China · Sports

Typhoon holiday

Today was a day of nonstop rain and gray skies, and a welcome respite from work, courtesy of the incoming Typhoon Saola which is taking its sweet time passing through Taiwan. Basically the whole of Taiwan got to have a day off from work and school, with dozens of flights and train services cancelled. While many of us in Taipei were fortunate to enjoy a day off without much worry, there was serious flooding and landslides in some areas and a few deaths. The typhoon is moving towards China so there might be more damage and casualties.

The American swim coach who first criticized Chinese teen double-gold medalist Ye Shiwen for her “disturbing” performance still isn’t holding back on his suspicions, coming up with more shady allegations about Ye supposedly holding back in her other races. I suppose while he’s at this, he might as well start looking into other great performances from other teen swimmers, like the 15-year-old Lithuanian girl who won gold in the 100 m breaststroke or 17-year-old American Missy Franklin who won the 100 m backstroke. I’m not suggesting these girls are doping, but that Chinese success should not be regarded with such suspicion while similar success from athletes of other nations are treated as so wonderful. Meanwhile, here’s a decent story on Ye Shiwen’s childhood and beginning of her swim career. Ye defends herself against her critics, as she very well should, though I don’t think she really said sour grapes unless there really is that term in Chinese.

A massive power cut affected half of India on Monday and Tuesday, leaving over 600 million without power. If ever there was a sign of India’s serious infrastructural deficiencies, this is it. Having said that, I did experience the unbelievable power blackout in Toronto in the summer of 2003, when the entire city had no power and I had to go line up to buy bottled water at a neighborhood grocery in the evening. This blackout, itself one of the biggest in history though paling in comparison with the Indian one, hit parts of eastern US and Canada and  lasted for about one day.

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