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Among those featured in Time special issue "100 Olympic Athletes To Watch":
Dara Torres (United States) - 41, nine-time Olympic medallist in swimming and mother of a two-year old who has qualified for her fifth Olympic Games, something no other swimmer has ever done. The time in the 100m freestyle that got her a ticket to Beijing was 2.47 seconds faster than her Olympic effort in 1988, at age 21 - a lifetime in such a short race.
Liu Xiang (China) – 25. When Liu Xiang claimed victory in the 110-m hurdles in Athens, delivering China its first ever sprint gold, you could almost sense the alarm in the announcers' voices. Few had heard of this mystery athlete, much less knew how to pronounce his given name. What a difference four years make. In Beijing, Liu, 25, along with basketball star Yao Ming, will be the poster boy for China's mighty Olympic squad. His name (pronounced Sheeahng) means "to soar" in Chinese.
Personal Plane flies, folds, tows, swims, and beats SUVs on mileage - ICON A5 amphibious sportsplane completes first test flight
We never did get the hovercrafts we were promised as kids, but we're getting closer. Imagine sailing above the Bourne Bridge on your way to the beach, while consuming less gas than the SUVs stuck beneath you in traffic.
A compact, two-seat plane with folding wings that can be pulled behind a car on a trailer will premiere at an air show in Wisconsin next week in a development that heralds a new genre of flying machines designed to bring the power-boating experience to the sky. Developed by two Stanford business school graduates, Kirk Hawkins and Steen Strand, the ICON A5 is the latest and arguably coolest plane to take to the skies under a new classification that the Federal Aviation Administration calls light-sport aircraft.
The A5's top speed is 120 miles per hour, and its maximum altitude is about 10,000 feet, in keeping with its Light-Sport Aircraft classification - a new class created to make personal aviation accessible to more people. It runs on auto gasoline and gets 18 to 20 miles to the gallon, according to Icon. read more »
History in less than 2 minutes in Olympic sport - Natalie Coughlin snatches back the world record of 100-meter backstroke
OMAHA - Call it the one-heat world record. For about two minutes, Hayley McGregory was on the top of the world. Swimming in the second-to-last heat of the preliminaries for the 100-meter backstroke at the United States Olympic Trials, the 22-year-old from Texas clocked a 59.15, breaking the world record by .06 seconds.
When McGregory made the turn at 50 meters on world-record pace, the Qwest Center crowd got firmly behind her, cheering loudly. Natalie Coughlin, whose record McGregory broke, was standing over McGregory’s lane as she finished, getting ready to race in the final heat. The plan was for Coughlin, who this year has recorded three of the five all-time fastest times in the event, to conserve her energy and deliver a nice, easy performance, maybe a second or so faster than her personal best.
When Coughlin saw McGregory’s time, she switched gears. Swimming with a sense of urgency seldom seen from a top swimmer early in the day’s heats, the 25-year-old Coughlin one-upped McGregory with a time of 59.03. McGregory will go down as the world-record holder for less than two minutes. "Not even a whole minute, really," McGregory said with a chuckle. "It’s still awesome." Looking ahead to Monday night’s semifinal, she said, "I’m really excited to race next to her."
The top 16 finishers will race again Monday night, after which the field will be pared to eight finalists, who will compete Tuesday for the two berths to Beijing. "I was planning on going a lot easier this morning," said Coughlin, the gold medalist in the 100 backstroke at the 2004 Olympics with a time of 1:00.37. McGregory’s swim, she said, "gave me motivation to swim a little faster than I was originally planning." Coughlin, a Californian who came into the race with five of the 10 fastest swims in the event, looks at the 100 backstroke as her baby. She wasn’t going to let somebody take it from her without putting up a fight. "I didn’t really want her to have it long," Coughlin said. After all, Coughlin had held the mark uninterrupted since 2002 when she became the first woman to break the minute barrier in this event, going 59.58 six years ago.
Either Coughlin or McGregory, or both, could conceivably take the record down even more in the semifinals later tonight. McGregory may have popped up on Coughlin's radar in a big way, but the 22-year-old from Longhorn Aquatics in Texas is no pretender, having shown sub-minute speed in the event, going 59.46 at a meet in Austin earlier this month. She started her career at the University of Texas, transferred to USC and found herself a bit adrift when the program changed hands from Mark Schubert to Dave Salo when Schubert joined USA Swimming.
The rest of morning preliminaries went to form. Jessica Hardy (1:06.85) of Trojan Swim was the fastest qualifier in the 100 breaststroke, edging her teammates Rebecca Soni, who went 1:06.90. In the men's 100 backstroke, Randall Bal had the fastest time in 53.28. World-record holder and Nike endorser Aaron Peirsol, who experimented with Speedo's LZR Racer, was sixth in the 100 backstroke, going 54.14. "The way everyone's swimming, it looks like it's not that big a deal anymore," Peirsol said, joking of the four world records set here in less than two days.
Photos courtesy of Al Bello, Donald Miralle/Getty Images, and KCRA
Fuel change breakthrough: biodiesel-powered speedboat Earthrace, around world in 60 days, beats record set in 1998 by 14 days
Team Earthrace, led by New Zealand Skipper Pete Bethune, has smashed the world circumnavigation record for a speedboat by almost 14 days. Almost five years of preparation, planning and two record attempts have paid off leaving the bio-diesel powered Earthrace team to claim the round the world speedboat record.
Possibly the coolest powerboat on the planet, the space age, wave piercing trimaran Earthrace took bio-fuel into history as the 78 foot, (24 metre) boat crossed the 'Round the World' finish line in Sagunto, Spain. In just 60 days Earthrace has powered almost 24,000 nautical miles around the world. Earthrace left Spain on Sunday April 27th at 14:35 local time (1325 GMT) and headed west on the long voyage around the world. The previous record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe was 74 days 20 hours 58 minutes 30 seconds, set by the UK boat ‘Cable & Wireless Adventurer’ in 1998.
Flying both the New Zealand and Spanish flags Earthrace thundered across the finish line, powered by her twin 540 horse powered Cummins-Mercruiser engines, in front of a large spectator fleet and awaiting media at 14.24 CET (13.24 GMT). The finish in Spain by Earthrace was monitored by D. Jaime Pérez López, Presidente de la Federación Territorial Motonaútica de la Comunidad Valenciana.The new record is 13 days, 21 hours and 9 minutes inside the old one. read more »
Just when you thought there was going to be one less thing to believe in – namely the invincibility of Tiger Woods with a lead in a major golf championship – along he comes to amaze once again.
He slid and bounced about a 15-footer into the side door on the 72nd and final hole to tie the tournament and force the playoff and it was a putt, a moment, that represented the highest kind of drama this sport has to offer. It was amazing stuff, really, and he has done it before and he surely will do it again and no one should ever be surprised when he performs miracles. But he keeps doing it and who isn’t constantly amazed, if only by the sheer volume?
"That man will crawl around if he has to play," Rocco Mediate said of Woods’s wounded knee, which dominated the TV talk and surely was making an impact on Woods, too, although he said the reason his tee shots, most of the day, kept sailing left was “just bad swings."
“He’s good enough he can beat us on one leg,’’ Stephen Ames had said about five hours earlier, when asked who would win. Ames then assumed the stork pose and swung away.
“He can stand up like this and still hit it – ding – 250 (yards) and beat us.’’ read more »
Drivers told to zip lips - NASCAR president Mike Helton says complaining is unfair to fans, who face costly gas, tough economy
NASCAR is tired of hearing the negative message some of the stock car sport's driving stars have been sending to fans lately. Too many complaints about the new-generation car, bumpy racetracks and numerous other things, and not enough positive reinforcement for fans.
NASCAR president Mike Helton held a "mandatory" meeting yesterday morning for drivers and the team owners at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Things apparently reached a critical mass last week at Pocono, where it appeared nobody was happy about the rough track or the so-called Car of Tomorrow that is still being developed or the intense heat that had many drivers near exhaustion after a Pocono 500 that most believe shouldn't be longer than 400 miles.