2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Pictures

From September 6th to September 17th, Beijing is once again hosting athletes from around the world. Over 4,200 athletes – from six different disability groups – from 148 countries are taking part in the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games. Not only are the sports divided into events, but the events are divided into different disability categories, to even out the playing field as much as possible. The slogan for this years Paralympic Games is the same as the one for the Olympics held just last month: “One World, One Dream”. (36 photos total)

2008 Summer Paralympic Games – The Big Picture – Boston.com.

Some amazing pictures here. Make sure to read the captions on some of these.

[via kottke]

U.S. Redeem Team Wins Gold, Redemption

Yea, it doesn’t come as much as a surprise, but it was exciting to watch.  I’m not sure how many people stayed up to watch the game live, but if you did, you got a good one.   Spain played above themselves and challenged the U.S. team for the first time in the tournament, getting as close as 2 in the fourth quarter.

Most of the game looked like another iteration of the All-Star scorefest we see every year here.  When there are over 200 hundred points scored in 40 minutes (vs. the NBA’s Forty-Eight) you know the defense has taken something of a back seat.  Like many other events the “judging” was a bit erratic, but seemed to be shitty for both sides, so it was something of a wash.

They are talking to the two MVPs of the team, Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant.  Wade was amazing for most of the game scoring 21 in the first half and was typically everywhere.  Kobe took over in the last fourth quarter, hitting a huge 3 + 1 after Spain had pulled to within 3 and did a wonderful job of distributing the ball down the stretch.  

Good job fellas, thanks for working for it this time.

Watching the 50K Torturethon

You would think that an Olympic event involving “walking” would be a pleasant affair.  A nice stroll through some immaculately lit and groomed park in Beiging, surrounded by mechanical fairies providing a steady supply of unicorn farts for that aromatic touch of genius.  The Chinese are crazy for detail and I thought they might take “walking” to strange and amazing new heights.

Instead, it turns out, the 50k Walk Race was in fact inspired by events in the Phillipines in 1942.  One merely has to watch the competitors as they are issued “warning” cards and “death” cards when they stop walking correctly, to understand to utter and complete seriousness of this sport.  In what can only be called the twisted psychological side of the sport, if you go too fast, you get murdered in the street (well, only disqualified in the sport version).  Walking is serious business. 

Yesterday the Chinese tortured the women with this race.   I swear on my mother’s soul I saw a woman try to make herself throw up during the race.  She thought she might feel better puking during the race.  It was raining during that race.  “Today” it is mid-70’s with 90% humidity.  The perfect weather for a death march.

So I’m sitting here watching the male version of the Torturethon and felt I’d share a few thoughts about it.  Just seeing the way their hips are swaying, their heads are bobbing, and their emaciated limbs are waving around in what can only be the throes of immense pain is much like a waking nightmare.  But I am afraid to go to sleep and see them again in my dreams….walking…always walking…walking with that look, that look of “Oh my god what have I done!” on their face. 

Or worse, I might become one of them. Cursed to race as fast as possible, BUT NOT RUN!!

They’ve just passed 25K.  The race started with 61people.  There are 4 that have a chance to win at the half-way point.  The rest get to get DQ’ed or suffer for suffering’s sake.  Truly, the Tortorethon is not for the faint of heart (nor the remotely sane).

UPDATE: I just noticed a walker (NOT runner) from Mexico try to bite off his own tounge to take his mind off the pain in his legs.  The GPM (Grimaces Per Mile) of the race is quickly heading off the charts.

U.S. Women Win Gold in Soccer, Volleyball, Fencing, and Gymnastics

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to all the lady athletes in the United States.  Good jorb, ladies.

I had posted earlier about the amazing antics of the Brazilian women’s soccer team.  Well, it turns out the U.S. women’s team was even better.  They played some amazing defense against a team that was still firing with :30 left in extra time after 30 minutes of overtime and 90 minutes of Olympic Gold Medal soccer.

In volleyball the U.S. Team of May/Walsh was absolutely dominant.  Those nice little bottoms went al the way to the top.  For the second time in a row (for the first time ever).

I think the softball team gave up like one run, total, before their final silver medal performance (softball and baseball are being dropped from the next Olympics…Brits don’t get ’em) against Japan.  I just checked the news and saw the softball team has lost in the finals to Japan.  That sucks because they had been absolutely dominant in the Olympics.  This was their first loss in 22 games, dating all the way back to 2000.

Congrats and further well wishes to the fencers.  Hey, at least ya’ll don’t have to worry so much about the paparazzi.

Finally, mad ups to the women’s gymnastic team.  It was great to see fellow Texan Nastia Liukin win her gold, and silvers, and bronzes.  Always nice to see a local girl do well on the world stage.  I still think they need to incorporate Gymkata into Olympic gymnastics, but that could just be because I got really bored one Saturday afternoon.

Regardless, my full congratulations go to daughters and granddaughters of the Women’s Liberation Movement.  It looks like ya’ll can do anything better, and have the bling to prove it.

Michael Phelps Touching the Wall (and goes Super-Saiyan)

This is how you finish

This is how you finish

I found this animated .gif floating around the net. Very nice shot of Michael Phelps winning the gold medal in historic fashion.  What an amazing finish.  I was watching this down at Frankie’s in Uptown and the whole place went silent for the swim and then crazy for the win.

Props to Phelps for his performance, I hope he can finish the deed this evening and make the history he’s been shooting for.   Way to Power Up!!

This is how you power up.

This is how you power up.

Speaking of shooting, the Redeem Team waxed the Spanish this morning to assert their (and our) complete dominance of the sport of basketball.  Keep on flying guys, you are a blast to watch.

UPDATE: They won the 400 IM (for the 11th straight time).  Congrats to Phelps on 8 golden medallions.

Continue reading

Christiane via Brazil Amazing in HD 2 Goals in 1 Minute (3 in half)

Just a couple quick comments on the Olympics. I’ve been watching pretty much non-stop since the absolutely amazing opening ceremonies.  Today I’ve gone to the old stand-by, the 24-hour soccer channel.   The only other thing going right now is boxing, and the U.S.’s best hope for a medal just lost because he didn’t know he was behind in the bizarre Olympic boxing score-system.   Really, he got knocked down earlier in the bout and got a point.

Regardless, I was just watching the Brazil and Niger, women’s soccer match.  Niger was up 1-nil when Christiane first had a header and then a bicycle kick for goals back to back in under a minute.

I also want to throw out some props to the U.S. Men’s Gymnastic (Bronze, from nowhere) and Swimming teams (Gold, from behind).  Good work fellas.  Now you can stop shaving yourselves everywhere.  Hat’s off to the Chinese and French gymnastic and swimming teams, respectively, as well.

I’ve probably seen about 20 or 30 sports so far, and have to commend GE for their coverage.  They are making a windfall off this thing, and the 24-hour HD programming is much appreciated.  I’ll try and throw up posts when something else cool happens on my TV, but the play of Christiane amazed me, so I thought I’d catch you up to what my TV is playing and what the world is watching.

UPDATE: OMG!! Hat trick!!

Black Market Olympics: Running from the Beijing Police

Mt. SAC professor on the run in Beijing after protest – DailyBulletin.com

Edward Romero is on the run in the Olympics host city of Beijing.

According to friends and colleagues of the La Puente pastor and philosophy professor at Mt. San Antonio College, Romero is being sought by Chinese authorities for painting two upscale Beijing hotel rooms with anti-oppression slogans like, “Speak out for those who have no voice,” and “Beijing 2008 Our world Our nightmare.”

The incidents have caught the interest of news outlets and Internet users worldwide, who have flocked to Romero’s YouTube page – “Diary of a Gadfly” – where the La Puente resident videotaped his antics and uploaded them online.

“It’s going all over the world at a furious pace,” said Tony Thomas, a longtime friend of Romero who has been appointed Romero’s unofficial spokesman. “He has had the vision to do this (for years), but I think most people didn’t really know exactly what he was going to do until he actually did it.”

You can follow the action here

The Opening Ceremonies

I have to say that I’m impressed.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like the spectacle I saw tonight. Well done sirs and madams.

I am, quite frankly, speechless. Good jorb China.

The only way to say it is that I think I have seen the most amazing piece of performance art ever performed on this planet this evening. To say anything less is silly and I don’t think I can say more.

UPDATE: Here’s some pics. I’m sure you can find the thing online somewhere.

Having taken some time to process the extravaganza, I’ll have to say that I still agree with my initial assessment. I think my favorite part was the dancing printing blocks. The amount of blind coordination required to accomplish such an act was off the charts.

And So It Begins….Again (Olympics and International Jockeying)

BEIJING – Once-reclusive China commandeered the world stage Friday, celebrating its first-time role as Olympic host with a stunning display of pyrotechnics and pageantry — topped by the unworldly sight of a flying gymnast, traversing the heights of the stadium to light the flame and begin the Summer Games.

China opens Olympics with pageantry, pyrotechnics – Yahoo! News.

I noticed this story this morning and went to the TV to see some of the stuff.  Unfortnately, with the media blackout that goes on with such things (a level of censorship the Chinese probably admire) we won’t get to see the explosions until this evening during primetime.

I’m really hoping this isn’t indicative of how GE is going to cover the Olympics, as my sleep patterns are more attuned to the Asian sun, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for a day or two.

Our wonderful President was also on site, continuing his tradition of vacationing as much as humanly possible.

President Bush and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were among the glittering roster of notables who watched China make this bold declaration that it had arrived. Bush, rebuked by China after he raised human-rights concerns this week, is the first U.S. president to attend an Olympics on foreign soil.

I have a wonderful screen-grab taken from CNN yesterday covers the general absurdity of someone who advocates torturing prisoners calling out someone else who does.  I’ll get that post up and link to it here. [done -ed]

But politics aside, I’m really looking forward to the Olympics and seeing some wonderful competition.  The Beijing Games should be one to remember and I, for one, am looking forward to spending the last two weeks before football season watching the lesser sports in detail.

Sport Techs Gone Wild

Speedo’s suit divides swimming world | U.S. | Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A revolutionary bodysuit has divided the world of swimming into the haves and the have nots just weeks before the Beijing Olympics, testing relationships between federations, athletes and rival suppliers.

Australian and U.S. swimmers and others wearing the Speedo LZR Racer suit have set 38 world records since its introduction in February. Australian Libby Lenton said it made her feel she was swimming downhill.

As the buzz has grown — an LZR is even on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in an exhibit on superheroes — swimmers using other equipment are weighing the merits of breaking existing contracts and switching to Speedo.

Nice bit of reading here on the wonders of modern technology and their interaction with the world of sport.  Looks like there are now things one can both put into and onto the body to gain that final edge in competition.

Plus, the fact that this suit makes the swimmers look more like ninjas is just icing on the cake.

Chinese Propaganda At Its Saddest

The Canadian Press: China condemns Olympic protests, disputes reports officials doused torch

“We express our strong condemnation to the deliberate disruption of the Olympic torch relay by Tibetan separatist forces regardless of the Olympic spirit and the law of Britain and France,” spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement posted on the ministry website.

“Their despicable activities tarnish the lofty Olympic spirit and challenge all the people loving the Olympic Games around the world,” she said in the statement.

Media reports about the relay in Paris had said the security detail protecting the torch extinguished it several times along the route and retreated to the safety of a bus.

But Jiang said those news reports were wrong and that the torch was never extinguished.

“The reports by foreign media are false in claiming that the Olympic torch was forced to be extinguished during its relay in Paris,” she said in a separate statement.

Umm, pretty much everyone is the world is reporting this factual occurrence.  China is doing itself no favors with its continued insistence that nothing is wrong and everyone is happy in Tibet.