Posted tagged ‘2008 Olympics’

Michael Phelps to Host Saturday Night Live

August 29, 2008

Forget eight gold medals, breaking Mark Spitz’s Olympic records and being the toast of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Michael Phelps will be hosting the season opener of Saturday Night Live on September 13.

From the Associated Press:

The record-breaking swimmer, who took home eight gold medals at the Bejing Olympics, will host the 34th season premiere of NBC’s long-running late-night sketch-comedy series on Sept. 13. Joining the 23-year-old athlete as musical guest will be rapper Lil Wayne.

It will be the debut “SNL” appearances for both.

The network will air seven new “SNL” episodes before November’s presidential election. The Sept. 13th premiere will mark the beginning of four new “SNL” shows in a row. NBC will also air three prime-time episodes of “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday,” a special half-hour “Weekend Update” edition of the show, beginning Oct. 9.
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Japanese Synchronized Swimmer Collapses in Olympic Pool

August 24, 2008

Hiromi Kobayashi, a 23-year-old from Osaka, Japan, competing in her first Olympics, was taken off the deck on a stretcher today after hyperventilating and fainting as her routine ended.

Reuters

Credit: Reuters

From the Associated Press:

Two men in swimsuits jumped into the pool to assist the team, which was helping Kobayashi to the side. The other team members climbed out to await their scores, while the ailing woman clung to the pool’s edge.

Kobayashi was lifted out by the two men in swimsuits and she buckled to her knees. Her body and head went limp as they carried her. She was wrapped in a white sheet and rushed away on the stretcher, attended to by several volunteers and medical personnel.

The woman hyperventilated because of stress, said Hiroshi Takeuchi, press officer for the Japanese team.

Reuters

Credit: Reuters

The Japanese team tied the United States for fifth in the final. Japan was assessed a two-point penalty for touching the bottom of the pool during its routine. Luckily, they had assistance to save the swimmer’s lives. Thoughts?

Cuban Athlete Barred for Life For Kicking Referee

August 24, 2008

Can we have any more drama at the Summer Olympics this year. We have had murder, underage controversy, swimsuit controversy, wresting controversy and now a Cuban tae kwon do athlete and his coach were barred for life after the athlete kicked a referee in the face following his disqualification in his bronze medal match.

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

Credit: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

From the Associated Press:

The Cuban coach, Leudis González, offered no apology for the actions of the athlete, Ángel Matos, during the men’s over-80 kilogram (176 pounds) match.

Matos was winning, 3-2, in the second round, when he fell to the mat after being hit by his opponent, Kazakhstan’s Arman Chilmanov. He remained there, awaiting medical attention, when he was disqualified for taking too much injury time. Fighters get one minute, and Matos was disqualified when his time ran out.

Matos angrily questioned the call, pushed a judge, then pushed and kicked the referee, Chakir Chelbat of Sweden. Matos then spat on the floor and was escorted out.

Although the arena announcer said Matos and his coach were banned effective immediately, Yang said due process must be followed before officially banning the two. My take: you don’t kick a referee, plain and simple. Especially when it’s the Olympics. Come on! Can’t we all just get along! Thoughts?

Sources: No Proof Chinese Team Cheated in Gymnastics

August 22, 2008

We may finally have an answer to a question which has been highly debated since the Summer Olympics began: How old are the Chinese gymnasts and are they old enough to compete? Unfortunately for some, this may not be the answer which was hoped for.

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (GERMANY)

Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson Credit: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (GERMANY)

From MSNBC:

Despite persistent questions about the ages of several members of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team that won the gold medal, the International Olympic Committee said Friday there is still no proof anyone cheated and believes the controversy will be “put to rest.”

The IOC asked the International Gymnastics Federation to investigate “what have been a number of questions and apparent discrepancies,” spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. But all of the information the Chinese gymnastics federation has presented so far supports its insistence that its athletes were old enough to compete.

If the federation had found evidence that the gymnasts were underage, it could have affected four of China’s medals. In addition to the team gold and He Kexin’s gold on bars, Yang Yilin won bronze medals in the all-around and uneven bars.

Chinese coach Lu Shanzhen told The Associated Press they gave the FIG new documents on Thursday to try to remove any doubts about He’s age, including an old passport, residency card and her current ID card.

It has been an interesting time at the Olympics for the Chinese gymnastics team. Internet records and media reports suggest three Chinese gymnasts might be as young as 14. A gymnast must be 16 years old in an Olympic year to compete at the games. But questions about the ages of at least three of the athletes have persisted. I cannot say for certain if any of the gymnasts are underage. But after reading the media reports, and seeing the gymnasts on television, I have a hard time believing that a few of them are 16 years of age. Thoughts?

IOC To Investigate Chinese Gymnasts

August 22, 2008

The rumors of underage Chinese gymnasts may end up being true according to a report from the New York Times.

From the article:

The International Olympic Committee has asked the world governing body for gymnastics to investigate whether members of the Chinese women’s team were too young to compete in the Olympics.

The I.O.C. instructed the international gymnastics federation, known as F.I.G., to take up the issue with the Chinese gymnastics federation and report back to the I.O.C. later Friday.

The New York Times reported last month that online records listing Chinese gymnasts and their ages that were posted on official Web sites in China, along with ages given in the official Chinese news media, indicated that members of the team might be as young as 14. A gymnast must turn 16 in the year of the Olympics to compete in the Games. Chinese officials responded by providing copies of passports indicating that the athletes in question were eligible.

According to online sports registration lists in China, half the team — He Kexin, Yang Yilin, Jiang Yuyuan — would be under age. The F.I.G., however, has said that those gymnasts were eligible and that the ages on their passports were correct.

If members of the team are found to be underage, they will be disqualified and stripped of the medals they have won at the 2008 games. The Americans would be awarded the all-around gold and Nastia Liukin would take the gold in the uneven bars. Sounds like this could be great news for the Americans including Liukin, Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson. Thoughts?

Major Softball Upset: Japan Defeats Team USA

August 21, 2008

It looked like it might happen earlier in the week and now Japan has finally done it. The U.S. softball team was denied a chance for a fourth straight gold medal Thursday, beaten 3-1 by Japan in what will be the sport’s last appearance in the Olympics for at least eight years.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

From the Associated Press:

Yukiko Ueno, Japan’s remarkably resilient right-hander, shut down the Americans and handed them their first loss since Sept. 21, 2000 at the Sydney Games. The U.S. had won 22 straight since then, most of them with outrageously lopsided scores.

Another gold was certainly within reach. Instead, they walked off Fengtai Field with their heads bowed.

The U.S. team never led and made two uncharacteristic errors in the seventh inning to help the Japanese add an important insurance run—one they didn’t even need.

When Caitlin Lowe grounded to third for the final out, Vicky Galindo, who led off the U.S. team’s seventh inning with a pinch-hit single, wrapped her hands over her helmet and cringed.

Moments later, U.S. coach Mike Candrea huddled his stunned players, many of whom couldn’t even look up. Lowe choked back tears as slugger Crystl Bustos tried to console her overwhelmed teammates.

Bustos, who homered in the fourth for the Americans’ only run, was first in line to congratulate the Japanese players. As she shook hands with the U.S. team, Japan catcher Yukiyo Mine was overcome by tears.

What a great win for Japan but a devastating loss for the US team. This was the first Olympic loss by the US since 2000 and was most shocking as coming into the game, Team USA had outscored opponents by a 59-2 score.

Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor Win Beach Volleyball Gold

August 21, 2008
Nir Elias / Reuters

Credit: Nir Elias / Reuters

The beach volleyball team of Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor has won the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Walsh and May defeated the team of Jie Wang and Jia Tian in two sets, 21-18, 21-18.

From the Associated Press:

Walsh and May-Treanor, who did not lose a single set in Beijing, extended their winning streak to 108 matches in a row.

Walsh put an early end to China’s chances to add a gold when she quick-hit May-Treanor’s pass between Wang and Tian. The Americans dropped to their knees on the wet sand, hugging each other before shaking hands with the officials and running to the stands to embrace their friends and families.

They were still celebrating, wrapping themselves in U.S. flags, as organizers worked through the rain to set up the podium for the medal ceremony.

Earlier Thursday, Xue Chen and Zhang Xi won China’s first beach volleyball medal, beating Brazilians Talita and Renata 21-19, 21-17 for the bronze.