"There's something on the wing! I mean, that sign!" Anthony Tao

[Ed.'s Note: This is the first of Mag contributor Anthony Tao's weekly reports from Beijing as we count down to the start to the Olympic Games on Aug. 8.]

On July 13, 2001, the day Beijing won the rights to host the Olympic Games, some 200,000 people converged on Tiananmen Square to celebrate. This moment was, at last, China's chance to show off its 5,000-year-old culture and history, and enter the global community's inner circle. But somewhere along the way, the Chinese people began accepting the ubiquitous Olympics hype as just another facet of everyday life, leaving us to make sense of it all.

  • Born in China after 2000? You're probably named Olympics!
    Aoyun has been a popular choice for baby names recently, as Chinese parents seize upon the chance to bestow a bit of luck to their offspring. We feel bad for the first couple that decided on Aoyun, thinking they must've been so creative.

  • Tracking Medals in the New Millenium
    Printed updates are so last century. This Olympics Scoreboard, powered by iDashboards, gives you live updates of medal counts and can organize data by country, event and medal type. We'll be watching for the Italians to clean up in Fencing … again.

  • Breathing > Opening Ceremonies
    Several Australian track athletes are skipping the Opening Ceremonies for air quality concerns. And you thought dingos were the worst of their problems.

  • Xiang's Pang
    Liu Xiang's world record in the 110-meter hurdles was broken last week by Dayron Robles of Cuba by one-hundredth of a second. But let's face it, that's like a year in track terms.

  • Yao Gives Back
    The Rockets C launched a children's foundation last week focusing on relief for China's Wenchaun Earthquake victims. Rest of China: "Great, great. Now when can you play basketball again?"

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  • Torch Relay Update
    Just passed: Chongqing in Sichuan Province, with the cauldron lit by boxing champ Li Bin. Next up: Urumqi, capital of the Xinjian Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China.