Athletes prepare for Olympic Games

April 30, 2008 6:49:49 PM PDT
The Olympic flame is back in China, more specifically Hong Kong, not the mainland yet. It's return marks 100 days before the summer games will begin. The next leg of the torch relay will be in Hong Kong and neighboring Maccau on Friday and Saturday. Then, a three month journey across the mainland. For the Chinese Government it's a final three months of public relations, for the athletes it's the last leg of training.

There are exactly 100 days until the start of the Olympics and some of America's athletes are practicing hours each day at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek.

The young women of the U.S. Synchronized Swim ming Team have just returned from a visit to Beijing as they prepare for the upcoming summer games.

They are trying to keep the focus on sports, not politics.

"Part of the Olympics is to make people notice things going on in the world and I think its certainly doing that, but hopefully in the end it will be a positive thing," says Kim Probst, a team co-captain.

The Chinese Government is worried about the games and is now mounting a full court press. It's rare for western journalists to be allowed inside San Francisco's Chinese Consulate. Deputy Consul General Weilian Shen invited us in to complain about media bias.

"We wish to clarify the facts today and reveal the true facts," says Shen.

They gave us a video of the riots in Lhasa Tibet. According to Shen, the Tibetans were the law breakers, looting and setting shops and hospitals on fire. He says it was premeditated by Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama, and his followers.

"Instigate people to create troubles for the Chinese Government and try their best to sabotage the Beijing Olympic Games. There's no doubt about it," says Shen.

"I doubt it," says U.C. Berkeley political science professor T.J. Pempel believes China's spin has two targets.

"I think the Chinese Government is concerned both about the western view but also about the growing nationalist response in China because if it gets too big, too boisterous, then the Chinese Government has a domestic problem it has to deal with," says Pempel.

The demonstrations that have greeted the Olympic flame have fueled anger in China.

The Chinese Government would prefer happy images. Captured in the pictures of San Francisco's torch relay, which was diverted from protestors.


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