Summer Games Highlights: 2008

Day-to-day news from Beijing

by Liz Olson, Mark Hughes, Chris Warner, and Beth Rowen
Top Medal Count*United States: 110China: 100Russia: 72

Friday, Aug. 8

The 2008 Summer Games open in Beijing with 14,000 performers and 91,000 spectators in the National Stadium. Dancing, music, and fireworks entertain 840 million television viewers worldwide.

A Chinese man stabs an American couple midday on the second floor of an ancient tower in Beijing, killing the husband and injuring the wife. The victim, Todd Bachman, was the father-in-law of Hugh McCutcheon, the head indoor men's volleyball coach.

Saturday, Aug. 9

An Olympic record is set by 24-year-old Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic in the women's 10 m air rifle, scoring a total of 503.5 points. Emmons sets an Olympic record with a perfect score of 400.

With a total score of 212 kg, 25-year-old Chen Xiexia of China wins gold and sets a new Olympic record in the 48 kg weightlifting competition.

Sunday, Aug. 10

Michael "Baltimore Bullet" Phelps wins his first gold of the 2008 Summer Games and sets a new world record in the men's 400 IM, blowing away the previous record by 1.41 seconds.

A new world and Olympic record is set by the Republic of Korea Women's archery team with a 24-arrow score of 231 points.

Monday, Aug. 11

Five new swimming world records are set on day three of the 2008 Summer Games.

In one of the greatest relay swims of all time, the U.S. men's 4 x 100 m relay team beat the French team at the finish, smashing the world record by nearly four seconds.

Zhang Xiangxiang of China wins the gold medal in the men's 62-kg weightlifting final after lifting 319 kg, giving China a total of four weightlifting gold medals in the tournament.

Tuesday, Aug. 12

Xin Wang and Ruolin Chen of China win gold in the women's synchronized diving 10 m platform with 363.54 points.

The Chinese men's gymnastics team claims gold with 286.125 points, defeating Japan and the United States with what was described as a "perfect" performance by Chinese head coach, Huang Yubin.

U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps claims his third gold medal and sets a new world record in the 200 m freestyle, clocking in with a time of 1:42.96. Now with nine career golds, Phelps is tied with Olympian Paavo Nurmi for winning the most gold medals. Nurmi has been the record holder since 1928.

Natalie Coughlin and Aaron Peirsol defend their titles, claiming gold medals for the U.S. in the men's and women's 100 m backstroke, respectively.

Wednesday, Aug. 13

Michael Phelps wins his fourth gold medal in the 200 m butterfly, breaking his own previously-set world record by 0.06 seconds.

Breaking the 4 x 200 m freestyle relay record by 5.14 seconds, the United States relay team—led by Michael Phelps, along with Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens, and Peter Vanderkaay—wins the gold by clocking in at 6:58.56. This is the first time a relay team came in under seven minutes, and it's the fifth gold medal of the 2008 Games for Michael Phelps.

These wins bring Phelps his 10th and 11th golds as well as the record for winning the most Olympic career gold medals. The previous record was held by Paavo Nurmi of Finland, with 9 career golds, from 1928 to 2008.

The Chinese women's gymnastics team claims gold with 188.900 points, defeating the United States and Romania. Rumors that some members of the Chinese women's gymnastic team are under age 16, the minimum age allowed in women's gymnastics, soon circulate.

Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini sets a new world record in the women's 200 m freestyle to take the gold with a time of 1:54.82.

Liu Chunhong wins China's sixth weightlifting gold while competing in the 69 kg category. She lifts 128 kg (282 lbs) in the snatch, 158 kg (348 lbs) in the clean and jerk, and 286 kg (630 lbs) in total weight.

Qin Kai and Wang Feng win the men's syncronized diving 3 m springboard, giving China a team total of four gold medals from four finals.

Chen Ying of China blasts past her competitors to win the gold in the women's 25 m pistol with a record score of 793.4 points.

Thursday, Aug. 14

China's Zhang Juan wins the gold in the women's individual (70 m) archery. Sung-Hyun Park and Ok-Hee Yun of South Korea take the silver and bronze. This is the first time since 1980 that South Korea did not win the gold medal in this event.

Yang Wei of China wins the men's individual all-around artistic gymnastics final with 94.575 points.

The Australian relay team - comprised of Stephanie Rice, Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer, and Linda Mackenzie - break the world record and win the gold in the women's 4 x 200m freestyle relay final with a time of 7:44.31.

China's Liu Zige breaks the world record in the women's 200 m butterfly with a new best of 2:04.18.

Friday, Aug. 15

Rebecca Soni of the United States beats the world record in the women's 200 m breaststroke with a time of 2:20.22.

Germany's Britta Steffen earns a new Olympic record and the gold in the women's 100 m freestyle final with a time of 53:12.

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia runs away with the gold in the track and field women's 10,000 m. Her time of 29:54.66 is the new Olympic record for this event.

Michael Phelps takes gold in the 200 m individual medley. It’s his sixth gold medal of the Summer Games and his 12th career gold.

Saturday, Aug. 16

Michael Phelps wins the 100 m butterfly, bringing his total number of gold medals in the Games to seven. His seventh gold ties the record set by Mark Spitz in the 1972 Games. Phelps registers a new world record of 00:50.58. His career total of gold medals is 13.

Jamaican Usain Bolt wins gold and registers a new world record in the men's 100 m dash at 00:09.69.

Brazilian Cesar Cielo Filho wins gold and registers a new world record in the men's 50 m freestyle final at 00:21.30.

Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe wins gold and sets a new world record in the women's 200 m backstroke at 02:05.24.

Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain wins gold and registers a new world record in the women's 800 m freestyle at 08:14.10.

Sunday, Aug. 17

Michael Phelps wins his eighth gold medal, in the men's 4 x 100 medley. His eighth gold breaks the record set by Mark Spitz in the 1972 Games. With eight gold medals, Phelps also sets the record for the most golds in a single Olympics. He participated in eight events and set seven world records. Phelps amassed a record-setting 14 career gold medals.

Brita Steffen of Germany wins gold and beats the world record in the women's 50 m freestyle with a time of 00:24.06.

Australia wins gold and sets a world record time in the women's 4 x 100 m medley relay at 3:52.69.

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele wins gold and sets a world record time of 27:01.17 in men's 10,000 m.

Gulnara Galkina-Samitova of Russia wins gold and breaks her own world record in the women's 3,000 m steeplechase with a time of 8:58.81.

Monday, Aug. 18

Brimin Kiprop Kipruto of Kenya wins the gold in the men's 3,000 m steeplechase. This is the seventh consecutive victory for the African nation in this event.

Fleet-footed Angelo Taylor of the United States wins gold in the men's 400 m hurdles with a time of 47.25.

Kenya's Pamela Jelimo wins the gold medal in the 800 m run with a time of 1:54.87. This is the first ever gold for Kenya in women's athletics.

Sending the discus a distance of 64.74 m, Stephanie Brown Trafton of the United States wins the gold medal in the women's discus throw final.

Poland's Leszek Blanik wins the gold medal in the men's vault with a score of 16.537. Thomas Bouhail of France scores the same number of points, but is placed in second due to inferior execution.

Tuesday, Aug. 19

Runner Rashid Ramzi wins Bahrain's first gold medal in the men's 1,500 m final with a time of 3:32.94.

Runner Christine Ohuruogu wins gold for Great Britain in the women's 400 m final with a time of 00:49.62.

American runner Dawn Harper upsets Australian Sally McLellan to win gold in the women's 100 m hurdles.

He Chong continues the sweep for China in diving, taking the gold in the men's 3 m springboard.

Li Xiaopeng of China wins his second gold medal of 2008 in the men's parallel bars, his 4th since 2000.

Wednesday, Aug. 20

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt wins his second gold medal and sets another world record in the men's 200 m, clocking in at 19:30.

Jamaica's Melaine Walker takes gold in the women's 400 m hurdles and sets an Olympic record with a time of 52:64.

In the debut of the women's marathon swim, a 10 km race, Russia's Larisa Ilchenko finishes takes teh gold, finishing the race in 1:59:27.7. South African leg amputee Natalie du Toit finishes 16th with a time of 2:00:33.6.

Thursday, Aug. 21

China wins its seventh gold medal in diving when 15-year-old Chen Roulin captures the top spot in the women's 10 m platform.

In a display of fortitude, Dutch swimmer Maarten van der Weijden, who recently won a battle with leukemia, takes the gold medal in the men's marathon swim. He wins the race with a time of 1:51:51.6.

The U.S. women's soccer team wins its third gold medal in four Olympic Games, defeating Brazil, 1 to 0, in overtime.

The dynamic duo of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, the U.S. women's beach volleyball team, continues its winning streak, winning its second consecutive gold medal and 108th-straight match. The final is played in a steady rain.

Friday, Aug. 22

In the women's 5,000 m, Ethiopian runner Tirunesh Dibaba laps her nearest competitor with a time of 15:41.40. It is her second gold medal of the Games.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt wins his third gold of the Games and sets a new world record as part of the 4 x 100 m relay. He teammates are Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, and Michael Frater.

China takes the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the women's singles table tennis. Zhang Yining defeats teammate Wang Nan to win the gold, while Guo Yue beats Singapore's Li Jia wei for the bronze.

Saturday, Aug. 23

Australia's Matthew Mitcham nails a stunning dive with a degree of difficulty of 3.8 to pull ahead of favorites Zhou Luxin and Huo Liang, both of China, to take the gold medal in the 10 m platform.

China fares much better in table tennis, taking all three top spots. Ma Lin wins the gold, Wang Hao takes silver, and Wang Liqin earns the bronze medal.

Runner Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia takes his second gold medal of the Games, winning the men's 5000 m with an Olympic record time of 12:57.82.

Sunday, Aug. 24

On the final day of the 2008 Games, the U.S. men's basketball team, once called the "Dream Team" before falling in the 2004 Olympics, prevails over Spain, 118 to 107, to take the gold medal and earn the new nickname the "Redeem Team."

The U.S. women's basketball team makes it four consecutive gold medals, defeating Australia, 92 to 65.

Kenya's Samuel Kamau Wansiru sets a new Olympic record in the marathon, clocking in at 2:06.32. Runners from Africa round out the two other top spots, with Jaouad Gharib from Morocco placing second with a time of 2:07.16 minutes, and Ethiopia's Tsegay Kebede earning the bronze. His time is 2:10.

China wins its first boxing medal in history, when Zou Shiming defeats Mongolia's Serdamba Purevdorj in the light-flyweight division.

The 2008 Summer Games end with a stunning display of pageantry in the closing ceremonies. As host, China exceeded expectations, despite its moves to stifle protests and dissent, proving that the country is an economic powerhouse. China also won a record 51 gold medals, and a total of 100 medals.

* as of 8/24/08, Beijing time

Did you know?
Advent begins on the Sunday nearest November 30, the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle.


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