Mon, August 25, 2008
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Olympic "superlatives" to be remembered

2008-08-24 12:27:54 GMT2008-08-24 20:27:54 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing Olympics has witnessed so many superlative performances, most of which are set to go down in history.

1. Michael Phelps - most titled athlete

Combination of eight pictures done on August 17, 2008 showing Michael Phelps of the U.S. displaying the eight gold medals he won at the swimming events during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. From L to R, top row: men's 4 x 100m medley on August 17, 100m butterfly on August 16, men's 200m individual medley on August 15, men's 4 x 200m freestyle relay on August 13. From L to R, bottom row: men's 200m butterfly on August 13, men's 200m freestyle on August 12, men's 4X100m freestyle relay on August 11, men's 400m individual medley on August 10.(Photo: China Daily/Agencies)

Michael "Super Fish" Phelps swept eight gold medals in as many days and is behind seven new world records. His races were watched by U.S. President George Bush and the world's richest person Bill Gates, while famous tennis player Serena Williams wants his autograph. The word, Phelpsian, has been coined, meaning unprecedented victory.

2. Usain Bolt - most benevolent sprinter

Usain Bolt of Jamaica jubilates after the men's 200m final at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, during Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the title with 19.30 seconds and set a new world record. (Xinhua/Guo Dayue)

The world's fastest man has a big heart. Bolt has donated 50,000 U.S. dollars to earthquake victims in southwest China's Sichuan province.

3. Matthew Emmons -- most tragic coincidence

Matthew Emmons of the United States is comforted by his wife after the men's 50m rifle 3 positions final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Shooting event in Beijing, China, Aug. 17, 2008. Matthew Emmons won the 4th with a total of 1270.3. (Xinhua/Jiao Weiping)

Matthew Emmons of the United States is comforted by his wife after the men's 50m rifle 3 positions final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Shooting event in Beijing, China, Aug. 17, 2008. Matthew Emmons won the 4th with a total of 1270.3. (Xinhua/Jiao Weiping)

Emmons blew an Olympic shooting gold in 2004 when he fired at a wrong target. In Beijing, the American squandered a huge lead by hitting a 4.4-point last shot.

4. Liu Xiang - most shocking withdrawal

China's Liu Xiang (L) prepares prior to the first round competition of men's 110m hurdles at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, during Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 18, 2008. The defending champion Liu Xiang dropped out after getting injury. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

Defending Olympic champion Liu Xiang of China pulled out of the 110m hurdles race injured, shocking the whole world.

5. Xie Yalong - most criticized official

Xie Yalong, vice chairman of the Chinese Football Association, has become a target of internet lashing and sneering, following the Chinese men's soccer team's disastrous show in Beijing.

6. Dana Abdulrazak - most heroic runner

Photo taken on Aug. 21, 2008 shows Iraqi athlete Dana Hussein Abdulrazak hold a Chinese knot in Beijing, China. (Xinhua Photo)

Iraqi women runner Dana Abdul-Razzaq has received as loud applause as champions. The Iraqi team's only woman faced many obstacles to reach Beijing, from a sniper's bullets to a lack of training facilities and religious and cultural opposition to female athletes.

Before the Olympics, she was told that Iraq was shut out of the international sports gala. When her coach consoled her by saying that she could take part in the 2012 Olympics, she broke into tears, "who knows if I could live that long!"

7. Matthias Steiner - most soulful celebration

Gold medalist Matthias Steiner of Germany holds a photo of his wife as he poses with his gold medal during victory ceremony of men's weightlifting +105kg group A competition at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 19, 2008.(Xinhua/Yang Lei)

When the German Hercules mounted the gold medal podium, he was not alone. Clutching a snapshot of his late wife Susann, he choked, "She's always with me, in the hours before the competition. She's there..." On the picture, Susann beamed, while on the audience stands, many wept.

8. Natalie du Toit - most adamant swimmer

Natalie Du Toit of South Africa talks to her coach after women's marathon 10km competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games swimming event in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Natalie Du Toit ranked the 16th of the event. Du Toit, whose left leg was amputated in 2001 after she was injured in a road accident, is an athlete for both Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympic Olympics. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)

Natalie Du Toit of South Africa talks to her coach after women's marathon 10km competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games swimming event in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Natalie Du Toit ranked the 16th of the event. Du Toit, whose left leg was amputated in 2001 after she was injured in a road accident, is an athlete for both Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympic Olympics. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)


Du Toit from South Africa, who lost her left leg in a motor accident and uses a prosthetic leg to walk, completed the guelling Olympic 10-kilometer open water swimming race. Having competed against able-bodied athletes, du Toit will now focus on the Beijing Paralympics.

9. Ara Abrahamian - most furious medalist

Ara Abrahamian (C) of Sweden argues with referees after losing the Men's Greco-Roman 84kg semifinal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games wrestling event in Beijing, China, Aug. 14, 2008. Ara Abrahamian of Sweden was defeated by Andrea Minguzzi of Italy during the bout. (Xinhua/Li Gang)(

Ara Abrahamian (C) of Sweden argues with referees after losing the Men's Greco-Roman 84kg semifinal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games wrestling event in Beijing, China, Aug. 14, 2008. Ara Abrahamian of Sweden was defeated by Andrea Minguzzi of Italy during the bout. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

After a wrestling match, bronze medalist Ara Abrahamian snarled at the judge as his bid for gold was ended by a decision, which both his coach and himself considered unfair. During the awarding ceremony, the Swede threw the medal on the mat and stormed off.

10. Sarah Stevenson - most dramatic overturn

Chen Zhong (blue) of China fights against Sarah Stevenson of the Great Britain during the Taekwondo women +67kg quarterfinals at the Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 23, 2008. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)

In Briton Stevenson's taekwondo match against Chen Zhong, in which the Chinese was first announced as the winner. Stevenson filed a protest. The result was reversed after a review of the video which was unprecedented in the Olympic taekwondo history.

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