Corporate events and specialty tours are a staple of the Olympic Games. On the eve of the opening of track and field competition here, two such groups held receptions at the sprawling Loong Palace Hotel on the northeast outskirts of Beijing.
Multi-Olympics track star Carl Lewis and 1992 gymnastics gold medalist Trent Dimas were welcoming worldwide guests of McDonald’s in the south wing. Far to the north, in the Beijing ballroom, former high jump world-record-holder Dwight Stones was giving his field event predictions to several hundred members of a tour group from Los Altos-based Track and Field News. Stones is working here for NBC, along with Lewis’ sister Carol, but was unaware of the other event taking place in the same hotel.
Carl Lewis had come to Beijing as co-holder of the all-time record for most Olympic gold medals, nine, won from 1984 through 1996.
Michael Phelps entered the swimming competition in Beijing with six golds already in hand. He set a new mark of 10 earlier this week, has 12 now and hopes to leave with 14 when swimming concludes on Sunday. There is the question if the comparison is fair.
Swimmers can go for gold daily. Track athletes specialize in just one or two areas.
San Francisco native and College of San Mateo sports information director Fred Baer is covering his ninth Olympic Games as a journalist and is providing The Examiner with a behind-the-scenes view of the Beijing Games.