Official: China escaped boycotts

The Baltimore Sun

A senior International Olympic Committee member said the Beijing Games escaped political boycotts only because of the goodwill after May's devastating earthquake.

Canadian member Dick Pound said during the IOC's general assembly yesterday that the global torch relay never should have taken place in light of expected protests by activists opposed to China's policies on Tibet, human rights and other issues.

"This came very close to becoming a disaster," he said. "The risks were obvious and should have been assessed a little more carefully. The result is there was a crisis affecting the games."

The relay was disrupted by anti-China protests in London, Paris and other cities.

The Olympic torch completed the final leg of its global relay before reaching Beijing, where the Games will open, passing yesterday through the earthquake-stricken province of Sichuan in homage to tens of thousands killed there in May.

* Basketball Dwyane Wade scored 22 points as the U.S. men wrapped up their exhibition schedule with their toughest test, beating Australia, 87-76, in Shanghai in their final game before the Games. The U.S. shot 3-for-18 from three-point range and was 20-for-33 at the foul line. ... Lisa Leslie scored 14 points, and the United States held off Australia, 71-67, to win the FIBA Diamond Ball tournament in Haining, China.

* Track and field U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay said his injured hamstring is feeling better and he will be ready to go when the Olympic 100-meter races start next week. He hurt his hamstring early last month at the Olympic trials while running in preliminary heats in the 200.

* Incentives The Dominican Republic says it will pay its athletes between $90,000 and $200,000 for winning medals. The Caribbean country has won a gold in athletics in 2004 and a boxing bronze in 1984.

* Media The police beating of two Japanese journalists in western China drew an official apology, but Beijing set new obstacles by requiring news outlets to make appointments to report from Tiananmen Square.

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