During the very cold winters in Beijing the small channels, lakes and rivers are covered with a thick layer of ice. Then people use the ice for skating and other activities. Only the dust and sand brought by the cold winds from Gobi Desert can stop this fun.Related to:
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China North International Shooting Range
Not exactly what the Olympics had in mind, but a lot of fun anyway: machine guns, anti-tank missiles, and an amusing assortment of military pistols and sniper's rifles.
It's fun to watch other foreign tourists get a kick out of shooting, especially the young Japanese women.
Pay by the bullet or other projectile.
Technical staff from China's army will ensure you have the weapon pointed in the right direction.
Equipment: Bring your passport for identification. You might want to bring your own earplugs as well. No license required.Related to:
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In Olympics badminton, there are men's and women's single, double and mixed double.
The major badminton power houses are China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Denmark, South Korea, United Kingdom as well as many countries represented by former Chinese and Indonesian players.
Each game is played with winning two of out three sets. The shuttle speed is fast. Any slight wind condition can affect play as so players have to adjust when they change court. Temperature will aslo room condition.
Besides physical and skills, winning in badminton is a major mental fight. Audience can get really rowdy but players are used to friendly and unfriendly reception.
Malaysia won her only Beijing Olympics medal through a silver in the men's single by Lee Chong Wei who was awarded a title "Datuk" by the Penang State Government and financial awards upon returning home. Well done Datuk Lee.
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Unlike watching on television in your living room, when you watch at the stadium, you can feel the excitement and cheers of the supporters of each team which have fly all the way to be at Beijing to see their countrymen and countrywomen compete. Win or lose, they will cheer to the end.
The competitors often show their appreciation to the audience and their cheering squads at the end of the competition. Very often, you see family members in the cheering squads some holding placards example signed by their highschool to try their best.
So this add a personal story to each athlete who have given so much including their coach and their family members and friends over years to have a chance to compete at the Olympics.
Each country has their unique style of cheering. Some will sing together like football songs. The Chinese style is someone will shout "Zhongguo dui" (Chinese Team) and the crowd will followed with "Jia You" (Do your best). The Malaysia style is "Malaysia"... "Boleh" (Malaysia Can)
In Beijing Water Cube Aquatic center, swimming is one of the most popular sports to watch.
But it is all over very quickly due to fast races of over 50m, 100m or 200m. The relays and longer distances are slightly longer to make your cheering and shouts and your paid ticket lasting longer.
The 4 strokes are freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breastroke. Swimming is the most gender equal with 17 men and 17 women events. The latest event added this year is marathon 10km.
Swimming power house are USA team especially for men. And Australia for women. For Asian countries, Japan, South Korea and China sprang a few surprises.
The highlist is Michael Phelps of USA winning a record 8 gold medals breaking the record of Mark Spitz USA in Munich Olympics of 7 medals.
Watching Track & Field
Great to be at the Brid Nest to watch the track and field events.
The whole stadium and China including myself were shocked and heart broken when we watched Athens Olympics men 110m hurdle gold medalist Liu Xiang of China limped during his warm up jump over a few hurdles in the last heat of the 1st round. After a false start, Liu Xiang withdraw with agony of pain and his hope of winning the gold again was gone. The whole stadium fell silence when the announcement was mad.
At times, several events are happening concurrently - a running event, a long jump, pole vault or hammer.
This was where John Bolton of Jamaica broke the men 100m world record.
The second day after the Opening Ceremony, the first event we watched was Judo at the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium.
Although Judo, a martial art origination from Japan, it has become a popular sports and provide Olympic medals for big and small countries all the over like Azerbaijian, Brazil and Slovenia. The major powerhouses are Japan, China and South Korea.
There are seven weight categories for both men and women. Two bronze medals are awarded for the losing semi-finalists. Points are fought and pinning down an opponent with an "ippon" will result in an immediate win.
There is a lot of grabbing the opponents collar and trying to trip your opponent. Great cheering from the audience.
Some sports like handball are seldom seen on television until at the Olympics. So countries who cannot win at football or basketball, can specialize and concentrate on less popular sports like handball.
Handball is like football except using your arms instead of legs to score goals by throwing the ball passed the goal keeper into the next. It is fast pace and there is penalty for a player to sit out when foul committed.
Preliminary competitions were held at Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium and the finals were at the National Indoor Stadium. France were the eventual men's champion and Norway the women's champion.
Watching volleyball fun. You serve across the net and the other team will touch the ball three times to get across, usually to set up a spike. You try to block or attack with a spike.
It is winning 3 out of 5 sets. So we watched Crotian men's team winning first two sets but USA coming back to win last three sets and finally winning the gold. Brazil won the women's gold and has to settle for the men's silver. Other volleyball powerhouses include China, Russia and Cuba.
There is also the outdoor two person's version of Beach Volleyball - played over sand at the Chaoyang Park.
Boxing has 11 men weight categories from light flyweight (less than 48kg) to super heavyweight (greater than 91kg). Good news that in London 2012, women boxing will be added. Actually, I am not much of the boxing fan due the violence inflicted on the brain and ears of the boxer.
As each boxer wear headgear, it is important to remember which color red or blue, the boxer you are cheering for. Another sports that is represented by many countries.
Asian countries like China, Thailand and Mongolia performed well. While European boxers winning included Ireland, Italy, France, Russia, Ukraine.
There were a few times when the umpire stopped the fight but fortunately no knockout at least when I was there.
Bungee Jumping in the Beijing Boondocks
Shidu is located 100 kilometers southwest of downtown Beijing in Fangshan County. You can stay at a farmer's home at night and ride horses or climb mountains during the day. The highlight, of course, is the bungee jump in beautiful surroundings and you even have a choice between high (55 meters) or low (48 meters) as well as tandem jumps with your best friend. All equipment is imported from New Zealand and the staff is professionally trained.Related to:
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At the mesmering Water Cube Aquatic Center, it was exciting watching diving.
For Beijing Olympics, there are 8 diving events. Men and women 3m and 10m for both individual and synchronized (two person) events.
China has been the major power houses but often do not sweep all the events. This time, China won seven out of eight gold medals, the lone medal going to Australia when the Chinese favorites falter under pressure.
Diving is like ballet in the air before a clean splash into the water. Great to watch. Need to understand that different sommersault dives have different level of difficulty which give higher scores if done perfectly. In the final, there are 5 dives each and a poor dive will be disastrous.
Fly a kite!
Kite are a favourite sport of the Chinese people! You can see it mainly in autumn on Tian An Men Square.
Equipment: Near Tian An Men Square are some shops, which provide you with small and big kites and all the professional stuff you need for letting them fly!
Play on the Ice
I read somewhere that the Chinse invented ice skating. Whether that is true or not, I'm not positive, but what I do know is that playing on the ice is a cheap, amuzing and quite popular way to spend a nice winter day.
You can simply walk the ice and enjoy the sights from a different angle.
You can strap on a pair of skates and pretend you are in the olympics.
You can saddle up on a bike/skate hybrid and peddle around.
You can even sit in a chair that has rails and pole your way around.
For the really ambitious you can make a train of all of the above...
I even saw people playing pick-up games of hockey on the southwest moat of the Forbidden City.
Equipment: Warm clothes is all you need, you can get all others as needed on the ice.Related to:
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Not quite a sports tip as such!
It is a place you can go and have Chinese characters and English letters printed onto sports clothing. When I was in China my second time round it was my then boyfriend's birthday and I wanted to think of something different to get him. So with the help of a Japanese friend who was also having some football shirts printed, I came across this small shop down some winding lanes.
I went to him and chose the number I wanted printed on the front of the football t-shirt (Beijing football club's) and then wrote in Chinese my boyfriend's Chinese name. And within two or three days, it was all done!
The perfect present with a little difference to it!
Equipment: All you need is an item of sports clothing you want to have printed. It really was very cheap. Probably around one pound a character, if that! I think it actually cost me around 4 pounds in total....GREAT!
The guy's name is Wang Dan Xing.
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