Day Two of the Beijing Olympics dawned under a cloud Sunday after the father of a former US Olympian was killed by an attacker while visiting the Drum Tower in Beijing. The AP reports:
Todd and Barbara Bachman of Lakeville, Minn. _ parents of 2004 volleyball Olympian Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman and in-laws of U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon _ were attacked by a Chinese man while visiting the 13th-century Drum Tower.
The U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed Bachman died from knife wounds and that Barbara Bachman suffered life-threatening injuries. She and their Chinese tour guide, who was also injured in the attack, were being treated in a Beijing hospital.
Elisabeth Bachman was with them at the time of the attack, but uninjured. Her father was chief executive officer for Bachman's, Inc., a home-and-garden center based in Minneapolis.
American swimmer Michael Phelps began his quest for eight gold medals Saturday night with an Olympic record time in the 400-meter individual medley prelims. From the AP:
The American won his heat in 4 minutes, 7.82 seconds _ 0.44 second better than his gold-medal-winning time four years ago in Athens. Phelps was under his world-record pace after 150 meters of the four-stroke race, but eased off to save something for Sunday morning's final.
"I am pretty surprised," he said. "I didn't think that I'd be first to get it, not until the finals."
Laszlo Cseh of Hungary, the bronze medalist in Athens, was second-fastest in 4:09.26. Luca Marin of Italy was third in 4:10.22, and American Ryan Lochte qualified fourth in 4:10.33.
Katie Hoff, who like Phelps qualified in five individual events, opened her ambitious schedule as the second-fastest qualifier in the women's 400 IM. Hoff, the world record holder, was timed in 4:34.63 _ 0.08 second behind teammate Elizabeth Beisel.
Phelps walked onto the deck of the Water Cube for his first of his 17 races overall in front of 17,000 fans, who were mostly quiet. If they were aware of Phelps' attempt to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in a single games, it wasn't apparent.
The New York Times reported Saturday that NBC set a rating record for Friday night's tape-delayed broadcast of the opening ceremonies from Beijing:
The tape-delayed opening ceremony of the Beijing Games attracted an average of 34.2 million viewers Friday night, nine million more than the figure for the Athens Olympics on the comparable night in 2004.
At 34.2 million, it is the most on record for an Olympics televised in the United States from a foreign country. Before Athens, the average viewership for the 2000 Sydney Games was 27.3 million, for Barcelona in 1992 it was 21.6 million, and for Seoul in 1988 it was 22.7 million.
The Beijing figure fell 5.6 million viewers short of the 39.8 million who watched the live broadcast of the 1996 opening ceremony from Atlanta. And NBC's opening-night viewership nosed out the 33.8 million who watched the 1994 Lillihammer Winter Games on CBS.
More recently, the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Games from Salt Lake City, which was carried live, averaged 45.6 million viewers.