Sun | Sep 24, 2017

It happened this week in 2008

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Shelly-Ann Fraser
Markino Buckley
Danny McFarlane
Kenia Sinclair
Shelly-Ann Fraser
Women's 100-metre gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser (left) and joint silver winners Kerron Stewart (centre) and Sherone Simpson.
Natasha Moodie
Jevon Atkinson
Bradley Ally
Alia Atkinson
Abhinav Bindra
Michael Frater (left) and Asafa Powell
Samantha Albert
Michael Phelps
Katerina Thanou
Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt
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Sunday, August 10

Michael Phelps jumped off the starting blocks and started his race to history, winning the 400-metre medley for the first of his possible eight gold medals. The American swimmer won the race in style, setting a world record of 4:03.84 seconds. "That was a pretty emotional race," Phelps said. "I knew it was going to be a tough race all the way through."

The International Olympic Committee barred Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou from the Beijing Games, saying her role in a drug-testing cover-up four years ago in Athens was "a scandalous saga" that had brought the Olympic movement into disrepute. Thanou and fellow Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris missed doping tests on the eve of the 2004 opening ceremony and claimed later they were injured in a motorcycle accident. Both eventually withdrew from the Games and were banned by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

Outstanding welterweight boxers Taureano Johnson and John Jackson registered fine Caribbean wins in the ring. Bahamian Johnson roughed up Grenada's Roland Moses for a lopsided 18-3 points victory, while Jackson, of the US Virgin Islands, executed a measured plan to snatch a narrow 4-2 win over Mahamad Nirudzinau of Belarus.

Monday, August 11

First-time Olympian Samantha Albert, riding BEFORE I DO IT, had a great ride in the second stage of individual eventing on the third day of competition at the 2008 Beijing Games. Albert, ranked No. 52 overall at the end of the dressage, improved 10 places to No. 42 of the 60 riders remaining in the competition going into the third and final stage - showjumping.

The world's two fastest men, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, checked into the Olympic athletes' village after a three-hour bus ride from the Jamaican training camp, arriving four days ahead of the first heats of the 100 metres. Bolt, the 21-year-old sprinter who took .02 of a second off Powell's mark to set the world record at 9.72 seconds in May, is aiming for a 100-200 double in Beijing.

India celebrated its first-ever individual Olympic gold medallist. Abhinav Bindra won gold in the 10-metre air rifle, ending decades of Olympic misery for India, the world's second most populous nation and a perennial underachiever at the Games. Television news channels were giddy in their coverage, showing footage of Bindra receiving his medal and the raising of the Indian flag on a continuous loop, interrupted only by interviews with his parents from their home in northern India.

Tuesday, August 12

Michael Phelps won his third gold medal in the 200-metre freestyle, putting him nearly halfway to his quest of eight to break Mark Spitz's record from 1972.

China's male gymnasts easily won the gold medal in the finals of the team event, more than seven points ahead of 2004 champion, Japan. The US took the bronze.

Serena and Venus Williams each had straight-set victories to stay on track for a possible matchup in the final, and Rafael Nadal also won his tennis match as he seeks his first Olympic medal.

Trinidad and Tobago's Athens hero George Bovell produced a career-best swim but missed out on a semi-final spot in the men's 100-metre freestyle. Bovell won his heat in a personal-best time of 48.83 seconds, but the effort did not make the top 16 for a semi-final spot.

Wednesday, August 13

Alia Atkinson broke her own national record by almost two seconds, but it was not enough to advance to the semi-finals of the women's 200 metres breaststroke at the Olympics. Atkinson clocked 2:29.53 seconds for second in heat two.

With world records falling all around him, Michael Phelps stood tall - twice - on the top of the Olympic medal podium. The American swimmer won his fourth and fifth gold medals of the Beijing Games, setting two world records along the way. That brought his career total to a record 11 golds with three more events to go for him to become the first to win eight gold medals at a single Games.

Barbadian Bradley Ally swam superbly for third place in his heat and qualified for the men's 200-metre individual medley semi-finals. Ally, 23, clocked a personal-best 1:58.57 seconds and is the fifth fastest entering the semi-finals of the event that Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell won bronze in four years ago in Athens.

Thursday, August 14

Jamaica's Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Michael Frater advanced easily in their opening heats of the men's 100 metres on the first morning of track and field.

Jevon Atkinson had what he described as "a phenomenal swim" in the heats of the men's 50 metres freestyle at the National Aquatics Centre. Atkinson, the brother of Sydney Olympics 400m freestyle finalist, Janelle Atkinson, did fairly well. He created some local history by becoming the first Jamaican to go under 23 seconds for the 50m freestyle. A personal best and national record was, however, not enough to put him in the last 16.

Jamaica's swimming contingent ended their Beijing Olympics campaign with another national record at the National Aquatics Centre. Natasha Moodie powered to 25.95 seconds and fifth spot in heat eight of the 50 metres freestyle and became the first Jamaican woman to go under 26 seconds for the event. However, like Alia Atkinson and Jevon Atkinson, the Florida-based 17-year-old did not advance to the semi-finals.

Saturday, August 16

Usain Bolt created Olympic history for Jamaica as he streaked to the gold medal in the 100m final. Bolt stunned 91,000 at the Beijing National Stadium with a magnificent world record for the 100m, giving Jamaica its first-ever gold medal in the event at the Olympic Games. The win, in 9.69 seconds, a time which slashed three-hundredths of a second off his own world record, was the greatest individual performance by a Jamaican at the Games. Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson was a surprise silver medallist in a personal best 9.89 with American Walter Dix running on to take third, also in a personal-best 9.91.

The island's three women easily advanced from the second round to the semi-finals with the three fastest times. No Jamaican woman has ever won the 100m final at the Olympics. Leading the way is national champion Kerron Stewart with a scorching 10.98, the only sub-11 seconds clocking, to win heat four. Shelly-Ann Fraser was equally impressive in winning heat one, crossing the line in 11.06. Sherone Simpson, who has been displaying improved form since the start of these Games, won heat two in 11.02.

Kenia Sinclair, Danny McFarlane and Markino Buckley advanced to the finals of their respective events on a packed day of track and field action at the Beijing National Stadium. McFarlane and Buckley, both running in semi-final heat two, reached the final of the 400 metres after gutsy performances. Buckley recorded his second personal best time of the Games, clocking 48.50 for third in the second semi-final won in 48.27 by American Kerron Clement. McFarlane was second in 48.33. Sinclair placed fourth in her semi-final but advanced as one of the two fastest losers.

Michael Phelps swam into history with a magnificent finish, tying Mark Spitz with his seventh gold medal by the narrowest of margins in the l00-metre butterfly - one-hundredth of a second. "Dream as big as you can dream and anything is possible," Phelps said.