Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday's Hot Links...

We'll get Wednesday's Hot Links going with an article from the New York Times' long time Olympic sports writer Jere Longman, who covered Bernard Lagat's (left/photo courtesy Nike Inc) press conference in Beijing.

"Lagat enters the Olympics as the favorite, but he appears somewhat less invincible than he did after nine consecutive victories to open the indoor and outdoor seasons. His final Olympic tune-up, at a meet in London in late July, ended with a third-place finish after Lagat got boxed along the rail with 250 meters remaining.

Earlier in his career, while chasing the world-record holder and 2004 Olympic champion, Hicham el-Guerrouj of Morocco, Lagat learned to run the 1,500 fast from the beginning. Now Guerrouj is retired and Lagat has had to learn a different tactic, how to wait patiently and pounce in the homestretch. The key to that style is knowing when to run hard and when to wait, and avoiding being tripped or pushed or boxed in a kind of human phone booth, unable to dial up a final kick."

You can read Jere's story here...

As a follow-up to a post a few days ago, defending Olympic marathon Mizuki Noguchi of Japan has withdrawn, due to an injury in her left thigh and groin...

American 5000 & 10000 meter runner Shalane Flanagan contracted food poisoning in Beijing a few days before the finals of the women's 10000 on Friday...

Dick Patrick of USA Today previews the men's shot put, an event that could get Team USA's medal hopes kick started by the trio of Reese Hoffa, Christian Cantwell & Adam Nelson, as there's a strong possibility of an American sweep...

British marathoner Paula Radcliffe claims that she's good to go for Sunday's marathon, adding the caveat that if this were not the Olympics, she would've sat out...

From the IAAF Council meetings in Beijing, the senior men's team size for the world cross country championships has been dropped from 9 men (6 score) to 6 men (4 score)...

And from the Milli Vanilli department comes word that the little girl who sang "Hymm to the Motherland" as the Chinese flag entered the National Stadium wasn't the one...turns out she lip-synched the song (common in big stadium events); however, the voice belonged to another girl...

Finally, the fireworks show everyone saw on television--well, part of it was faked as well...

"As the ceremony got under way with a dramatic, drummed countdown, viewers watching at home and on giant screens inside the Bird's Nest National Stadium watched as a series of giant footprints outlined in fireworks processed gloriously above the city from Tiananmen Square.

What they did not realise was that what they were watching was in fact computer graphics, meticulously created over a period of months and inserted into the coverage electronically at exactly the right moment.

The fireworks were there for real, outside the stadium. But those responsible for filming the extravaganza decided in advance it would be impossible to capture all 29 footprints from the air."

You can read how it was faked here...

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