China, U.S. in Games spotlight with medal haul and presidential meeting 2008-08-11 00:27:39   Print

    by Xinhua writers Zhou Yan and Zhou Xiaozheng

    BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- China and the United States took most of the spotlight in the second day of the Beijing Olympics, with athletes from both countries reaping medals and breaking world record, and their presidents meeting and lunching on the Games' sideline.

    After the Sunday competition, China and the United States, both sending more than 600 athletes to the Games, have seen their medal collection expand by 6 and 5 pieces, respectively. The two countries now rank top and third on the medal tally, with six golds and two silvers for the Chinese, and two golds, two silvers and four bronzes for the Americans.(Gold Medalists on Day 2 of Beijing Olympics )

    While China has held on to its traditional strong events by winning one gold each from shooting, diving, judo and weightlifting, the U.S. team is contented to see their star swimmer Michael Phelps shine again in the pool, winning men's 400m individual medley with a new world record and getting a roaring start for his ambitious goal of sweeping 8 swimming golds.

    Outside the Olympic venues, the world was also watching with great interest a meeting followed by a lunch between Hu Jintao and George W. Bush, presidents of the two countries, in the Chinese central government compound of Zhongnanhai in the heart of Beijing.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with U.S. President George W. Bush at Zhongnanhai, compound of China's central authorities, in Beijing, China, Aug. 10, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
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    Naturally, the two leaders discussed a lot about bilateral relations and other major international issues such as the Korean Peninsula and Iran nuclear standoffs. But the ongoing Games and the athletes' performance also featured prominently in the leaders' talks.

    Bush, whose decision to attend the Games' opening ceremony on Friday night made him the sitting U.S. president paying the most visits to China, first congratulated Hu on the Games' "spectacular and successful" opening, and thanked China for its considerate arrangement of activities relating to the Games for himself and his family.

    In return, the Chinese president congratulated Bush on the victory of Michael Phelps, whom he described as "an excellent athlete," and expressed his belief that Phelps will "achieve more outstanding results" in the Olympic swimming competition.

    An unexpected tragedy on Saturday, in which one American citizen was stabbed to death and his wife injured by a Chinese man for motives yet to be found out, didn't dampen the amicable atmosphere of the meeting, as Hu expressed "heartfelt sympathy" to Bush and the victims family and pledged serious investigation, and an understanding Bush thanked China for its quick response.

    The American leader said he enjoyed the conservation with his Chinese counterpart, adding that he has had "memorable experience" every time he visited the country.

    The summit was actually sandwiched by two match-watching arrangements for Bush, who in the morning witnessed Phelps' glorious win in the Water Cube, a nickname for the National Aquatics Center, and enjoyed a basketball Group A qualifier featuring a clash between China and the United States.

    "To have president coming watch is pretty cool. I looked up and saw him wave the flag. That's pretty cool to have the president say congratulations," said Phelps.

    While there has been media speculations that China might hope to see the U.S. team tumble in its strong sports so as to get a chance to overtake it as No.1 on the medal table, the home audience in the Water Cube gave a negative answer with their enthusiastic support for the American star.

    "He's so cool," said Beijing schoolboy Song Xinrong, who is 12. "Actually, Phelps is the only swimmer I know."

    Song, who failed to get a ticket to witness Phelps' win in the 400m medley, tried hard to get an afternoon entry to cheer his American idol on in the 200m freestyle heats.

    "It's very impressive indeed," said the boy after Phelps booked a place in the semifinal with no difficulty.

    But the excitement by the pool was simply not enough for this day, as many people, including President Bush, had looked forward to the encounter between the two countries' basketball teams, said to be probably "the most exciting match in the Olympic history."

    Tickets of the match, which started at 22:15 Sunday in the Wukesong Indoor Stadium in west Beijing, were sold out months before, while almost all major sports channels across the world planned to broadcast it live.

    "We will try our best to beat them, but it won't be easy, as they have better skills," said the 7-foot-6 Yao Ming, backbone of the Chinese team who plays for Houston Rockets in the NBA, before the match. "Anyway, this is a precious experience for me, and it's a match worth remembering for a lifetime."

    And he was right. Despite assistance from teammates Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi, who also plays or played in the NBA, the valiant Yao failed to deny the star-studded American team an easy victory of 101-70.

    Anyway, the memory will always be there, so will be his friendship with the American players, forged through six years of NBA games on the U.S. soil. (Xinhua sportswriter Lou Chen also contributes to the story)

Hu meets Bush, underscoring China-U.S. relations

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R, front) shakes hands with U.S. President George W. Bush during their meeting at Zhongnanhai, compound of China's central authorities, in Beijing, China, Aug. 10, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
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    BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- China is ready to work together with the United States to forge ahead bilateral relations of constructive cooperation along the right track and in a sustained, healthy and stable manner, President Hu Jintao said here on Sunday.  Full story

Day 2 Roundup: Phelps on course for eight gold haul

    BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. swimming prodigy Michael Phelps began with a bang his quest for an unprecedented eight-gold at an Olympic Games, winning the men's 400m individual medley in world record time on Sunday.

    China picked up four gold medals in Day Two's action to take its total to six and top the medals table. South Korea and the United States are in second and third place respectively.  Full story

Editor: Xinhuanet
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