics.

    Owner and founder Sead Dizdarevic said that so many young people were affected by the earthquake and "we wanted to let them experience in person what a special event is being hosted by their country."

    BOCOG worked with the Chengdu Education Department to identify the 180 children who arrived Saturday for their Olympic visit.

    Jet Set Sports also donated about 3.5 million RMB (about $550,000) to earthquake relief efforts and, with the help of BOCOG, will donate all of its Games-time hospitality and office furniture for use in the rebuilding.
    Jacques Rogge wearing the IAAF Award, received during the federation's dinner this week. (Getty Images)


    Where’s Jacques?

    IOC President Jacques Rogge will attend cycling, tennis and athletics on Saturday, Aug. 16. In the coming days, he’ll head to Hong Kong for equestrian and Qingdao for sailing.

    Ticket Scalpers Busted

    Beijing police arrested 110 Olympic ticket scalpers Friday. About 340 tickets were confiscated and suspects questioned, according to China Daily. Most of the scalpers, including some foreign touts, were arrested near the Wukesong Basketball Stadium in west Beijing and Beitucheng subway station near the Olympic Green.

    Coca Cola Banner for BOCOG

    Coca-Cola presented BOCOG with an Olympic five-ring banner made up of photos of the 20,000 Beijing Olympic torchbearers on the day they carried the flame. The 2.5m x 4.5m memento, celebrating the torch’s four-month trek through 127 cities around the world, will be donated to a museum.

    China Scores First Baseball Win

    China beats Taiwan to claim its first-ever Olympic baseball victory Friday, 8-7.

    “For others, it might be just an ordinary game and they might not understand why we are so happy. But for us, it is more than a game. It is the most memorable day for Chinese baseball,” Shen Wei, secretary general of the Chinese Baseball Association, is quoted by China Daily.

    The Chinese baseball team is making its debut at the Games after automatically qualifying for the competition as the home team.

    Ukraine Paralympians Arrive, Tickets Go on Sale

    The Ukraine team is the first to arrive for the Beijing Paralympics, set for Sept. 6 to 17, with a record 4,000 athletes competing. Tickets for the Paralympics are now on sale across China at Bank of China locations.

    Written by ATR Staff in Beijing

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