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D.C. Sports Bog: August 10, 2008 - August 16, 2008

This Week's Top 10 WaPo Sports Stories: Oly Wins

This week's most popular sports topic: Beijing's empty stands. (By Adam Pretty - Getty) For the first time since training camp began, the Redskins burgundyclad grip on this list has been broken. And all it took was 17 Olympics staffers in Beijing, non-stop Olympics coverage on NBC, daily Olympics...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 16, 2008; 4:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Media, Olympics  
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Athlete Falls, Media Pounces

Jefferson Perez is sometimes described as Ecuador's greatest athlete. The former Olympic gold medalist race walker and a three-time world champion completed his the 20k race today, finishing with a silver to end his Olympic career. He walked back into the maze-like mixed zone, where his first stop was...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 16, 2008; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Media, Olympics  
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Bolt: Happiness Trumps Time

When I got on a media shuttle in the early morning hours on Sunday, I ran into a Scandinavian journalist who's staying in our hotel. He asked if I saw Usain Bolt smash the world record in tonight's 100-meter dash. I had, of course; the Olympic channel in our office...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 16, 2008; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Jenn Stuczynski is the Pride of Fredonia, NY

A Fredonian in the Olympics. (By Julie Jacobson - AP) The stories crop up every two years. Dateline: Quaintville, USA. Watch the send-off rally organized by the smiling politicians. See the red-white-and-blue bunting, the children lining the streets and waving signs. Read the local newspaper stories about how dang...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 16, 2008; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Kobe is Beijing's Borf

Before I get nasty comments from Borf lovers, sure, a few scattered bits of magic marker do not graffiti genius make, but still, the first thing you notice when you arrive outside the hotel Team USA is staying in (well, besides the security) is the Kobe Bryant graffiti love....

By Dan Steinberg  | August 16, 2008; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  NBA, Olympics  
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Links Only a Mother Could Love

Lindsay Applebaum here, with an assortment of ridiculous Olympics-related links: - Deion Sanders and Nastia Liukin spend the day together. Click only if you have a high threshold for painfully awkward moments. (Fourth-Place Medal) - The Ravens love Michael Phelps right back. (Ticket to Beijing) - The Michael Phelps backlash...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | August 16, 2008; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Judo's Mark Mangino

This is the coach of Cuba's women's judo team coach. His name is Ronaldo Veitia. He's my favorite coach of the Olympics. The coaches are the hidden stars of the Olympic events. The athletes are often stoic, and when they get excited and happy, they're often scary, muscles and...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 16, 2008; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Signs of the Games: Forget it, Jake

I hope I'm not somehow being offensive here, but I just don't quite get this one. I see it every time I take a bus ride back to our office from the water polo natatorium and/or handball gymnasium, which is more frequently than you might think. It's part of...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 16, 2008; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Olympic Athletes Bartering for Knock-Off Clothes

Venezuelan swimmer Octavio Andres Alesi Gonzalez's technique to ward off aggressive salespersons. When I walked into the Silk Street Market this afternoon, the first thing I saw was Brazilian swimmer Henrique Barbosa, with a Silk Street Market employee pawing at the pins on his Olympic lanyard. "It's mine!" she...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 15, 2008; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Getting Meta With Scorpions on Sticks

Random Irish man eats silkworms for American blogger. Foreign media doing scorpions-on-sticks pieces is just about the lamest form of journalism imaginable. It's hackneyed, cliched, predictable and useless. It relies entirely on the gross-out factor, and is basically Fear Factor on location. It creates an image of life in...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 15, 2008; 2:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Beer and Cheese, Olympics  
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A Night of Travel in Beijing

Beijing subway, leaving land of scorpions on sticks, 10:15 pm, Friday night. Written in a state of mild and sweaty delirium. Please exclude the self-indulgence. Possibly there will be actual Olympics posts today. Possibly not. I left the land of pop-a-shot basketball and fried scorpions and sheep penis on...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 15, 2008; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Olympic Links of the Day

Ni hao, Internet. Lindsay Applebaum here, with some top-notch Olympic linkage. - Chad Johnson knows "a couple" people who could beat Michael Phelps. . .and Ocho Cinco happens to be one of them. (Fourth-Place Medal) - The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke takes on China in ping-pong. (Ticket to Beijing) -...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | August 15, 2008; 12:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Reese Hoffa's Parlor Trick

If you've looked at any coverage of Olympic shot putter Reese Hoffa within the past 12 months, you're probably seen his famous parlor trick. Why should this source be any different? I spent 120 seconds or so with Hoffa a few months back, and he showed me his skills. Hoffa...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 15, 2008; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Healthy Tourism

More advice: don't bring any of this stuff into a venue. Especially the bags of drugs and hand grenades. I've gotten a surprising number of messages from Americans who are coming to Beijing and want advice or guidance on navigating this city and its venues. Luckily, someone in our...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 15, 2008; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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What a Chinese Olympic Rain Delay Feels Like

Olympic folks drying off baseball seats. There simply aren't many better ways to spend an afternoon than beneath the stadium canopy at an Olympic baseball game with 200 people you've never met, watching sheets of rain fall from the sky while listening to a soft jazz version of "Sweet...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 3:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  MLB, Olympics  
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Touching a Silver Medal

Brazilian judo player Tiago Camilo lets fans fondle his bronze medal. We've reached the point of the Olympics where you get to run into random athletes wearing medals around their neck. Or, more accurately, you get to run into random athletes putting their medals around their necks for the...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 3:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Olympic Link Field Trip

Expert link-finder Lindsay Applebaum here, with some must-click (if you're bored) links. Buckle up. - Poor, sad Kobe Bryant and his hard-knock basketball career. (Ticket to Beijing) - Curse of the Gillette ad strikes again. (Rings) - Andrea Joyce eats gymnasts for breakfast. (Deadspin) - Eight [boring] things you might...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | August 14, 2008; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Fans Invite Craig Sager to Karaoke Night

You're lucky they haven't invented scratch-and-sniff Web photos. Nine facts from today's basketball action that you (probably) won't read about in (most) normal places. 1) During and after Craig Sager's post-game interviews with the U.S. team, he was serenaded by a few throaty young American kids in the stands...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 1:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  NBA, Olympics  
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Singing Dutch Fans: The Video

I guess this video is already floating around somewhere on our site, but just to make it official, here is the footage of our Dutch rowing/judo friends I met yesterday, singing a football anthem. The part where they demonstrate their technique shotgunning beers was left on the cutting room...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Olympics  
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DeShawn Is a Music Star

Well, I can basically guarantee that I was the only person inside the Olympic Basketball Gymnasium watching a music video of DeShawn Stevenson's YouTube lip sync debut during the USA-Greece game. But the other thousands of hoops fans were not seeing nearly the entertainment that I was. The description calls...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Wizards  
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USA Beats Greece, 92-69

[Live blogging the U.S.-Greece men's basketball game] Here's how you know when the Redeem Salim Teamers have clinched victory in the Olympics this time around: when Tayshaun Prince peels off the warm-ups. Today, that moment came with 6:33 left in the game. The lineup for much of the fourth quarter...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 9:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
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USA 74-54 After Three Quarters

[Live blogging the U.S.-Greece men's basketball game] The Kareem Teamers can bring this Olympic Basketball Gymnasium to life when they're doing their fast-break twirling-dunk routine, but they can also put the gym to sleep when they're up 20 against a raggedy Greek team in the third quarter. It would not...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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USA 51-32 at Halftime

[Live blogging the U.S.-Greece men's basketball game] Well, so much for that. The Americans haven't looked great, but the Greeks have looked considerably worse, and are struggling both to handle the ball and to shoot it. They also look completely undone by the athletic U.S. defense, which means this could...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 8:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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USA 20-16 After One Quarter Against Greece

[Live blogging the U.S.-Greece men's basketball game] Well, this could be interesting. The so-called Redeem Team continues to play as if all the talk of reestablishing international dominance was mere offseason jabber. The Americans have shown no inclination to make a perimeter shot (aside from one Carmelo Anthony three-pointer), are...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 8:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
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USA Baseball Wins, Bizarrely

The stands just before the second rain delay of U.S.-Netherlands baseball. By the end, they were emptier. The U.S. baseball team won a 7-0 decision over the Netherlands today, with Stephen Strasburg throwing seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball, left fielder Matt LaPorta contributing a three-run homer and Washington...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 6:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Olympics  
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These Olympic Stands Sure Are Full

Yeah, this is somewhat of a cheap shot, or shots, I guess. During the above photo, it was raining lightly in the ninth inning of a U.S. rout over the Netherlands. We had already sat through a rain delay of well over an hour. But it wasn't really that...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 14, 2008; 6:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Evander Holyfield at Club Bud

From left, tennis player Casey Dellacqua, Evander Holyfield, random Australians. Here's the other thing about being at Beijing in the Olympics--and I know I've made this point before, but it's no less true today than it was last week or than it will be next Thursday: at some point,...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 13, 2008; 2:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Fighting Sports, Olympics  
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Live From the Heineken House

The Heineken House, from the outside. Here's the thing about being at the Olympics in Bejing: at some point or other, you can pretty much count on running into the male spouses of the Aussie women's basketball team, dressed like Australian Rules Football players, at a Dutch bar, where...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 13, 2008; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Olympic Linkfest

Lindsay "Bonita Appleblog" Applebaum here, with the latest installment of "Links I Found by Googling Random Words With Olympics." - Brits lack personal hygiene and a sense of humor. (The Guardian) - Michael Phelps and primates do the same happy dance. (L.A. Times) - Dwyane Wade gets lost in pronunciation....

By Lindsay Applebaum  | August 13, 2008; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Olympics  
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America's Vegan MMA Judo Sweetheart

Your Olympic bronze medalist, as pictured on her blog. A few minutes after Ronda Rousey became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo, she was asked what she would do next. "What am I gonna do?" she repeated. "As of right now I am a...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 13, 2008; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Dutch Fans Invade Judo Venue

Dutch rowing fans at judo venue. I was explaining to some Dutch judo fans this afternoon how I was basically in Beijing to write less about the athletes and more about the idiots. "You won't find them bigger than us, idiot-wise," Job de Bondt said. Right then. So a...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 13, 2008; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
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Judo Fans Get Creative

Spanish judo fan Raul Fuentes. Having previously maligned some of the cheering sections at Olympic events, I'll go ahead and say that the judo crowds have been great. The huge Dutch contingent was solid, as usual, with full-throated singing. The South Koreans were thundersticky but also loud. The Spaniards...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 13, 2008; 7:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Olympics Get Thunderstuck

Rowing volunteer fans with white Thundersticks. (By Al Bello - Getty) My colleague Amy Shipley wrote a must-read story for Wednesday's paper about the attendance problem at many of the Olympic venues, and the corresponding presence of hundreds of yellow-shirted official volunteers in the stands as place-holders. It's a...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 12, 2008; 11:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Olympics  
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Chinese State Humor Writers Rule

Tiny singer wins heart of nation. (Xinhua) One of the simple joys of life in Beijing is picking up a copy of the English language state paper, the China Daily, to read the Olympic coverage. Just about every story in every section is about how frickin awesome!!!!! these Olympics...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 12, 2008; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
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Lucky Mustaches, Lucky Hair

(By Eric Gay - AP) The above photo is already two days old, but it's still pretty awesome: Dirk and friends, all ringed-out. The problem is, the German basketball team hasn't been particularly hysterical in discussing their wondrous hair choices. The Croatian water polo team, on the other hand,...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 12, 2008; 2:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Searching for the Redeem Team at Block 8

I'm actually here, right this second, as I type. It's hot. Like, the temperature. For those of you who have never been, this is what the Olympics are like, in exactly 500 words. I'm writing this from the fourth floor patio of a Beijing club called Block 8. The...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 12, 2008; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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The Objective German Media

Why, look who's waiting to speak with Germany's Dirk Nowitzki in the media mixed zone. Oddly, it's Dirk's biggest fan! This ought to be a hard-hitting interview!...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 12, 2008; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Carmelo Met Some Archers

But first, a word about the sporadic and bizarre nature of these videos. The rule, as I understand it, as that I'm allowed allowed to take video from inside the Main Press Center. Very few international delegations use the MPC during the Games, although the Americans have press conferences here...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 12, 2008; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
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Lloy Ball, Tattoos and Capricious Youth

Lloy Ball and his tattoos. (Reuters file) The U.S. men's volleyball team has its share of characters, but media folks aren't going there after this month's events. I spent a few minutes with longtime setter Lloy Ball last week, before things turned tragic, but I obviously didn't want to...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 12, 2008; 7:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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Tix Scam and Coach K on Treadmill

Jeff Horowitz, left, Coley Dale and a new friend. The odd thing about the Olympics is that every single person you meet has a minimum of two amazingly bizarre Olympic stories to tell. I'm pretty sure this is a hard-and-fast rule. Like, the parents of the Swedish handball players...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 12, 2008; 1:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Gilbert on the Street Corner

Having already sampled artisanal yak cheese this afternoon, I decided to go visit the boxing venue for the first time, because nothing pairs with artisanal yak cheese like bleeding Eastern Europeans. But before I could make it from the subway station to the gymnasium, I saw a newsstand selling...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 11, 2008; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Olympics, Wizards  
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Sampling Yak Cheese at the Olympics

Mary Carillo samples yak cheese with Ritz cracker. The L.A. Times's Bill Plaschke has already eaten animal penis at these Games. NBC's Mary Carillo has already filmed a package on sampling scorpions and seahorses on sticks. But, as far as I know, I was the first American sportswriter to...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 11, 2008; 1:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Beer and Cheese, Olympics  
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Olympic Links of the Day

Lindsay Applebaum here with some Olympic-related linkage to share, because I'm feeling generous. Must be that beautiful Olympic spirit. . . - Ralph Lauren embarrasses America with lame outfits. (Gawker) - Some of the Opening Ceremony's fireworks were fake! China, we may one day find it in our hearts to...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | August 11, 2008; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Bud Lights and Blondes: Five Minutes With Craig Sager

Craig Sager's Olympic outfit. Anyone watching NBC's coverage of Olympic basketball has already taken note of the dramatically drab outfits Craig Sager has been wearing. Khaki slacks and sky blue polos, just like all the other NBC employees. This is not the real Craig Sager; this is some sanitized,...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 11, 2008; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
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Why Americans Like Women's Gymnastics

A few days ago, a foreign writer came into our media-center office and asked us which American athlete was poised to become America's sweetheart this month. The implication was that this sweetheart would be of the female persuasion. We all thought about it, and then all of us said Shawn...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 11, 2008; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
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LeBron Addresses Bush 41

(By Eric Gaillard - Reuters) The Olympics are just four days old, but the best quote of the Games has already been uttered, and there is a 0.000000 chance that it will be topped. This from colleague Michael Abramowitz's Style Section story about the Bush Fam this morning. Meeting...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 11, 2008; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
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China Dominates Shaved Head Race

At USA-China men's hoops. (By Jonathan Newton - TWP) While the mainstream press focuses on China's unprecedented push atop the medals table, the unreported story continues to fester like an oozing patch of razor burn: the Chinese are crushing the West in shaved headed creativity. My shaved head coverage...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 11, 2008; 7:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Chris Kaman is Germany's Barber

The Chris-Kaman created hair of Tim Ohlbrecht. (By Hannibal Hanschke - Reuters) U.S. citizen and German basketball center Chris Kaman spoke at great length to the U.S. media this morning after the Germans crushed Angola. Kaman, of course, is new to the German national team, and in coming days,...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 4:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Olympic Basketball vs. NBA Basketball

Inflatable Olympic mascots. Midway through the first half of the Argentina-Lithuania men's basketball game, it became clear that something was seriously amiss with Olympic roundball. The between-quarter entertainment started promisingly enough: two bizarre Olympic mascots ran out on the court, accompanied by the same sort of chipper young uniformed...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
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Links That Will Make You Proud to Be an American*

Washington-based Beijing Sports Smog Special Correspondent Lindsay Applebaum here with an assortment of Olympic-related links: - The Bush Olympic Buffoonery Tour continues. (Fourth-Place Medal) - Chinese sports journalists have way more fun in the press box than American sports journalists do. (Ticket to Beijing) - Oh, say can you. ....

By Lindsay Applebaum  | August 10, 2008; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Olympics  
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USA Beats China in Mother of All Games (Updated)

The U.S. men easily dispatched China, 101-70, in the opening (BASKETBALL) game of the Olympics for both teams. The Chinese hung around early and were still within 12 at halftime to the massive delight of the home crowd, but predictably withered under full-court pressure and full-court athleticism in the second...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  NBA, Olympics  
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USA 74-48 After Three

Very little heckling at the cleverly named Olympic Basketball Gymnasium. The monotony of the cheers is maddening. What happened to the Greeks with their bass drums and the Lithuanians with their swaying Slavic melodies? I miss them. For a hyped game with a packed crowd, two U.S. Presidents and an...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 11:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  NBA, Olympics  
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USA 49-37 at Halftime

Shockingly, the Americans have still failed to pull away from China and its delirious jiayou-ing crowd. It's 49-37 at the half. But at least there's running and gunning, which the previous games here at the cleverly named Olympic Basketball Gymnasium were severely lacking....

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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USA 20-16 After One Quarter

The Chinese have certainly been game, hitting three early three-pointers--including one by Yao--to send the crowd into a frenzy. A few of the arena volunteers cheered Yao's long-distance shot, only to be reprimanded by their supervisors. Apparently volunteers here are not supposed to cheer. One apologized to nearby media members....

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  NBA, Olympics  
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The Loudest Cheer?

By my ears, the loudest cheers were for Kobe, Yao and LeBron, in that order. The Kobe part of this list is unquestionable. He clearly is the biggest deal on that court, according to the crowd at the cleverly named Olympic Basketball Gymnasium. The Bushes are sitting with Jerry Colangelo,...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 10:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Jared Leto, President Bush and the Dream Team Arrive

Media members wait for the main event as the Croatia-Australia game winds down. More media members, freshly wet from continued showers, keep coming into the cleverly named Olympic Basketball Gymnasium. They've stopped allowing media into the media section unless they can point to a seat that they've previously claimed....

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 9:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  NBA, Olympics  
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USA-China Approaches

Kendrick Holmes, showing love for both teams. It's been pouring rain off and on in Beijing for a few hours, and the cleverly named Olympic Basketball Gymnasium is turning sloppy. Workers are patrolling the concourses with mops, fans are shedding ponchos, and the floor is squeaking. But there's a...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Lithuania's Fans Are Balling

Having seen four groups of men's basketball fans, as well as assorted women's handball fans, I'm ready to declare the Lithuanians the gold-medal fan favorites. For this guy above alone. Add in the fact that the Lithuanians just won their first game on a last-second shot from Montrose Christian's...

By Dan Steinberg  | August 10, 2008; 7:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  NBA, Olympics  
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