2008 games have something for everybody

By Marcus Clarke

By Marcus Clarke

This year’s Olympic games in Beijing are filled with storylines, not all of which are good.

Most of the headlines are filled with the situation between Tibet and China, but there are feel good stories to the 2008 games.

Earlier this month, a judge ruled that South African runner Oscar Pistorious and other paraplegic runners can compete in the Olympic games, a historic feat.

Although Pistorious has been given the opportunity to compete in the Olympics, he has not yet made the South African team.

As a 400 meter runner, to qualify for the Olympics you must run a time of 44.61 seconds.Pistorious has yet to run that fast getting as close as 45.43 seconds. The 21 year old has until this summer to qualify for the games.

Other positive notes from the Olympics are that nine new events will be held this year that were not available during the 2000 Sydney games.

Two of the new events are from the sport of BMX, the others include the women’s 3000 steeple chase, marathon swimming for both men and women over 10 kilometers, men’s and women’s team events in table tennis, as well as new events in fencing.

American swimmer Michael Phelps, who won six gold medals in the 2004 games at the age of 19, has a chance four years later to win as many as eight.

If he accomplishes that feat he will hold the record for most medals, which is held by track star Carl Lewis with nine.

The events that Phelps are expected to win are the 100 and 200 meter butterfly, the 200 and 400 individual medley, the 200 freestyle, as well as three other relays.

The 100 and 200 backstroke are not out of the question with Phelps either.

Much controversy has come out of the Olympics, including the complete boycott of the games due to the treatment of Tibet by China.

Protests around the world include attacks on people that carry the Olympic torch, and scaling buildings and leaving signs.

China has a strict hold on its media so it is nearly impossible to get information on the exact situation in Tibet.

Also, the doping scandal has hit the news recently.

Former sprinters Marion Jones and Tim Washington both admitted to using performance enhancing drugs after first lying to detectives and are now serving time in federal prisons.

So far no athletes have tested positive for drugs of any kind.

In tragic news the recent earthquakes in China have reached a death toll of over 60,000 people and is still climbing.

Despite this tragedy Chinese officials say that the Olympic games are still on track to begin in August.

One local athlete competing in the games is Tyree Washington, a Riverside native and graduate of La Sierra High School.

At 32 Washington is headed towards the end of his career, but in the 400 meters he is a legitimate contender to win a medal.

Washington placed third at the 2006 World Indoor Championships and currently is co-holder of the world record in the men’s 4×400 meter relay.

This years Olympics are filled with storylines, from protesters boycotting the games because of China’s poor human rights record, to emerging new events.

One thing is for certain the 2008 games promises to be a great show.