#176 china gymnasts falsify age?

I heard on BBC that China’s gymnasts who won gold were under age. Was there deliberate oversight in submitting the age on their part?

There is always confusion for those outside of China to know the age of the China Chinese.

Even for one who is born in Singapore, growing up, I was always confused about my age until I applied for my national identity card when I was twelve.

If you asked me what year my parents were born or their birthday, I couldn’t tell you. You see the Chinese go by their Chinese calendar year.

I was befuddled with the age of some of my China-born friends living in China or those who never went abroad. Many of them don’t give you the actual date of their birthday…so when celebrating their birthdays, the day changes with our calendar year. This is NOT INCONSISTENT as the Chinese go by their Chinese calendar year. For unknown reason, the Chinese always add 2 years to the day they were born.

Is this being dishonest? A lie? A stripping of the medals?

Surely not…when this is cultural difference in interpreting age or the day they were born.

#175 the true olympian spirit

That capture my heart are not just the medal winners but that put a smile on my face and lift my spirit.

Japan’s Ai Fukuhara  who lost to China’s best table-tennis player Zhang Yining, said beamingly:

“I played very well today and I’m very satified. I demonstrated everything I learned in the training, so I give myself 90 points (out of 100),” the 19-year-old said, her eyes twinkling with joy.

Sadly the American track and field teams were not able to win a medal: men had won since 1924 and women, 1948. Unfortunately both men’s and women’s relay team dropped the baton! The Jamaicans dominated these events. Tyson Gay, one of the fastest and best athlete, admitted without excuse he disappointed the team when he dropped the baton at the men’s relay –it was just one of those days. I admire Tyson Gay for his graciousness and he IS indeed one great athlete in the world!

#174 ‘Palestinian swimmer beats all odds’

Palestinian Zakia Nassar is a true Olympian at heart and she deserves a gold medal for her spirit and valor…indeed she has fulfilled her Olympic dream.

I lifted this from chinadaily.com.cn…

A 21-year-old Palestinian swimmer embodied  the Olympic spirit and fulfilled her lifelong ambition to compete at the Olympics last week and she deserves a gold medal for her tenacity.

Zakia Nassar had neither a coach nor access to an Olympic-sized pool for the past year but didn’t let that stop her.

Nassar, who is currently studying dentistry, had no option but to train on her own at a 12m public pool.

The coach Nassar had a year ago left her to her own devices when the 25m pool in Bethlehem was closed down.

“There is no pool in Jenin where I am studying,” she said.

“So I can swim only once or twice a month when I go back to my parents’ home in Bethlehem.”

There is a 50m pool in nearby Nazareth, but the Israeli government does not permit her to use it.

Nassar said it was often embarrassing trying to train at the public pool, with other people swimming and splashing around.

“Sometimes people cut across me, and others would get angry when I swam into them. But quite a few made way for me,” she said.

“I got so depressed sometimes I couldn’t help crying, but my parents and friends encouraged me, reminding me that I had to keep training if I really wanted to go to the Olympics.”

It was only when Nassar arrived in China a month ago that she finally got the opportunity to swim in a 50m pool and enjoy the benefits of having a coach.

When she at last took part in the Games, she swam the 50 m in 31.97 seconds, an improvement of 7 seconds on her personal best.

Despite her time being good enough only for 79th place, Nassar said it was “the most beautiful moment” of her life.

“Participating in a race at the Olympics was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.

“It felt like I was flying.”

But she is not sure if she will go to the next Olympics.

“I won’t compete unless I’ve done the right training. But as swimming is in my soul, I’ll probably be a coach in my spare time.”

 

#173 lightning bolt

Usain Bolt, a couple days to his 22nd birthday, broke the 100m and 200m sprint record. He broke Carl Lewis record clocked in 1984. Usain Bolt, 6ft 5in tall, is the fastest man on earth…how long will this record last?

Born in Jamaica on 21 August 1986, after this victory, he might consider changing citizenship?

He will be a loss for one country and a gain for the adopted…Olympics in 2012 will be in London. Will he run for London then and bring glory to that nation?

It appears those descending from the African race are dominating the track and field events today and are world’s fastest runners…an interesting phenomenon!  

#171 olympic medal for singapore

In 1960, weightlifter Tan Howe Liang, at age 27, was the first to win silver medal at Olympic Games held in Rome. He came to Singapore at a tender age with his parents but had to drop out of school (secondary one) at the age of 14 when his father died. He stumbled on this sport at the age of 20.

Last evening, Singapore saw a silver medal won at Olympics in Beijing on table-tennis. The three women (Li Jiawei, Wang Yuegu and Tang Tianwei)  were originally born in China and I believe had received training since young in China.

Singapore today has her first generation of Singaporeans, that is, born and bred in Singapore but somehow was unable to breed some good athletes. Is this the result of being too well provided for and therefore too comfortable to achieve and endure some tough training? Or parents are pragmatists to realise that sports cannot bring steady rice-bowl to feed the family?

On 2nd thought, Singapore has produced some strong aquatic contenders in swimming, sailing and rowing.

Will there be a surge of interests in sports in the schools? Can we see greater interests placed in schools? 

Congratulations to Singapore for winning the silver medal losing out to China…table-tennis being their national past time sport.

Congratulations to ALL our athletes who represented Singapore at this Olympic Games! Getting into the qualifying rounds breaking personal best record is no mean feat either!

#170 the human spirit

Man is made up of body, mind, heart and spirit.

Watching the Olympic Games reveals that man is not a machine but one that has the spirit. It is not just the gruelling practice of the physical but allowing the spirit to relax and mental confidence that one achieves great heights.

Those who clinched the gold medal appears to not only have the talent but the spirit. They appear to be able to go on and on after the event as the spirit was alive and not tired…examples: the Jamaican women of track and field; the fastest runner Usain Bolt; swimmer Michael Phelps who won the historic 8 gold medals in a single Olympics; diver Guo Jingjing, naming a few…

#169 veteran swimmer

The swimmer whom I have been looking out for is Dara Torres who continues competitive swimming at the age of 41, won the silver medal in 50m freestyle at the Olympics losing out to a much younger German Britta Steffen.

Dara Torres returned to competitive swimming in year 2000 after 8 years of retirement. One of her secret weapons was resistance stretching invented by Bob Cooley — the flexibility regiment. 

For her, age is just a number and not cap limit on one’s dream and aspiration. She has set precedence for women to remain in competitive swimming inspite of age and family responsibilities. She has a 15-month-old baby and receiving quality time training for the Olympics.

She has helped the world to realise that quality training is more important…