Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thurs 31 July 2008: Eight Days To Go!

Well there were a lot of stories surrounding the Olympics that were released today, making my best friend, at least for today.

Russian Track and Field Team Engulfed In Doping Controversy
The biggest story was that of the seven Russian track and field members that were suspended after an in-depth doping investigation that has been on-going for months. One of the bigger names to emerge from this investigation was 25-year-old Yelena Soboleva, the world indoor record holder in the 1500 meters.

"The International Assn. of Athletics Federation announced in a statement issued from its Monaco headquarters that the seven Russians had been accused of fraudulently substituting urine, the federation adding that its anti-doping officials deliberately stored and then re-tested samples using "comparative DNA techniques" -- the suggestion being that the samples contained shared DNA, an obvious impossibility."

The results of the investigation and the actions taken by the IAAF shows that the international governing body in athletics and Olympic organizers will take every necessary step to make the Beijing Olympics as clean as possible. This news comes on the heels of an announcement made by the IOC that approximately 4,500 doping tests will be held during the Beijing Olympics, a 25 percent increase from the number of tests done in Athens four years ago.

Seven Russian Track Stars Suspended After IAAF Investigation (NBC Olympics)

Details of the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony Leaked
So SBS, a South Korean television network that will be televising the games, had their cameras rolling on a rehearsal of the Opening Ceremonies. While the bigger secrets of how the flame will be lit and who will light the cauldron were still kept closely guarded, the video that SBS has taken hinted that these Opening Ceremonies may be the biggest show that any Olympic Games has ever seen.

"China's most famous film director, Zhang Yimou ("Raise the Red Lantern,'' "House of Flying Daggers''), spent the last three years designing the spectacle, trying to boil 5,000 years of Chinese history into a 50-minute show.

Undulating white columns apparently simulated a waterfall, and giant blue whales were projected onto the strips of roof bordering the opening of the top of the stadium. The video showed a giant blue-and-green illuminated globe on the floor of the stadium at one point.

The rehearsal included contemporary dancers dressed in black and others twirling ribbons, dozens of drummers, martial arts experts, and several colorfully dressed performers suspended by wires and floating above the audience.

One segment featured a half-dozen actors on a raised platform surrounded by hundreds of other performers, while cymbals clanged noisily in the tradition of Beijing opera."

It makes the hype for the Opening Ceremonies a little more exciting and at least we know what to expect somewhat. Looking back at past Opening Ceremonies, the drama that unfolds in the stadium always gets better as the years go on. I've noticed that it has gone longer too. Good luck to China when they try to fit 2,000 years of history into one historic night.

Details of Opening Ceremony Leaked (NBC Olympics)

USA Men's Basketball Dominates Turkey While USA Men's Soccer Draws With Ivory Coast

The American men defeated Turkey easily in the USA Men's Basketball Challenge being held in Macao, China while the soccer team held to a scoreless draw with the Ivory Coast at the ING Cup, and Olympic Warm-Up tournament being held in Hong Kong.

From :

"Head coach Peter Nowak used all 16 field players during the game, including a complete switch of his midfielders and forwards at halftime, getting a good look at nearly his entire Olympic roster. The two groups of attackers each created dangerous chances throughout the game, despite getting only one shot on goal."

The United States faces Cameroon in their final warm-up match on Saturday, August 2.

And this is from

"LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) combined for 37 points on 13-of-15 shooting as the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team (2-0) hounded Turkey for a 114-82 victory Thursday evening in the opening game of the USA Basketball International Challenge in Macao, China.

It was an impressive performance by James, who was selected Player of the Game. After missing the USA’s opening game on July 25 while shaking off a mild sprained ankle, James was back at full speed and scored 20 points and made 8-of-9 shots, including his only 3-pointer, and 3-of-4 free throws, while adding six rebounds, five steals and four assists in 22:31 of action."

The United States will play another exhibition against Lithuania, a team that the U.S. lost to in Athens, on Friday in Macao.

Other news:
It will be an all-MLS final in the Superliga competition after both the New England Revolution and the Houston Dynamo advanced past the semifinals earlier this week. Neither team gave up any goals in the semifinal round and they will both face each other in the final next Tuesday.

For more, log onto

Counting Down to NOW Sports' Coverage
I am in the midst of completing the live blogging schedule that will be done during the Olympic Games. I can confirm that our first live blog event will be the women's preliminary football (soccer) games on Wedesday, August 6. Check back soon for the complete schedule and remember, NOW Sports is your home for the latest blogging updates, news, results and TV listings for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad from Beijing, China.

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BEIJING 2008 Tentative NBC Schedule (BLOG POSTS BELOW...)