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Olympic Facts – Beijing 2008

Olympic Facts – Beijing 2008

Did you know…

Brazilian national men’s football team qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games. Like Argentina, Italy and Nigeria, Brazil is one of the favorites to win the gold medal. Ironically, Brazil -it has won five FIFA World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2000)- has never won an Olympic title. This Latin American country won the silver medals two times at the Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles and in 1988 in South Korea…

The Canadian Olympic Committee will send 200-250 athletes to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the capital city of the People’s Republic of China. Alexandre Despatie (diving/ Olympic gold medallist, 2004) and Brent Hayden (swimming / world champion, 2007) are the most famous representatives of the Canadian team. Despatie is an Olympic hero in Canada. He says, “When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut. Today, the business world interests me and I have a love for the cinema also. For the moment, all my energy is focused on diving. As long as I enjoy diving, it’s what I will do”.

Yurisel Laborde Duanes , who was one of the greatest Afro-Cuban athletes of all time, will not compete at the Beijing Olympics. Why? In May 2008, she sought political asylum in the United States.This famous judoka disappeared in Miami after a Pan American Championship. During an interview with Maria Elvira Salazar, Laborde said “I was afraid that the Cuban State Security arrested me…” Laborde was considered a gold medal favourite for the 2008 Olympics. She won a gold medal at the 2007 World Judo Championships in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). This sportswoman was born on August 18, 1979 in Cuba.

The United States will take more than 630 athletes to the Beijing Games and aims to win 40 gold medals (archery, baseball, beach volleyball, basketball, kayak, cycling, equestrian, swimming, athletics, boxing, gymnastics, sailing, shooting, soccer , softball, rowing, tennis, triathlon, taekwondo, indoor volleyball, wrestling).

Qatar is to start full preparations for the Beijing Olympics in August and will prioritise athletics, weightlifting, equestrian, shooting…

Montegrin national men’s water polo team qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Under the leadership of Petar Porobic, who is one of the best coaches in the world, Montenegro won the European Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bratislava (Slovak Republic/former Czechoslovakia). Montenegro will compete at the Olympics for the first time. In China, Petar Parobic will feel the weight of expectation from his homeland. “I have only one reserve -whether we have the patience to wait. Time. People expect and sport persons expect results quickly. No one understands that it is not easy for quick results. You must have a period to organize and gets results”, he said.

The United Mexican States will send 120 athletes to the 2008 Olympics. Mexican athletes will compete in archery, athletics, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, synchronized swimming, swimming, taekwondo, triathlon, weightlifting, wrestling. It will send its best athletes to China: Paola Espinoza (diving), Romary Rifka (athletics), Juan Jose Veloz Davila (aquatics), Belem Guerrero (cycling), Iridia Salazar Blanco (martial arts), Jose David Galvan (track & field)…

The 10km Marathon swimming will be part of the official programme for the 2008 Olympics in Asia. FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui says, ” FINA has successfully expanded the Olympic competition programme with the introduction of 10km Marathon Swimming events for both men and women, starting at the Beijing Olympic Games”.

The Chinese National Olympic Committee is planning to take 500-600 athletes to the 2008 Olympics.

Brazil will send an Olympic team composed of both veterans (Gustavo Endres, Gilberto Godoy Filho, Diego Hypolito, Kaio de Almeida, Fabiola Pulga Molina, Hudson Santos de Souza, Jadel Gregorio, Maurren Higa Maggi) and young hopefuls (Cesar Cielo Filho, Thiago Machado Vilela Pereira,Thaisa Menezes, Natalia Pereira, Bruno Rezende). Swimmer Fabiola Molina, who trains in Italy, will compete in the 100m and 200m backstroke…

The Games mascot, Fuwa (good-luck dolls), is fast becoming the most popular toy in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong and Macau.