Croatia Gets a Gymnastics Silver! Tuesday, Aug 19 2008 

Čestitam!

Croatia picked up its second Olympic medal, and its first ever in gymnastics! I haven’t had time to watch any of the games the last few days, so I was pretty darn surprised to see Croatia got a silver in gymnastics, apparently on pommel horse (errr, I might have mispelled that). Here are a couple of links to articles. In English you’re only going to get articles that mention the Croat in the context of the Brit’s bronze win, but I also have one Croatian-language article below…for the rare visitor koji razumije hrvatski. Please post a comment if you know where to find online footage of the performance. Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear right away — I have to approve first-time commenters and I’m going to be out of town for a while.

The Guardian

BBC

Jutarnji list — this one actually has a still from his performance, which indeed looks impressive. Also a closeup of his face…also nice to look at.  😉

Mongolia’s First Gold Thursday, Aug 14 2008 

Read about Mongolia’s celebrations of its first ever gold medal. Congratulations, Mongolia!

Underaged Chinese Gymnasts? Wednesday, Aug 13 2008 

So, in (God help me!) my final Olympics posting for the night, I just heard Bela Karolyi saying that he believes the Chinese women’s (girls’!) gymnastics team may be under the required age of 16 (which is a relatively recent rule change). So I looked around online, and turns out that’s not just him saying that, there’s a lot of speculation about it. Now China, who blocks free use of the internet and won’t allow Google to operate there unless they block searches on things like democracy (I’m sure I don’t have the details right, but you remember that controversy), would never, never, fake documentation of age, would it? They are desperate to win the medal count, even figured out their required number of medals to win…I don’t doubt they would do it for a second. Earlier in the evening I was noticing one girl in particular looked really small. Not thin, just really small.

Well, who knows.

Anyway, here are some of the interesting articles I found:

NYT: Athletes Only as Old as China Says They Are (aka “turn a blind eye”)

IHT: Records suggest Chinese gymnasts might be underage (aka “guilty, guilty, guilty)

National Post: China, IOC deny charges of underage gymnasts (aka “who, us?”)

China Pays People to Attend Olympic Events Wednesday, Aug 13 2008 

Maybe this is normal, I don’t know, but it looks to me like old school Communist propaganda, really even propaganda that pre-dates Communism, stuff that makes me think of the old “Potemkin village” thing.

Apparently unhappy that there are empty seats at some venues, China has been paying people to attend.

Togo Wins its First Olympic Medal! Wednesday, Aug 13 2008 

I’m a sucker for stories like this. In the US and I’m sure in other big medal-winning countries we take for granted that we’re going to win and win big. But for most of the world’s countries there will be no medals. When they win one it is BIG! Front page news! And a very first medal…? WOW! Go Togo!

I am watching the women’s (girls’!) gymnastics right now and it’s so painful — I like gymnastics a lot, but it’s all about catching every single mistake, and there have been some big ones for the USA. It’s stressful to watch! The first woman to go had a couple of big mistakes and she just clearly was fighting off tears afterward and the cameras followed her mercilessly, right in her face. I felt so bad for her. Can’t she just have a little privacy to deal with her reactions? Tough stuff. Chin up, USA women’s gymnastics! You are doing things I couldn’t dream of! Go USA!

Seven-Year-Old Not Pretty Enough to Sing for China Tuesday, Aug 12 2008 

And we thought obsession with looks was over the top in America!

The little girl who sang in China’s impressive opening ceremonies was actually lip-synching. The SEVEN-YEAR-OLD actual singer was not considered pretty enough. Can you even imagine?

Read about it here.