More pre-Olympic news

Posted in 2008 Olympics at 3:38 pm by Nicole

It’s T-minus one year and two days to the start of the Beijing Olympics…the number of one-year-till-the-Olympics stories grows and grows.

Whatever it takes, China aims for dazzling Games (USA Today)

Congratulations to Yao Ming and Ye Li

Posted in Basketball at 3:37 pm by Nicole

I’m not sure what to congratulate them more on: the fact that they got married in front of a small gathering of family and friends in Shanghai…or that they pulled it off without a mess of media getting in the way.

NBA star Yao Ming marries (Voice of America)

The CSB in LA

Posted in Tennis at 3:30 pm by Nicole

The China Sports Blog visits Los Angeles this week for the East West Bank Classic, a Tier II event on the Sony Ericsson Women’s Tennis Association tour. Among the Chinese athletes competing here are Li Na, Peng Shuai, Sun Tiantian and Yan Zi. Li Na came in to the media tent near the side courts with her left thigh wrapped tightly, but she looks healthy and happy and ready to compete. The Chinese media, as always, are out in force: Li was surrounded by them at her interview table this afternoon, looking a little bewildered by all the attention. Peng Shuai held court in a relaxed and thoroughly bubbly and fun manner – and took tons of questions from the Chinese journalists about her coaching relationship with Michael Chang. More to come as the week goes on.

Event Website


Nike opens on Wangfujing Dajie

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Sports Business at 5:17 pm by Nicole

For non-Beijing-fluent CSB readers, Wangfujing Dajie (“Wangfujing Big Street”) is the central shopping district in Beijing, especially for the well-to-do, and of course, foreign visitors. It’s located just due east of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in central Beijing. Today, Nike opened its flagship store there, with the help of 2004 Olympic gold medalist Liu Xiang, sure to be the face of next year’s Beijing Olympics.

Nike opens flagship store in Beijing (Presseportal)

Lonely Planet’s Beijing Map (Wangfujing Dajie is just to the right of the Forbidden City)

Venues and drug tests…the Olympic buzz gets louder

Posted in 2008 Olympics at 12:18 pm by Nicole

We’re just a few days away from the official one-year-till-the-Olympics mark of August 8, 2007 – that means that the international press will be filing stories like crazy over the next few days and weeks.

In today’s news, the USOC is increasing doping tests among U.S. Olympians in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, according to Reuters.

U.S. to increase drug testing before Games (Reuters.com)

The AP story linked to below presents a decent overview of the status of the Beijing Olympics – nothing that hasn’t been reported previously, but a good Beijing Olympics 101 primer for newcomers:

Beijing 2008 Olympics poised to be the grandest Games of all (Associated Press, via SportingNews.com)

The Beijing Olympics primer below, via the Malaysia Sun, presents the overview of 2008 from the point of view of the Chinese team:

2008 Olympics: China set to challenge U.S. supremacy (Indo-Asian News Service, via the Malaysia Sun)

The IHT reports (via the AP) about the progress of the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube, the two most architecturally distinct venues being constructed for the 2008 Olympics. From everything I’ve heard from people who have seen them in person, they are stunning structures. The Bird’s Nest is National Stadium, host to the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the track and field competition. The Water Cube will host swimming, diving and water polo.

Beijing Olympic venues already iconic (Associated Press, via the International Herald Tribune)

Want a sneak peek at all of the Olympic venues and their locations in Beijing? The official Beijing 2008 website has it all:

2008 Olympic competition venues (Beijing 2008 official website)

Finally, from longtime Olympic writer Philip Hersh, some observations on the recent pontificating by U.S. and Chinese officials about who’s going to win the medal count next year…along with some wise observations about the reality of doping in the Olympic movement, no matter how many drug tests the various national committees perform:

Gold could hit an all-time high for China (Los Angeles Times)


Justin Gatlin and the feds

Posted in Doping, Track and Field/Athletics at 9:15 am by Nicole

Last summer I was heartbroken at the positive doping tests of Justin Gatlin and Floyd Landis – and saddened (but not surprised) when Marion Jones’ “A” sample turned up with EPO (yes, I know her “B” sample was deemed clean, but she’s not the first person I’d put on my list of “athletes I think are competing without drugs,” not by a long shot). So today’s news that Justin Gatlin has been actively assisting federal investigators in their investigation of Trevor Graham is intriguing and hopeful.

Gatlin assisted investigators in BALCO probe (Washington Post)

Any story about doping is a Beijing Olympic story, as far as I’m concerned – doping has finally, finally started to be looked at seriously by the governing bodies of the world’s most powerful sports organizations. This year’s Tour de France was either a mess, or a beacon of hope, depending on whose point of view you held…but I’m going with the hopeful view, because for the first time, a critical mass of active athletes took a very public stand against doping. So if Gatlin really was clean and got sabotaged, and if he took personal risks to bring Trevor Graham to justice, I’d love to see him back in it for 2008.


Spielberg and the Olympics

Posted in 2008 Olympics at 9:36 am by Nicole

It’s going to be a very, very interesting year between now and August of 2008. “Interesting,” of course, being one of the most meaningless words in a writer’s arsenal…a cop-out, almost, instead of saying the obvious: it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be fascinating, it’s going to set the tone for many years of relations between China and the West. The CSB has to do its part in reporting and reflecting on all that is happening, even (perhaps especially) when the news isn’t kind to China.

What to make of this, I don’ t know yet…but reports are that Steven Spielberg may be re-evaulating his commitment to working with the Chinese on the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympics because of the Chinese government’s perceived lack of action on the Darfur humanitarian crisis.

Spielberg threatening to quit as Olympic artistic advisor (ESPN.com)

Steven Spielberg could quit 2008 Olympics (AOL Sports)

More on the Yi stalemate

Posted in Basketball at 6:06 am by Nicole

From ESPN.com: China’s top basketball official is set to travel to the United States to attempt to resolve the dispute between Yi Jianlian’s camp and the Milwaukee Bucks.

China’s top basketball official to try to end Yi-Bucks stalemate (ESPN.com)

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