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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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August 9, 2008 12:47 PM

While You Were Sleeping...

Posted by Ron Judd

Saturday edition, While You Were Sleeping:

-- It all started happening. TV viewers awoke to a full-on assault from as many as nine different cable stations, plus unlimited online, on-demand viewing. Sort of overwhelming and thrilling all at once. More on this later.

-- American women swept the medals in fencing's saber event. Who knew we were so good at fencing? Interviewed after the fact by NBC, silver medalist Sada Jacobson, of Dunwoody, Ga., choked up on camera, in a very touching moment.

Even more special: Two of the three on the medal stand were Oregonians. Becca Ward (bronze) and Mariel Zagunis (gold) are both from Beaverton. It was a repeat performance for Zagunis, whose gold in Athens in 2004 was the first U.S. fencing medal in a century.

-- Bainbridge/Cal swimmer Emily Silver's swim in the prelims for the 4 x 100 relay may be her one-and-out experience in the Beijing Games. But what a one it was. Silver swam a 54.81 lap for the U.S., which qualified in third place for tomorrow night's final, when Silver likely will be replaced by a faster, more-experienced swimmer.

Silver swam the prelim with Kara Lynn Joyce, Julia Smit and Lacey Nymeyer, and said if it is her only time in the pool here, she'll cherish the experience.

"On our way here we saw the Olympic torch," she told the Los Angeles Times. "We all took the bus over, the four of us, and it was a really special moment. Just to be part of this is amazing."

Note that if the U.S. medals in the event finals Sunday, the prelim swimmers, including Silver, deservedly get one, too.

-- The U.S. women's basketball team rocketed out of the gate, squashing Czech Republic, 97-57. Diana Taurasi leads with 17 points.

-- Defending gold medal U.S. women's soccer team got back on track, beating Japan 1-0 in Qinhuangdao to even its record at 1-1. A win over Norway on Tuesday secures the U.S. a spot in the quarterfinals.

-- Michael Phelps blew away early jitters by setting a new Olympic record in qualifying for the 400-meter IM, which he swam in 4:07.82. He'll swim for his first gold medal this evening local time, Sunday morning in Bejing. His biggest competition might be a teammate, Ryan Lochte, who pushed Phelps, apparently, at least, to his limit at the U.S. Olympic trials in this event.

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Blogroll and links

www.olympic.org: The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information.
www.nbcolympics.com: Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog
www.usolympicteam.com: U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site.
www.aroundtherings.com: Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription).
www.wcsn.com: News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions.
www.beijing2008.com: Beijing Organizing Committee Web site.
www.vancouver2010.com: Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site.
www.london2012.com: London 2012 Summer Games site.
www.sochi2014.com: Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site.
www.chicago2016.org: Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.