Park makes splash with ad campaigns
South Korean teenager Park Tae-hwan has become the focus of advertising campaigns valued at over 100 billion won ($96 million) since winning the country's first Olympic gold in swimming.
Park, nicknamed "marine boy", signed major endorsement deals ahead of the Games when he was shattering South Korean records on his way to his triumph in the 400m freestyle on day two of the Games.
South Korea, host of the 1988 summer Olympics, have had their share of Games heroes, but not someone like Park, a charismatic 18-year-old who is the first Korean to rank among the best in the world in events long dominated by Americans and Australians.
Police catch ticket touts
Beijing police have caught 31 foreigners accused of scalping Olympic tickets, briefly jailing them or cutting their stay in China.
They were netted in a crackdown on illegal ticket sales around Olympic venues in Beijing, Xinhua news agency said last weekend.
Despite many empty seats at competitions, Chinese and foreign visitors have eagerly sought for seats to the big contests and have often turned to "yellow bulls" or scalpers.
Police sweeps near the Bird's Nest stadium and other main venues on Friday and Saturday caught 221 scalpers and "disruptive" people, including the foreigners.
Only 10 athletes say they are gay
Only 10 of the 10,500 athletes competing in the Beijing Olympics are openly gay, according to a study by a gay website.
Some gay athletes fear that coming out would bring disapproval from fans and team-mates, others worry about the damage to endorsements, Outsports.com said. Unwarranted media attention could also detract from their performances, it added.
Nine of the gay athletes named by Outsports were lesbians and their sports ranged from fencing to cycling. Just one, Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, was a man.
Outsports said this must be way short of the real figure and argued that a more accurate estimate could even reach 1,000.
"For all we know, there is a rower or badminton player somewhere known as gay within his or her sport but not in a larger public context," it said.
Dancer could be paralysed
A dancer who was injured during a rehearsal for the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony could be paralysed, Games organisers said yesterday after weeks of speculation.
Games vice president Wang Wei had repeatedly said he did not know of the dancer's medical condition after she fell on her head and back from a three-metre high platform.
"It was a very heavy fall," Wang said. "It will take at least six months to find out if the dancer will be paralysed."
No histrionics in women's game
Male soccer players, with their penchant for play-acting and histrionics, have been put to shame at the Olympic Games by their well-behaved female counterparts.
While the men go tumbling over at the slightest touch, often performing a triple somersault before clutching their faces in apparent agony and waving a fake yellow card in the air, the women simply stand up and get on with the game.
The contrast has been brutally exposed at the Olympics, where the two tournaments are being held side-by-side. The men's tournament, which has employed inexperienced referees who have struggled to keep the players under control, has so far produced 109 yellow cards and 10 reds in 28 games.
In the women's, there have been 32 yellows and no reds in 22 games.
NBC breaks 18-year record
Day nine of the Summer Olympics in Beijing, featuring swimmer Michael Phelps' historic gold-medal triumph, gave NBC its most watched Saturday prime-time broadcast in 18 years, the network said.
The telecast averaged 31.1 million US viewers, NBC's biggest audience for a Saturday night programme since an episode of "The Golden Girls" spin-off "Empty Nest" drew 31.4 million viewers in February 1990, according to Nielsen Media Research data cited by the network.
Phelps was just four years old at the time, NBC said.
On Saturday, the 23-year-old pride of Baltimore, Maryland, helped the US swim team to a first-place finish in the 400-metre medley relay in record time, giving Phelps the 14th gold medal of his career and his eighth at the Beijing Games. The victory marked the most gold medals ever claimed by one athlete at a single Olympics.
NBC has averaged 30 million viewers in prime-time since the games opened on August 8, and Saturday night's audience peaked at 40 million viewers in the half hour during which the men's 400-metre medley was held.
Through nine days, 191 million viewers have tuned in to at least one six-minute bloc of the Beijing Games on NBC and its various sister cable.