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Wukesong Arena, Beijing

For 15 minutes, it was a contest.

China, starting with their totemic leader Yao Ming, were raining them in from deep while the "Redeem Team" played "me ball", each member of the cast trying to outdo the other like an Olympic version of A Bridge Too Far.

But it couldn't last - LeBron James and Dwyane Wade saw to that - and with an estimated audience of one billion at home, and one head of state in the house, American authority was emphatically underlined. Or was it?

OK, this latest reincarnation of the original (and still the best) Dream Team ended this basketball battle with a 101-70 victory, but who's winning the medal-table war?

Continue reading "The James gang beat Yao, for now"

Recent entries

Watching sport should be fun. And usually it is. Unless you're watching an event where you have a vested interest.

Like Sunday's women's archery team tournament at the Olympics in Beijing.

As the media adviser to Archery GB, I know Alison Williamson, Naomi Folkard and Charlotte Burgess, and have a great deal of time and respect for all three of them.

So obviously I was willing them to win a medal. Gold was a tall order - the Koreans are quite simply phenomenal, but silver was a possibility; bronze I'd have settled for.

Continue reading "Archery tears speak volumes"

Thunder and lightning, deafening chants from raucous spectators, torrential storms and, in the end, tears.

I had no idea archery could be like this.

Midway through the afternoon, word had whistled round the Brits in Beijing that Alison Williamson, Naomi Folkard and Charlotte Burgess were within touching-distance of GB's first medal of these Olympics.

In their way stood China. And that's where the trouble started.

Continue reading "Archery enters the eye of the storm"

Nicole Cooke pulled off the biggest victory of her life thanks to a combination of ability, tactical nous and sheer guts.

We knew she had the ability to win before the start in downtown Beijing, but in road cycling that's only one part of the equation.

It's a tactical sport and even if you are the strongest rider in the field, you won't necessarily win unless you ride intelligently.

Chase everything all day and you will be a spent force when it really matters.

Continue reading "Gold confirms Cooke's cycling talent"

Remember Vanderlei de Lima in Athens? He was leading the marathon until a spectator jumped out into his path.

The IOC later gave him the Pierre de Coubertin medal for showing the spirit of the Oympics.

I know I maybe getting ahead of myself, but I know who my choice for that award would be this time round.

I went to see Georgia's Nino Salukvadze taking part in the the women's 10m air pistol. And while her country is in a state of conflict with Russia, she managed to win bronze.

Continue reading "Georgian and Russian athletes share emotional embrace"

If this Games was taking place pretty much anywhere else in the world, it would be a tout's dream.

Officially, it's a sell-out, all 6.8m tickets have gone, every session sold. Tourists here are desperate to get in, but tickets are extremely difficult to come by.

Touting's illegal in China, 29 men were picked up in a recent police sweep of those chancing their arm on Beijing's streets.

And yet, our commentators at the venues are all reporting the same thing, and the TV pictures are bearing this out, there are empty seats everywhere.

Continue reading "Empty seats strike bum note"

Dodging the cooks and busy washing-up staff in the kitchen, I quickly learned a lot about the "London House" in Beijing.

The pot was already on full gas for a row of Peking ducks on hooks. But the staff were also peeling potatoes for Britain for a wide-ranging menu including fish 'n' chips and bangers 'n' mash.

A beautiful Chinese house and garden just beside a lake in the centre of Beijing has been turned into a hospitality centre to promote London during the Games.

Continue reading "British pub grub doing the business in Beijing"

I'm not going to go on record and say Tom Daley is not going to win a medal at this Olympics - but it is unrealistic to expect one.

What he has achieved to date is incredible and we should really be focusing on that. To go to your first Olympics at any age and win a medal isn't that common, so to go at 14 and win one, no matter how good you are, is unrealistic.

I first met Tom when he was 10. I was at a competition and was told this kid wanted to meet his hero - which was a bit of weird thing! I remember showing him my Olympic medal and he made a real impression on me. I thought 'wow, not only has this kid got the skills but he's really got something about him'.

Continue reading "Why Tom Daley is the real deal"

Sha Tin, Hong Kong

As a journalist, and a BBC one at that, I'm not really supposed to get emotionally attached to the event I'm covering but I'm afraid at these Olympics I've found it really difficult to detach myself.

I feel so proud when a Brit does well and can't help getting a bit upset and sad when things go wrong.

During this past two days of the Olympic eventing competition here in Hong Kong I have been on the verge of tears at least three times.


Continue reading "Cook & King's brilliant fightback for GB brings tears to my eyes"

At the Water Cube, Beijing

If ever anyone was in any doubt about Michael Phelps' ability to become the greatest ever Olympian at a single Games they would surely have been silenced this morning.

Down at the Beijing H2O cube Phelps started his campaign with a world record performance of 4.03.84 in the 400m Individual Medley, a time that I once thought would be unattainable!!

At no point did Phelps look out of control and forged home in style.

There was an out of character display of emotion during his celebration and also on the victory podium where tears where shed.

After speaking to him earlier in the week I knew he was concerned about the 400IM more so than any of his other seven chances.

Continue reading "Sensational Phelps scares rivals with record-breaking swim"

There's no such thing as a new idea in journalism or a new quote, so this is the first of our daily attempts to tell a few more of the 10,000 stories in the Olympic city.

These tales will be stories we (Tom, Claire or I) saw, heard or narrowly missed and then read about in the press release.

So they won't tell the whole picture - it's a pretty big picture with lots of fences - but they will hopefully give a sense of the view from "the gods" at the greatest show on earth.

So without further ado...

Continue reading "A postcard from Beijing - 10/08/08"

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