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China kept close tabs on potential malcontents

Mercury News
October 30, 2008

Concerned about possible demonstrations during the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government produced a list of nine American athletes two with ties to Stanford and one assistant coach it thought might cause problems during the games.

The U.S. State Department knew about China's concerns and made "multiple representations" to the country's government to reinforce the American belief in freedom of expression.

USA Today reported Thursday that it had obtained an internal U.S. Olympic Committee e-mail in which a Chinese official expressed concern that members of the U.S. team might stage some sort of demonstration.

USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel confirmed that the list was given to the federation during a meeting July 8 with Shu Xiao, minister counselor for cultural affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, the e-mail said.

The athletes included softball players Jennie Finch, Jessica Mendoza (a former Stanford player), Natasha Watley, Amanda Freed, and softball assistant coach Karen Johns; soccer player Abby Wambach; cyclist Jonathan Page; paralympic basketball player Jen Howitt; paralympic wheelchair racer Cheri Blauwet (a Stanford med student); and golfer Laura Goodwin.

Motor sports

Formula One title favorite Lewis Hamilton has been the target of racist messages at a Web site aimed at promoting his failure in the decisive Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Web site (or Burst Hamilton's Tires) says, in Spanish, that "Hamilton cannot finish the race" and that "We want Hamilton to lose."

Hamilton enters the final race of the year with a chance to win his first title and become F1's youngest champion at age 23. He has a seven-point advantage over Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, and can win the championship by finishing fifth or better on Sunday.


David Beckham will join AC Milan in January on a three-month loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy to maintain his fitness and prolong his career with the English national team.

The former England captain's stint in Serie A will begin Jan. 7, and he will rejoin his Galaxy teammates in March.

"He will have to go back to Galaxy by the time the MLS starts, and training before that," Milan sporting director Umberto Gandini said Thursday. "David is committed to the LA Galaxy and the MLS. Only David knows his future, but for sure he has a commitment to go back to the MLS and fulfill that."

  • The Earthquakes' Frank Yallop has been named a finalist for MLS coach of the year and English midfielder Darren Huckerby as newcomer of the year. The winners will be announced Nov. 11.
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