Top 10 Olympic Moments of 2008

2008 is absolutely a year to remenber. In 2008 we witnessed the great joy as well as experienced a tremendous sorrow and grief. Is the 30th year that our country carried out the reform and opening-up policy, and also, the first year I begin my postgraduates stage. the time magzine chose top ten of everything of 2008, unavoidably, the 29th beijing Olympic Game is one of the topic. below are the top ten moment Olympic Game from by Sean Gregory. Personally, I think the Grand Opening should be the Top 1 mement.
1. Phelps' Photo Finish
Michael Phelps was in a pool full of trouble. The American swimming phenom was going for his seventh gold medal in Beijing, a win which would have tied him with Mark Spitz for the most golds at a single Games. But halfway through the finals of the 100-m butterfly, Phelps was stuck in seventh place. Even as he made a furious comeback, it still looked like he would not catch Serbian Milorad Cavic, who was just inches away from an upset. Then Cavic made a fatal mistake, gliding toward the finish, while Phelps snuck in an extra half-stroke. It was a historic kick: Phelps touched the wall .01 seconds before Cavic, clinching a surreal victory. The Serbian delegation filed a protest, but frame-by-frame photos of the finish confirmed the undeniable ?Phelps had overtaken Cavic with that one amazing lunge for the wall. Phelps broke Spitz ' record the next day, but it was his last one-hundredth of a second victory over Cavic that will prove the most memorable.

2. Lightning Bolt
As Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt spread his arms and slapped his chest before the crossing the finish of the 100-m sprint, many stunned fans shared a similar thought: "Usain, are you insane? That early celebration just cost you a world record." Then, the time flashed on the board: 9.69 seconds, the fastest dash in human history. Viewers' revised reaction was: "You've got to be kidding me." The 6'5" Bolt (has there ever been a better name for a champion sprinter?) followed his 100-m histrionics by shattering the 200-m world record four nights later ?without any pre-finish theatrics ?and winning a 4X100-m relay gold two days after that. Not everyone was so pleased with his stunning perfor mance. Olympic purists criticized Bolt for celebrating before the finish ?and in the process, not getting an even better record time. The only thing more shocking than Bolt's times (and behavior) was his pre-race diet, which consisted almost entirely of greasy chicken nuggets.

3. Grand Opening
The pomp of the Olympic opening ceremonies typically never matches the drama of the athletic events themselves, but that all changed in Beijing. Over 15,000 Chinese performers took part in the ceremony; flourishes included 2008 percussionists pounding on ancient drums, dancers twisting around a traditional scroll to pay tribute to Chinese art, and a giant globe that rose up from the center of the stadium. Near the end of the dazzling spectacle Li Ning, the Chinese gymnastics legend and entrepreneur, 'jogged' a 500-meter lap around the top of the Beijing Bird's Nest before lighting the Olympic torch. Suspended in the air with flame in hand, only computer-controlled wires wrapped around his waist kept Li from plunging hundreds of feet to the ground. The stunt was a painstaking, yet breathtaking, finale to China's grand welcome to the world that only included a few missteps: organizers digitally enhanced some fireworks for television, and ordered a precocious seven-year old to lip synch a song sung by another young girl, who was deemed not cute enough for the screen.

4. Age-old Controversy
After gymnast Cheng Fei flipped across the floor and struck a final pose for the adoring crowd, a Chinese victory was assured. Of the host-country's world-best 51 gold medals at the Beijing Games, perhaps no other was as sweet, and controversial, as the women's gymnastics team win, its first in Olympic history. China had taken the world title two years before, with the U.S. wrestling it back in '07. The highly anticipated rematch lived up to its billing, though the U.S. failed to bring its A game. Alicia Sacramone fell during the floor exercise and balance beam, though she handled her disappointment with uncommon grace. But the sight of the tiny Chinese gymnasts, who appeared to be barely in puberty, heightened suspicions that they were using underage gymnasts. Working for NBC, ex-U.S. coach Bela Karolyi barked that the Chinese were "using half-people". Gymnastics officials investigated the allegations, which included some charges of multiple conflicting birth certificates, but they concluded that the girls were at least 16, old enough to compete. The U.S. got some measure of revenge in the individual women's events, when Nastia Liukin won the all-around and Shawn Johnson took the gold in the balance beam.

5. Redeemed Team
Entering the gold medal game against Spain, the U.S. men's basketball squad, dubbed "The Redeem Team," hadn't really been tested. During the previous seven contests, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Co. had smashed its opponents by an average of 29 points, including a semi-final blowout of Argentina, which had to play with little help from its ailing star, Manu Ginobili. The U.S. had already destroyed its final opponent Spain once, and the team's starting point guard, Jose Calderon, would miss the final due to injury. Gold, everyone assumed, would be a mere formality. But reclaiming the world's top basketball prize proved anything but easy. Spain showed up, cutting the U.S. lead to two, 91-89, with eight minutes remaining. Then Bryant got hot and took over. With three minutes left, and the U.S. up five, he hit a three pointer that gave the Americans breathing room, and was also fouled on the play. Bryant put a finger over his mouth, to quiet his critics. Normally, that would be construed as yet another instance of ugly Americanism. But in the heat of a classic game that carried enormous stakes, you could understand, and even appreciate, Bryant's raw emotion. The Americans won, 118-107, to recapture basketball gold.

6. China's Hurdles Heartbreak
After a false start in a preliminary heat, Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang headed towards the starting area like all the other participants. But instead of getting set in the blocks once again, Liu simply kept walking away, his Olympic medal hopes, and those of an entire nation, disappearing into the stadium tunnel. Liu had already been bothered by injuries leading up to the Games, and when he pulled up lame in that heat with what would turn out to be a busted Achilles tendon, he knew he was finished. It's hard to overstate the expectations saddling Liu, who won the 110-meter gold in Athens. "Officials told us if Liu could not win a gold medal in Beijing, all of his previous achievements would become meaningless," Sun Haiping, Liu's coach, told the press last year. That would explain the stunned, hushed reaction to his exit; 91,000 fans at the Bird's Nest, who came to cheer their hero, fell silent. At a post-race conference, Sun broke down in tears. He wasn't alone.

7. Reaching New Heights
Yelena Isinbayeva had the Bird's Nest all to herself. The night's track and field events had ended except for the women's pole vault, a sport that rarely gets top-billing. But here was Isinbayeva, with some 80,000 fans focused on the Russian as she had one more chance to break her own world record. The bar stood 5.05 meters high ?just a shade taller than the world record height of 5.04 meters she had cleared the month before. She sprinted down the runway, set her pole, and with the cameras flashing, Isinbayeva a thrilling new world record. Ecstatic, she did a flip to further rile up the crowd. "I felt like a famous singer," Isinbayeva said. "The whole stage was only for me. It was so cool."

8. Tragedy and Triumph
Despite all the security precautions China had taken, tragedy struck the Olympics on the first full day of competition. The father-in-law of men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon was murdered at the Drum Tower, a popular tourist spot, and McCutcheon's mother-in-law was seriously injured; the assailant, a disturbed, knife-wielding man who randomly targeted the victims, then leapt to his death. McCutcheon spent a week tending to his family, his team's quest for a medal suddenly an afterthought. He contemplated flying home, but his wife, ex-Olympic volleyball player Elisabeth, wouldn't let him miss the opportunity he had spent so many years working towards. So McCutcheon returned to lead the U.S. to an improbable gold, its first since 1984. "When I look back at this thing, I'm just going to think, 'Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,'" McCutcheon said after the final win over Brazil. "And I'm going to mourn the loss of my father-in-law. We can do that. We can be happy and feel a tinge of sadness, as well."

9. India (Finally) Hits Its Target
It was only fitting that at the Olympic Games that cemented China's status as a sports powerhouse, the world's second-most populous country on earth, India, finally got a small measure of glory by winning its first individual gold medal. When Abhinav Bindra nailed the target on this final shot, giving him gold in the 10-m air rifle competition, fans poured into the streets back home. The 17th ranked shooter in the world, Bindra rallied late from fourth place to steal the title. Bindra's medal ceremony played in a ceaseless loop on Indian television, and strangers exchanged hugs over the accomplishment. "When the Indian National Anthem played at the Olympics and the Indian flag was raised, tears were running down my cheeks!" wrote a commenter named Vijay on the Reuters website. "This is NEWS!"

10. Upset on the Mat
Henry Cejudo had so much working against him. The son of illegal immigrants from Mexico grew up in crime-ridden apartment complexes. After spending years fighting with his older brother, Angel, in close quarters, he followed Angel onto the wrestling mat. He had no college wrestling experience, having decided to train for the Olympics full-time instead, and finished 31st at last year's World Championships. Just 21-years-old, Cejudo would contend in 2012, the thinking went: this trip to Beijing just offered some experience. But Cejudo defied wrestling wisdom, upset the '06 world champ in the first round, and made it all the way to the final, where he drove Japan's Tomohiro Matsunaga onto his back to clinch gold. He became the youngest wrestling champ in U.S. history. American flag draped over his shoulders, Cejudo ran around the venue crying, in one of the more moving celebrations at the Games. "I'm dreaming with my eyes open right now," he said.

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