Saturday, August 23, 2008

Inside the Water Cube

Thanks to my Chinese friend, Cindy, I was able to attend the finals of the Women's 10m Platform Diving on Thursday evening.

The Cube looks great at night, lit up a watery blue colour. And it's a very impressive venue inside. However, it was very far from full.

We didn't have too great a view from our nosebleed seats, but it was fascinating to be there and savour the sense of occasion. The result, alas, seemed to be something of a foregone conclusion - although there was a brief flutter of excitement (or perhaps I should say anxiety, for most of the crowd) when the Canadian, Emilie Heymans, displaced the Chinese from the lead with a great 4th round dive. She fell back to 4th after the final round, however, and Chen Ruolin comfortably reclaimed the lead she'd held throughout with a perfect final dive.

I assume that diving, like gymnastics, has a minimum age rule (i.e., that athletes have to be older than 16, or turn 16 during this Olympic year). I assume that, as with the gymnastics, China is blatantly flouting this rule. Bronze medalist Wang Xin looks all of about 11 or 12; Chen looks maybe 14 or 15. Of course, according to the official records they were both born in 1992, Wang on 11th August and Chen on 12th December. Hmmph - I'm sceptical! I think this ought to be looked into.

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