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Lin Hao, earthquake survivor, leading the Chinese team in the Olympics (with the help of Yao Ming)

Many who saw the Chinese team enter the Olympics asked ‘who is that little boy next to Yao Ming?’ He was nine-year-old Lin Hao, a survivor of the earthquake in Sichuan. 20 of the 30 classmates in his school perished in the disaster, but after freeing himself he went back into the rubble to find his classmates.

Lin Hao, the ‘hall monitor’ in his school encouraged his fellow students to sing songs to help keep up their spirits while rescuers worked to free them.

UNICEF is still taking donations for Chinese earthquake relief.

First (of many) protestors removed from Olympic events

While most Americans are watching the opening ceremony (on tape delay) the events have already gotten underway in China, with (of likely many) protests. Two students attempted to display a Tibetan flag at the dressage competition and were promptly removed by security police.

For those who didn’t know, due to some of the equestrian diseases that are present on the mainland (but not in Hong Kong) the Olympic committee opted to move all the horse events to Hong Kong where they will be held at the Sha Tin raceway and a new facility built especially for the Olympics.

New Events for the Beijing Olympics

There are several new events in the Olympics appearing for the first time this Olympiad, including:

BMX (Mens & Womens)

Marathon Swimming (Mens & Womens)

3000m Steeplechase (Womens)

Team Table Tennis (Mens & Womens) (replaces doubles)

Women’s Team Foil (replacing men’s team foil)

Women’s Team Sabre (replacing women’s team epee)

And on top of that, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands are appearing for the first time, and Serbia and Montenegro are appearing separately. Kosovo, which only recently was recognized by the IOC, is not prepared to send a team for this Olympiad.

The Olympic Torch is lit by Li Ning: Absolutely amazing ceremony to light the cauldron!

Wow! Unreal. Amazing. That was a pretty cool torch lighting.

First, the The Olympic torch entered the stadium and started a massive relay of about 7 or 8 Chinese Olympic Gold medalists. Nothing too out of the ordinary though the oppressive heat was definitely taking its toll on some in the crowd.

Eventually it was passed to 李宁 Li Ning, the Olympic Gold medalist for gymnastics who ‘took off’ straight up 100s of feet into the air like a kung fu fighter the movies (yes, he was on wires). He then ‘ran’ (you have to see it) around the entire stadium as a giant screen turned a picture of the torch into the faces of 1000s of torch bearers from around the world.

Absolutely stunning.

He ran to the end of the stadium and lit a giant ‘pipe’/wick thant shot up into the Olympic Cauldron and the games of the 2008 Olympiad are underway.

It’s midnight in Beijing. It means you have to stay up late to see this. DO IT! WATCH THIS! IT WAS AMAZING.

Watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Pretty impressive

I’ve been watching the Opening Ceremonies with everyone here (they’re smiling so much I suspect they are about to cry). It’s quite a pageant, with lots and lots of color, and some pretty interesting visuals of money, Chinese characters, boats and fans. I’m not sure what the hell it is all about–story of China or something–no idea. We’re watching in Cantonese (and no one hear speaks that).

Nevertheless, you should tune in tonight. It’s pretty wild. We’re only a half hour in or so and it’s pretty impressive. Amazing what you can do when you have like 10,000 performers are your command.

And remember, the parade tonight is NOT in alphabetical order, but stroke count order.

Who will light the Olympic Cauldron in Beijing?

Yao Ming is out. He carried it yesterday and rules prohibit it from being carried by the same person twice. 110m hurdler Liu Xiang, the first Chinese gold medal winner in track and field and a national hero is a likely choice, but he’s under a tremendous amount of stress already being told to basically win or else. Perhaps we could see one of China’s astronauts, or as some have suggested, a child from the earthquake ravaged Sichuan province. Speculation is rampant with many names being suggested.

Despite media leaks of the opening ceremony, there was no leak of the cauldron lighting ceremony (it was not rehearsed as part of the process) and the actual person is a closely guarded secret. We’ll know in about 12 hours or so…

UPDATE: We now know–6 time medal winner Li Ning

Olympics Opening Ceremony parade not in alphabetical order, USA right in the middle

UPDATE: Torch / cauldron ablaze in AMAZING lighting ceremony (must see tv tonight). Games underway!

Hints are coming out that the opening ceremony parade will not be in alphabetical order as it has been in the past, but rather in ’stroke count’ order based on the Chinese characters. For example, Australia has 15 strokes to the Chinese character for Australia, and as such, they will be entering toward the end, position 203. Greece will still be first and the host country China will be last, but in between we could see quite a mishmash for people hoping to turn in during the middle or end and find the countries they were hoping for.

For Americans this means you are going to have to tune in about halfway through the opening ceremony parade to catch the US entry. The US will be entering in position 140, right after Syria and right before the Virgin Islands.

So, you really want the whole list? Ok…this will be long…

1 Greece (GRE) 希腊
2 Guinea (GUI) 几内亚
3 Guinea-Bissau (GBS) 几内亚比绍
4 Turkey (TUR) 土耳其
5 Turkmenistan (TKM) 土库曼斯坦
6 Yemen (YEM) 也门
7 Maldives (MDV) 马尔代夫
8 Malta (MLT) 马耳他
9 Madagascar (MAD) 马达加斯加
10 Malaysia (MAS) 马来西亚
11 Mali (MLI) 马里
12 Malawi (MAW) 马拉维
13 FYR Macedonia (MKD) 马其顿
14 Marshall Islands (MHL) 马绍尔群岛
15 Cayman Islands (CAY) 开曼群岛
16 Bhutan (BHU) 不丹
17 Ecuador (ECU) 厄瓜多尔
18 Eritrea (ERI) 厄立特里亚
19 Jamaica (JAM) 牙买加
20 Belgium (BEL) 比利时
21 Vanuatu (VAN) 瓦努阿图
22 Israel (ISR) 以色列
23 Japan (JPN) 日本
24 Chinese Taipei (TPE) 中华台北
25 Central African Republic (CAF) 中非
26 Hong Kong, China (HKG) 中国香港
27 Gambia (GAM) 冈比亚
28 Benin (BEN) 贝宁
29 Mauritius (MRI) 毛里求斯
30 Mauritania (MTN) 毛里塔尼亚
31 Denmark (DEN) 丹麦
32 Uganda (UGA) 乌干达
33 Ukraine (UKR) 乌克兰
34 Uruguay (URU) 乌拉圭
35 Uzbekistan (UZB) 乌兹别克斯坦
36 Brunei (BRU) 文莱
37 Barbados (BAR) 巴巴多斯
38 Papua New Guinea (PNG) 巴布亚新几内亚
39 Brazil (BRA) 巴西
40 Paraguay (PAR) 巴拉圭
41 Bahrain (BRN) 巴林
42 Bahamas (BAH) 巴哈马
43 Panama (PAN) 巴拿马
44 Pakistan (PAK) 巴基斯坦
45 Palestine (PLE) 巴勒斯坦
46 Cuba (CUB) 古巴
47 Burkina Faso (BUR) 布基纳法索
48 Burundi (BDI) 布隆迪
49 Timor-Leste (TLS) 东帝汶
50 Qatar (QAT) 卡塔尔
51 Rwanda (RWA) 卢旺达
52 Luxembourg (LUX) 卢森堡
53 Chad (CHA) 乍得
54 Belarus (BLR) 白俄罗斯
55 India (IND) 印度
56 Indonesia (INA) 印度尼西亚
57 Lithuania (LTU) 立陶宛
58 Niger (NIG) 尼日尔
59 Nigeria (NGR) 尼日利亚
60 Nicaragua (NCA) 尼加拉瓜
61 Nepal (NEP) 尼泊尔
62 Ghana (GHA) 加纳
63 Canada (CAN) 加拿大
64 Gabon (GAB) 加蓬
65 San Marino (SMR) 圣马力诺
66 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN) 圣文森特和格林纳丁斯
67 Saint Lucia (LCA) 圣卢西亚
68 São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) 圣多美和普林西比
69 Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKN) 圣基茨和尼维斯
70 Guyana (GUY) 圭亚那
71 Djibouti (DJI) 吉布提
72 Kyrgyzstan (KGZ) 吉尔吉斯斯坦
73 Laos (LAO) 老挝
74 Armenia (ARM) 亚美尼亚
75 Spain (ESP) 西班牙
76 Bermuda (BER) 百慕大
77 Liechtenstein (LIE) 列支敦士登
78 Congo (CGO) 刚果
79 DR Congo (COD) 刚果
80 Iraq (IRQ) 伊拉克
81 Iran (IRI) 伊朗
82 Guatemala (GUA) 危地马拉
83 Hungary (HUN) 匈牙利
84 Dominican Republic (DOM) 多米尼加共和国
85 Dominica (DMA) 多米尼克
86 Togo (TOG) 多哥
87 Iceland (ISL) 冰岛
88 Guam (GUM) 关岛
89 Angola (ANG) 安哥拉
90 Antigua and Barbuda (ANT) 安提瓜和巴布达
91 Andorra (AND) 安道尔
92 Tonga (TGA) 汤加
93 Jordan (JOR) 约旦
94 Equatorial Guinea (GEQ) 赤道几内亚
95 Finland (FIN) 芬兰
96 Croatia (CRO) 克罗地亚
97 Sudan (SUD) 苏丹
98 Suriname (SUR) 苏里南
99 Libya (LBA) 利比亚
100 Liberia (LBR) 利比里亚
101 Belize (BIZ) 伯利兹
102 Cape Verde (CPV) 佛得角
103 Cook Islands (COK) 库克群岛
104 Saudi Arabia (KSA) 沙特
105 Algeria (ALG) 阿尔及利亚
106 Albania (ALB) 阿尔巴尼亚
107 United Arab Emirates (UAE) 阿拉伯联合酋长国
108 Argentina (ARG) 阿根廷
109 Oman (OMA) 阿曼
110 Aruba (ARU) 阿鲁巴
111 Afghanistan (AFG) 阿富汗
112 Azerbaijan (AZE) 阿塞拜疆
113 Namibia (NAM) 纳米比亚
114 Tanzania (TAN) 坦桑尼亚
115 Latvia (LAT) 拉脱维亚
116 Great Britain (GBR) 英国
117 British Virgin Islands (IVB) 英属维尔京群岛
118 Kenya (KEN) 肯尼亚
119 Romania (ROU) 罗马尼亚
120 Palau (PLW) 帕劳
121 Tuvalu (TUV) 图瓦卢
122 Venezuela (VEN) 委内瑞拉
123 Solomon Islands (SOL) 所罗门群岛
124 France (FRA) 法国
125 Poland (POL) 波兰
126 Puerto Rico (PUR) 波多黎各
127 Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) 波斯尼亚和黑塞哥维那
128 Bangladesh (BAN) 孟加拉国
129 Bolivia (BOL) 玻利维亚
130 Norway (NOR) 挪威
131 South Africa (RSA) 南非共和国
132 Cambodia (CAM) 柬埔寨
133 Kazakhstan (KAZ) 哈萨克斯坦
134 Kuwait (KUW) 科威特
135 Côte d’Ivoire (CIV) 科特迪瓦
136 Comoros (COM) 葛摩
137 Bulgaria (BUL) 保加利亚
138 Russia (RUS) 俄罗斯
139 Syria (SYR) 叙利亚
140 United States (USA) 美国
141 Virgin Islands (ISV) 美属维尔京群岛
142 American Samoa (ASA) 美属萨摩亚
143 Honduras (HON) 洪都拉斯
144 Zimbabwe (ZIM) 津巴布韦
145 Tunisia (TUN) 突尼斯
146 Thailand (THA) 泰国
147 Egypt (EGY) 埃及
148 Ethiopia (ETH) 埃塞俄比亚
149 Lesotho (LES) 莱索托
150 Mozambique (MOZ) 莫桑比克
151 Netherlands (NED) 荷兰
152 Netherlands Antilles (AHO) 荷属安的列斯
153 Grenada (GRN) 格林纳达
154 Georgia (GEO) 格鲁吉亚
155 Somalia (SOM) 索马里
156 Colombia (COL) 哥伦比亚
157 Costa Rica (CRC) 哥斯达黎加
158 Trinidad and Tobago (TRI) 特立尼达和多巴哥
159 Peru (PER) 秘鲁
160 Ireland (IRL) 爱尔兰
161 Estonia (EST) 爱沙尼亚
162 Haiti (HAI) 海地
163 Czech Republic (CZE) 捷克
164 Kiribati (KIR) 基里巴斯
165 Philippines (PHI) 菲律宾
166 El Salvador (ESA) 萨尔瓦多
167 Samoa (SAM) 萨摩亚
168 Micronesia (FSM) 密克罗尼西亚联邦
169 Tajikistan (TJK) 塔吉克斯坦
170 Vietnam (VIE) 越南
171 Botswana (BOT) 博茨瓦纳
172 Sri Lanka (SRI) 斯里兰卡
173 Swaziland (SWZ) 斯威士兰
174 Slovenia (SLO) 斯洛文尼亚
175 Slovakia (SVK) 斯洛伐克
176 Portugal (POR) 葡萄牙
177 South Korea (KOR) 韩国
178 North Korea (PRK) 朝鲜
179 Fiji (FIJ) 斐济
180 Cameroon (CMR) 喀麦隆
181 Montenegro (MNE) 黑山
182 Chile (CHI) 智利
183 Austria (AUT) 奥地利
184 Myanmar (MYA) 缅甸
185 Switzerland (SUI) 瑞士
186 Sweden (SWE) 瑞典
187 Nauru (NRU) 瑙鲁
188 Mongolia (MGL) 蒙古
189 Singapore (SIN) 新加坡
190 New Zealand (NZL) 新西兰
191 Italy (ITA) 意大利
192 Senegal (SEN) 塞内加尔
193 Serbia (SRB) 塞尔维亚
194 Seychelles (SEY) 塞舌尔
195 Sierra Leone (SLE) 塞拉利昂
196 Cyprus (CYP) 塞浦路斯
197 Mexico (MEX) 墨西哥
198 Lebanon (LIB) 黎巴嫩
199 Germany (GER) 德国
200 Moldova (MDA) 摩尔多瓦
201 Monaco (MON) 摩纳哥
202 Morocco (MAR) 摩洛哥
203 Australia (AUS) 澳大利亚
204 Zambia (ZAM) 赞比亚
205 China (CHN) 中国

Lopez Lomong, a “Lost Boy” of Sudan, to carry the flag for the USA in Beijing

Lopez Lomong, a former child prisoner-of-war in Sudan and recently naturalized US citizen will have the honor of carrying the US flag into the Birds’ nest stadium in Beijing on Friday. Lomong is running in the 1,500 meters and was given that honor after a vote by all of the US Olympic team captains. He was kidnapped as a boy during a stupid civil war and spent 10 years in a Kenyan prison camp before coming to the US in 2001. Here’s a nice piece on his naturalization ceremony.

“The American flag means everything in my life – everything that describes me, coming from another country and going through all of the stages that I have to become a U.S. citizen,” Lomong said. “This is another amazing step for me in celebrating being an American. Seeing my fellow Americans coming behind me (in the Opening Ceremony) and supporting me will be a great honor – the highest honor. It’s just a happy day. I don’t even have the words to describe how happy I am.”

And in case you are wondering, here is the previous list

Year U.S. Flag Bearer (Sport)
1908 Ralph Rose (Athletics)
1912 George V. Bonhag (Athletics)
1920 Patrick J. McDonald (Athletics)
1924 Patrick J. McDonald (Athletics)
1928 Lemuel (Bud) C. Houser (Athletics)
1932 F. Morgan Taylor (Athletics)
1936 Alfred A. Jochim (Gymnastics)
1948 Ralph C. Craig (Yachting)
1952 Norman C. Armitage (Fencing)
1956 Norman C. Armitage (Fencing)
#Warren B. Wofford (Equestrian)
1960 Rafer L. Johnson (Athletics)
1964 William Parry O’Brien (Athletics)
1968 Janice Lee Romary (Fencing)
1972 Olga Fikotova Connolly (Athletics)
1976 Gary W. Hall (Swimming)
1980 USA did not attend
1984 Edward Burke (Athletics)
1988 Evelyn Ashford (Athletics)
1992 Francie Larrieu Smith (Athletics)
1996 Bruce Baumgartner (Wrestling)
2000 Cliff Meidl (Canoe/Kayak)
2004 Dawn Staley (Basketball)
2008 Lopez Lomong (Athletics)

How to watch the Olympics online.

This year will see far more streams and other resources for folks wanting to catch the Olympics online. Some are legal, and many many more are not.

The first and easiest way, for an American, is to logon to NBC or MSNBC’s Olympic site and simply click the ‘Video’ section. NBC is showing 2,400 hours of coverage online (starting today with Women’s Soccer, eventhough the opening ceremony is still 48 hours away). To watch online will require the Microsoft program Silverlight (free) which works on Windows and Mac (not sure about the LINUX version just yet).

Youtube will have some Olympic coverage for folks in Africa and South America.

Then there is the option of These are peer to peer TV program links, requiring you to download Sopcast or TVAnts. It will be interesting to see how long these sites stay online and whether their feeds get interfered with by the authorities.

German companies to sue so they can pollute the Olympics

Yea, I don’t get it either.

But the Spiegel is reporting that several German companies with factories outside of Beijing are considering legal action so they do not have to close their operations during the Olympics. The Chinese government has ordered nearly 1,000 factories to halt production during the games in a last ditch attempt to provide clean air over the city, but the Germans are having none of that.

The five companies are among some 1,100 businesses, many of them located up to an hour away from the city center, which will have to put production on hold for the duration of the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games immediately following. In addition to Beijing closures, some 267 companies in the industrial city of Tangshan north of the city will have to cease operations and 40 factories in the nearby port city of Tianjin are closing, according to Reuters. Factories in three other provinces will also have to shut down.

Of course, only Americans and Chinese are polluters in the world. The Germans probably have some excuse why they should be allowed to operate whereas the rest need to shut down. I wait for yet another example of European “Do as I say not as I do.”

Gebrselassie and Yao Ming questionable for the Olympics

Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) and Yao Ming (China) are two Internationally known sports stars, but both are dealing with niggling injuries in the final weeks before the Beijing Olympics. Gebrselassie was named to the Ethiopian 10,000m team, an event he’s won in Atlanta and Sydney. He was injured during the Athens games. He won’t compete in the marathon due to asthma and the Beijing air quality, but his return to the 10,000m, an event he is still competitive in, will certainly make that an interesting race. Gebrsellassie was the star of the uplifting movie/documentary ‘Endurance‘ which was released after the Atlanta gold medal.

Yao Ming is better known in the US, and he will be playing in an upcoming basketball tournament in Beijing as part of an Olympics ‘warm up’. Yao has been nursing an injury this Spring and utilizing some ‘traditional Chinese medicine’ as part of his treatment, something Olympic organizers are advising against as some Chinese medicine cures contain banned substances that will appear in the drug tests. We’ll see if he gets flagged when they come a testing.

Hockey arena finished for Vancouver 2010. Russian’s having problems with Sochi arenas for 2014.

Some Olympic news because I’ve been lazy. Apparently the Thunderbird Arena is done and ready for action in Vancouver. This will host the mens and womens hockey, but also contains a practice rink.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is getting involved with the construction of facilities in Sochi. Putin demanded that three sites for Olympic venues be moved because of environmental concerns and reprimanded the Sochi games preparations chief for weak assurances that construction would be finished on time.

Yes, it is six years away, but if you’ve ever done business in Russia, you know that six years is ‘last minute’ for them sometimes, especially when it comes to government work.