Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Rache and I took in a night of track and field last night at the Bird's Nest. It was really fun to get inside the Olympic Green after all of the hype we've been exposed to here this summer. Watching an Olympic track and field event is a lot like a 3, or perhaps 5, ring circus. There were often several events--discus, long jump, pole vault, steeple chase--all going on at the same time, often while the awards ceremony from a prior event was under way.
Highlights from the evening included seeing Jamaican sprinter Usain-The-Lightning-Bolt crush the competition, again, this time in the 200 meter quarterfinals, and seeing Lolo Jones do the same in the women's 100 meter hurdles warm up. Yet what made the evening truly unforgettable was seeing women's pole vaulting superstar Elena Isinbaeva clear 5.05 meters to set another world record!
Enclosed are some photos from the evening. Our seats were up near the rafters for the majority of the night, but towards the end of the evening--just before Isinbaeva attempted to set her 24th straight world record--we snuck down to just above track level.
Other Olympic Odds and Ends
Earlier in the eve. we watched through binoculars as Brazilian pole vaulter Fabiana Murer was throwing a fit about something.--At one point she stood in front of Chinese pole vaulter Gao Shuying physically barring her from her next vault. It turns out that someone misplaced one of Murer's poles and it was nowhere to be found. In the end, she had to use a longer pole than she wanted to and wasn't able to clear the bar in all subsequent attempts.
I missed this one watching CCTV, but my cousin Rob points out that the first US finisher in the woman's marathon on Monday was Blake Russell. I interviewed Blake, a resident of Marina, CA, a few years back for the Monterey County Weekly. As part of the interview she let me run with her for a 1/2 mile or so until she finished her warm up and left me in the dust. She seems to have overcome some nasty foot injuries from last year and hopefully we'll be hearing more from her again soon.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Rache and I were at a party hosted by the Jamaican Embassy the other night to watch Usain Bolt set another world record in the 100 meters. We watched on a giant projection screen as Bolt not only dusted the competition and set a new world record, but did so with one shoe untied and jogging the last 30 meters.
After the race we were all hanging out waiting for the second half of the evening's entertainment--Bob Marley's son, Julian, and his band--to show up .
There was a group of dreadlocked Rastas hanging out near the stage and, as this is a rather unusual sight in the PRC, I had Rache and a friend pose for a photo with them.
When the band started up we realized the guys they'd just had their picture taken with were Julian and his right hand man! (see photos). It was a pretty amazing concert, a Bob Marley cover band led by one of his [many] sons for a crowd of less than 100.