- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 13, 2008

DAY 4 RECAP

With 18,000 jovial fans cheering them on, the Chinese men’s gymnastics team rolled over the competition in the team finals. China lapped the field, winning by 7.25 points over Japan. The United States won bronze. The Chinese ranked first in five of the events, struggling only on floor exercise. Although it has won the last two world titles, this was the first time since 1984 that it claimed a medal in team competition.

• The Olympics has its first judges-are-favoring-the-home-team issue, and it comes from — shocker — boxing. British fighter Joe Murray said his Chinese opponent was given unfair points in a 17-7 match. Coach Terry Edwards agreed and called the scores “absolutely stupid.” A Ukrainian fighter lost his protest of a decision in his loss to another Chinese boxer. At least nobody had to be carried out of the ring.

• Some loose lips are putting the opening ceremony in a different light. Organizers confirmed that some of the fireworks display featured prerecorded footage for television. Though the fireworks were real, some of the footage shown to viewers and on stadium screens featured a computer-generated 3D image. U.S. viewers probably don’t care — 34.2 million tuned in Friday night.

TUESDAY’S BEST

Michael Phelps made it 3-for-3, and he joined elite company in doing so. With nine Olympic golds, he is tied with four athletes (including Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis) for most all time. With 11 medals, he is tied for first among U.S. men with Spitz, Lewis and shooter Carl Osburn. He has five events remaining.

• Houston’s Glenn Eller won the gold medal in double trap shooting on Tuesday. The event uses a shotgun, and at each shooting station, two clay disks are flung into the air and eventually travel at 50 mph. Eller’s score of 190 set an Olympic record by one target. A three-time Olympian who is a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Ga., this is Eller’s first medal.

• Without its two best gymnasts — twin brothers Paul and Morgan Hamm — and in sixth place starting the day, the U.S. men’s team rallied to capture the bronze medal. The team, all Olympic rookies, performed well on the rings and high bar and got a medal-securing performance from Alex Artemev on the pommel horse.

BLOG EXCERPT

Visit Ryan O’Halloran’s Blog of the Rings throughout the Olympics at washingtontimes.com/weblogs/blogs-rings.

Sir Scribble ventured outside the Olympic Green for an event for the first time this week — most of his time has been spent at the pool or at the gymnastics venue.

The bus ride from the Main Press Center went straight south to Wukesong Indoor Stadium, site of the basketball competition. Observations from the 40-minute trip:

• Black Audis must be a status symbol. They’re all over the place.

• Most cars have four tinted windows.

• The Olympic Lane is always clear of cars (just like the HOV lane on the Dulles Toll Road, Scrib is told), but the bus drivers go well below the speed limit.

• Scrib sees a lot of KFCs. He’s told the Chinese love fried chicken. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Subway sandwich shops, and — this is almost tragic — there aren’t any Bonefish Grills, either.

• A shiny office building had a sign that read, “Green Beautiful Business Building.” It was in red lettering.

• There are mountains to the west. Scrib only discovered this Monday when rain cleared out the smog.

• The Olympic officials aren’t too far off on their estimated time of travel. The media book said 38 minutes — it was 41 after the driver made a wrong maneuver.

• And not that it pertains to the trip, but Chinese fans adore Kobe.

HANDING OUT THE MEDALS

Winners aren’t the only ones who deserve medals in Beijing. Who merited what from the Olympics.

GOLD MEDAL

Bob Malaythong

United States, badminton

The Rockville native teamed with Howard Bach to become the first U.S. men’s doubles badminton team to advance to the quarterfinals.

SILVER MEDAL

Alex Artemev

United States, gymnastics

Two months ago in Philadelphia, he fell off the pommel horse and made the team only because of injury. On Tuesday, he nailed the same routine to secure a team bronze medal.

BRONZE MEDAL

Coca-Cola, GE, etc.

Out-of-touch sponsors

They’re complaining because the vast Olympic Green is deserted unless there’s an event. Only ticket holders get into the Green. Hey, suits, what did you expect — free reign to come and go?

DON’T MISS THIS …

Three things from Beijing that are worth following Wednesday

1. WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Who knew Mali had a basketball team? It plays the United States in the third pool game for both teams. Mali is located in central Africa with Algeria to the north and Niger to the east.

2. TENNIS

It’s on at some point during MSNBC’s 12 hours of daily coverage, and some pretty high quality hard-court tennis is being played by some of the world’s best.

3. SOFTBALL

For the night owls, the United States faces Australia at midnight. The United States opened play by setting a record for runs in an 11-0 rout of Venezuela that featured three homers and a combined no-hitter.

CHINA FACT OF THE DAY

To get a driver’s license, a person must have a medical checkup, a written exam, complete a technical course, pass two driving tests and pay for a certified course that involves 58 hours of training.

THE CLOSING LINE

“This bronze medal feels like gold to me.”

— Men’s gymnast Alex Artemev after his pommel horse routine clinched third place for the United States

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