Australian swimming star Grant Hackett is in Beijing this week, touring the Olympic swimming facility, known as the “Water Cube” for its distinctive design. The Herald-Sun (Australia) reports that the 2008 Beijing Olympics may be Hackett’s last international competition.
Michael Phelps, coming off a stunning performance at the world swimming championships in Melbourne, will be touring China this coming week as a member of the Visa Gold Medal Athlete Team. The Detroit Free Press has the story.
This topic deserves its own post. It’s no secret that China has rocked the swimming world in the past, with alleged doping at past world championships and the uncanny habit of “hiding” its best athletes until the Olympics. This week’s world championships in Melbourne has brought the issue to the front burner, as many are wondering whether China is planning to unveil new athletes at the 2008 Olympics without giving them a chance to compete internationally (and subject them to international scrutiny and, ahem, drug testing).
Chinese insist this really is their best (The Australian)
Secret camp rumors a joke, insists Zhang (The Standard, Hong Kong)
And speaking of drug testing…
No blood tests at Worlds (The Daily Telegraph, Australia)
One more factlet from the swim world…Shanghai has been awarded the 2011 world swimming championships:
Shanghai gets swim champs TVNZ (New Zealand)
Make that two more…according to this article, Tian Liang, China’s most recent diving superstar on the men’s side who ran afoul of the Chinese sporting world and its anti-commercial sensibilities after the 2004 Olympics, has retired:
China’s “diving prince” retires (News24.com)
If it’s diving, it must be the Chinese taking home the hardware. ESPN.com reports that Chinese divers have taken gold medals in all four diving events that have been contested so far at the world championships this week in Melbourne, Australia. Swimming events begin this Sunday, March 25.
Speaking of swimming, people have been asking “Where are the Chinese?” since the 2004 Olympics. The Associated Press, via SignOnSanDiego, presents a nuanced analysis of China’s presence – and lack of it – on the international swimming scene in the last few years.