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Notes from the week past & ahead

Beijing Games: News and notes

Madonna pal a medal favorite

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He's the man who helped Madonna get back in the saddle after one of her big breakups. "She's very keen," William Fox-Pitt says, "and we've had a lot of laughs." And that makes Fox-Pitt the biggest celebrity in the Olympic equestrian competition. He'd be one of the biggest of the Games if his help had been more than literal. Fox-Pitt, a medal favorite headed for his third Olympics for Britain, taught Madonna some of the finer points of riding after she broke three ribs and her collarbone in a riding accident three years ago. "I haven't helped her for a while," Fox-Pitt, 39, told Britain's Independent newspaper. "We've both got a lot of commitments. She's someone I've got to know quite well, as they (Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie) live nearby."

Don't be so sure

Australia's swimmers broke eight world records at their trials in March — all by swimmers wearing Speedo's LZR Racer suit — and the traditional power has had impressive performances in European meets recently. But national coach Alan Thompson says they shouldn't be too impressed with themselves. "There was some solid racing," Thompson told Australia's Herald Sun. "But I think still that the whole world needs the reality check of the U.S. trials to see how the land really does lie."

Ill-mannered host

These Olympics already have a nickname: the "Killjoy Games." It has been bestowed by some Beijing residents as city and Games officials continue to freak out over the impending arrival of thousands of foreigners. And it wasn't created just because of reports that bar areas are being forced to close early during the Games, the Associated Press says. Ground-to-air missiles have been put under camouflage netting about 330 yards from one Olympic venue because of terrorism fears. Hotel prices are high, occupancy rates aren't, and one marketing director says he doubts Beijing will charm visitors as past Olympic cities have.

By the numbers

1 Outdoor events lasting at least one hour will be postponed if Beijing's air quality isn't good, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge says.

2 Australian athletes barred from the Games by their sports' governing bodies because they've been criminally charged with alcohol-fueled attacks on other athletes.

Quote of the week

"Now that would be interesting: a female athlete trying to explain why there's Viagra in her sample."

Dr. Christiane Ayotte, head of Canada's top doping-control lab, to Britain's Nottingham Evening Post on the growing belief that Viagra is being used as an athletic performance enhancer and how an Olympic drug test could provide evidence

.FAST FACTS

Coming up

Events of note on

the Olympic calendar:

• Basketball, women's roster deadline, Tuesday

• Cycling, men's and women's rosters announced Tuesday

• Diving, men's and women's selection camp to determine rest of the teams, Wednesday-July 6, University of Tennessee

• Volleyball, men's and women's roster deadlines, Tuesday

• Water polo, women's roster deadline, Monday

On TV

• Swimming, trials, 8 tonight, Ch. 8; 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, USA; 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Ch. 8

• Track and field, trials, 7 tonight, Ch. 8; 11:05 p.m. Monday, 11 p.m. Thursday-Friday, USA; 5 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 8

Athlete watch

Bay area athletes in action

• Diving camp: Chris Colwill, Tampa Prep/Georgia, 3-meter individual and synchronized

• Track and field trials: John Capel, Brooksville, 200 meters; Calvin Smith, Freedom/Florida, 400; Ashlee Kidd, St. Petersburg/Georgia Tech, 400; Mikese Morse, Freedom/USF, long jump

Beijing Games: News and notes 06/28/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 3:38pm]
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