Wayne’s song inspires Phelps (Olympic side-lights)

August 17th, 2008 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 17 (IANS) American swimmer Michael Phelps’ signature used to be worth just $25 before the Beijing Olympics, but has shot up to $500 after his exploits here. This is expected to rise to $1,000 a signature, after he won his eighth gold medal at the Games Sunday.


Beauty with a spear

Paraguayan javelin thrower, Leryn Franco, may be the deadliest beauty at these Games. The athlete is among the most photographed and talked about athletes of the Games so far - and that may not even be for her event. Leryn is a former Miss Paraguay runner-up and also participated in Miss Bikini Universe competition in 2006. What about javelin throw? She was 42nd at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and supports her sporting ambition by modelling. “Modelling is a way for me to continue with my sport. The hours are flexible, and you can earn good money through photographic modelling and the catwalk,” she was reported as saying in China Daily.

China swathed in Olympic hues

Thirty small cabins have been set up at the Olympic Green in northern Beijing to showcase the cultural heritage of different parts of the country.

The show at the Olympic park has received about 50,000 visitors over the past few days, the Beijing News reported.

The show is open to athletes, officials and journalists attending the Games.

“Spectators can visit for free with venue tickets on the day of the event,” Kan Ke, deputy director of the Games’ cultural activities department, said.

Also, about 10,000 free tickets are distributed every day to Beijing residents.

There is also an afternoon parade with aerobics and hip-hop dance performances, and an evening show that includes singing and dancing.

“We have been practising for a month under intense heat, wearing heavy clothing,” Xiao Li, a performer in the parade show, said.

“But when I saw the enthusiastic crowd following us, I knew it was totally worthwhile.”


Beijing Olympic Village sets a new record

The Olympic Village here has set Olympic records for its service and “green” design, according to an official.

The 66-hectare village by Thursday had received 14,268 athletes and officials from 204 countries and regions. “Thanks to the efforts by the village’s service team, we have received 49 compliment letters and no complaints,” said Deng Yaping, the famed Olympic table tennis champion and deputy village head.

The village’s main dining hall received 18,634 diners Aug 8 when the opening ceremony was held. “It was the largest number in Olympic history. We served all the guests well during the peak hours,” she said.

Among the numerous choices, Beijing roast duck was the most popular among the “villagers,” Deng said. “We offered 300 ducks every day at the beginning, but now we raised the number to 600 to meet demand.”

The village received 62 state leaders and royals, the largest amount ever. The guests included French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, who lived in the village for three days, called the facility the “best” Olympic village in history.


Beijing Olympic medals

The medals for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are designed with inspiration coming from “bi”, China’s ancient jade piece inscribed with dragon pattern. The medals, made of gold and jade, symbolise nobility and virtue and embody traditional Chinese values of ethics and honour.

According to China Daily, the medals are 70mm in diameter and 6mm in thickness. On the front side, the medal adopts standard design prescribed by the International Olympic Committee. While on the back, the medal is inlaid with jade with the Beijing Games emblem engraved in the metal centerpiece.

The design inspiration of the medal hook derives from jade “huang”, a ceremonial jade piece with decoration of double dragon pattern and “Pu”, the reed mat pattern.

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