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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 10, 2008 10:06 AM

While you were sleeping: Bremerton's Adrian helps U.S. to world record

Posted by Ron Judd

While you were sleeping, Sunday morning edition:

Swimming

The U.S. men's 400-meter freestyle relay team, swimming in the semis without Michael Phelps, lowered the world record to 3:12.23. Making it happen were Bremerton's own Nathan Adrian along with Cullen Jones, Ben Wildman-Tobriner and Matt Grevers. The final kicks off around 8:20 p.m., PT.

Margaret Hoelzer, swimming 1:00.13, advanced to the semis in the 100 backstroke; the semis are tonight, Seattle time. Megan Jendrick swam 1:08.07 to advance to the semis in the 100 breastroke. Swimming in the same heat, Australia's Leisel Jones set a new Olympic record at 1:05.64. Semis are tonight; finals tomorrow night, Seattle time.

Katie Hoff, last seen looking glum accepting her first Olympic medal -- a bronze -- after the women's 400 IM won by Australia's Stephanie Rice (who also took Hoff's former world record), appears out for vengeance: She set an Olympic record in the semis of the 400 free.

Volleyball

The U.S. men's team, playing without head coach Hugh McCutcheon, whose father-in-law was killed in a bizarre attack by a crazed knife-wielding assailant, beat Venezuela in five sets. Assistant coach Ron Larsen filled in.

Courtroom

Greek sprinter/doper Ekaterina Thanou, who faked an accident to hide from drug testers and wound up withdrawing from her home Games in Athens, was ruled officially out of the Beijing Games by the International Olympic Committee, which, in a rare, frank display of outright distaste, called her conduct "scandalous."

Gymnastics

Coaching legend Bela Karolyi, on hand to provide commentary for NBC, stirred things up a bit by keeping alive controversy about the alleged ages of two young female Chinese gymnasts.

Karolyi, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, called the Chinese team's flouting of age rules "blatant," and accused the Chinese of using "half people."

"These people think we are stupid," he said. "We are in the business of gymnastics. We know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. What kind of slap in the face is this? They are 12, 14 years old and the government backs them and the federation runs away. There is an age limit and it can't be controlled."

Under international rules, competitors must be 16. The international gymnastics federation declined to investigate what it called "Internet" reports that the two Chinese girls qualifying for the individual medal round, Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin, are underaged.

On the floor, meanwhile, the U.S. suffered a setback when Samantha Peszek injured her ankle during warmups before team competition. The U.S. finished second in its group to advance to the final on Wednesday.

Men's water polo

The U.S. beat China, 8-4.

Tennis

America's James Blake beat Chris Guccione of Australia in two sets in a match with a long rain delay that scuttled most other matches.

Soccer

Snatching tie from the jaws of victory, the U.S. men's soccer team gave up a free-kick goal in the 93rd minute for a 2-2 tie with the Netherlands. Winning would have clinched the team a spot in the quarterfinals; now it must beat or tie Nigeria on Wednesday.


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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.