Friday, July 18, 2008

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games posters available July 20

Zhao Yanxia, deputy director of BOCOG Culture and Ceremonies Department, pointed out that Olympic and Paralympic posters are an important part of promoting the appeal of the Games, as well as highlighting Olympic host cities, acting as "a visual representation of commerce and culture."

Beijing Olympic victory ceremony components unveiled

With the Beijing Olympic Games 22 days away, BOCOG unveiled the components of the victory ceremony for the Games, including the victory podium and certificates as well as the hostess dresses and flowers for winners on Thursday night.

Designers made efforts to combine traditional Chinese elements with the modern Olympic spirit.

Five series of costumes, featuring white, blue, green and pink, all widely used colors in China, have been designed for 302 Olympic victory ceremonies and 472 Paralympic victory ceremonies.

The victory podium is dominated by yellow, a color symbolizing honor and respect, and elements of "lucky clouds" that characterize a number of Beijing Olympic symbols.

Organizers have chosen brocade, silk and Chinese art paper produced in Xuancheng, Anhui Province, as materials for victory certificates, in view of their nobility and durability. Unearthed relics show that these materials can last as long as over a thousand years.

The rose will be the main flower for the victory ceremony. The red flower is among the top ten flowers in China and the city flower of more than 50 cities in the country.

Swedish hurdler Kallur to skip Paris race to focus on Olympics

Susanna Kallur, two-time winner in the 100-meter hurdle race of the European Indoor Championships, said she will pull out of the Golden League competition in Paris on July 18 due to a shin injury, according to the official website of Yahoo Sports.

Kallur is a talented sprinter who has won several international medals and holds the world indoor record on 60-meter hurdles at 7.68 seconds, according to the official website of International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). She has dual citizenship because she was born in the USA, but is now a resident of Sweden. In January of 2007, she won the Jerring Award, which was voted on by the people of Sweden, as the best sports person in Sweden.

Kallur failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, so it is likely that she will make every effort to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Her manager, Daniel Wessfeldt, was quoted on the ESPN website as saying Kallur is now focused on the Olympics and doesn't want to take any risks while recovering from the injury.

Yet Wessfeldt added Kallur would aim to compete in the DN-Galan Super Grand Prix race in Stockholm on July 22 in order to prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games on August.

Achilleos' shooting hits golden target in Belgrade

Georgios Achilleos grabbed the gold in the men's skeet event of the ISSF World Cup Belgrade 2008 with an final score of 149 hits, one target short of tying the world record.

"I am so close, the record will come!" said the gold medalist from Cyprus after the match.

The silver went to 47-year-old Athens Olympic champion Andrea Benelli after a three-way shoot-off. The Italian athlete made a shocking statement after claiming his medal: "My last World Cup, my last medal. I will quit after the Olympics, and this time I am for real."

Two young shooters, 27-year-old Achilleos and 23-year-old Anthonis Terras of France, entered the final with a tied score of 124 hits.

Currently ranked the world's number one shooter, Achilleos, who missed only one target in the qualification rounds, missed no more in the final, finishing in first with a total score of 149 hits

"I am happy of this gold medal, it means something on the road to Beijing. I am preparing myself, and I will not take part in the European Championships in Cyprus, next July. I want to peak for the Olympics," commented the champion.

As Terras tied Benelli and Czech shooter Jan Sychra with a final score of 148 hits, a shoot-off was needed to decide who the silver and bronze medalists would be. Sychra left the competition at the second target with 148 + 1 hits. Benelli and Terras carried on until the 10th pair, when Terras missed, giving the silver to Benelli.

The men's skeet final concluded the last World Cup for this year.

British Olympic Shooting team roster announced

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has selected the members of its Shooting team for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The athletes are:

John Hammon for 50m Rifle Prone (Men), 50m Rifle Three Positions (men), Air Rifle;

Richard Faulds and Steve Scott for Double Trap (Men): Richard Faulds;

Charlotte Kerwood for Trap (Women);

Elena Little for Skeet (Women)

The Great Britain Olympic Shooting squad includes four new Olympians, the youngest being 22. Faulds, a three-time Olympic veteran, shot gold in Sydney 2000.

The Shooting events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics are scheduled for August 9 to 17.

British olympic Team swimming coach named

British Swimming has appointed former American national team director Dennis Pursley as the new national head coach.

Pursley, who takes charge in October, has been given the task of leading British swimming to the 2012 Olympics.

"I'm delighted to have someone of Dennis's calibre leading our efforts," said national performance director Michael Scott.

"He's got an impeccable record around the globe and led the US to new heights when leading their Olympic teams."

The newly defined role will see him working with Intensive Training Centres and coaches around the country, rather than individual athletes.

"He will become the technical leader and will work in partnership with myself as NPD to deliver the best results," said Scott.

"He's personally coached some outstanding swimmers and the record books reflect this. I'm looking forward to working with him in the future as we take British swimming to a new level."

Pursley, who said he was "excited and honoured by the opportunity," spent 14 years as national team director of USA Swimming, during which time they topped both the men's and women's medal tables in each of the three Olympics.

Michael Phelps eyes eight gold medals at Beijing Olympics

The superstar started swimming at the age of seven, encouraged into the sport by his family as a way to control his attention deficit disorder. At 15 he participated in the 2000 Sydney Olympics where he ranked 5th in the 200m butterfly. Only months later he broke the event record at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, thus starting his career of record breaking which includes top times in the 400m individual medley, 200m individual medley and 100m butterfly. At the 2007 world championships Phelps won seven gold medals and broke five world records.

Making his start at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, the hometown hero is affectionately nicknamed "The Baltimore Bullet." After the 2004 Olympics, Phelps followed his longtime coach Bob Bowman to the University of Michigan where he joined Club Wolverine. As a star swimmer he helped to found the "Swim with the Stars" program to promote the sport of swimming in the United States.

Phelps has long been compared to legendary swimmer Mark Spitz, who won seven gold medals in the 1974 Olympics. With eight gold medals up for grabs in Beijing he has a good shot at beating Spitz's record and becoming one of the most decorated Olympians in history.