Monday, August 11, 2008

From Wukesong and the Olympic Basketball Gymnasium

Backdated; posted Aug. 14, 4:05 AM.

The shiny new basketball arena is a glittering achievement, more so when you step inside and realize they've imported everything you know about the West's basketball product -- including dancers and stunt teams -- to Beijing. I elaborate in ESPN The Blog.

I was there for two sets of doubleheaders: Spain-China and South Korea-Brazil in the afternoon with Wang Kexue (which means "science"), U.S.-Czech Republic and Russia-Latvia for the nightcap with Zhang Peng.

Two thoughts that weren't used in my ESPN entry:

1. Have you seen Brazil's uniform? Let's just say that when that team took on Australia a couple days later, it was a sight that could've made fashion designers blind.

2. For all the talk of this being a "sold out" Olympics, there were lots of empty seats for the opening of this basketball tournament. Granted, it's women's basketball, but still -- I was surprised to see so many seats, especially for the Spain-China game, which turned out to be a thriller. In fact, three of our games were close -- Brazil-South Korea went into overtime, and Latvia-Russia had several momentum shifts -- and the other game, U.S.-Czech, was great for the way the Americans dominated.

Here was our view in the evening from our box seats:

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