Benjamin Boukpeti: Picked up the first medal for Togo bronze in the men’s slalom kayak event but the French-born sportsman has only been to Togo once as a child to visit his paternal grandmother! According to Reuters, Boukpeti “only decided to compete for Togo when it became clear he was too old to make it into the far more competitive French team”.
Michel Phelps: This American swimmer won his 11th Olympic gold, making him possibly “the greatest Olympian of all times”. Satire site Shangzilla.com jokes that BOCOG has now announced Phelps to be a separate country on his own.
Mohammad Alirezaei: This Iranian swimmer pulled out of the fourth heat of the 100 meter breaststroke because Israeli Tom Be’eri was competing in the same event. The controversial move was said to be under the orders of the heads of the Iranian Olympic delegation.
Sang Lan: This former professional journalist was paralysed 10 years ago at the Goodwill Games in New York during a routine warm-up vault when she landed on her head and sustained a spinal injury. She has now remade herself as a college graduate and news media figure. Read what she had to say to the New York Times here.
Li Jiawei: The China-born flag bearer for the Singapore contingent Li Jiawei has been roundly criticised by Singapore bloggers for dragging the flag and showing little pride in holding the flag. Blogger DK asks why the flag-bearer couldn’t have been a true-blue Singaporean.
Zou Shiming: This Guizhou-born Chinese athlete chose boxing over more traditional martial-arts, and might very well help increase Chinese interest in this sport. Zou is 1.68 meter (5.5 foot) tall and weighs 48 kilos (106 pounds), but his small body mass is compensated by his quick fighting style. Learn more on New York Times Olympic site.
Homa Hosseini: One of three female athletes competing for Iran, this 19 year old rower caused a stir when she was chosen as her team’s flag bearer. Some called it heresy, others welcomed the choice as a symbol for women’s rights in Iran.
Hiroshi Hoketsu: Made his Olympic debut in at the 1964 games in Tokyo, now this Japanese dressage rider is back. At the age of 67 he is the oldest athlete to compete in the Beijing Olympics, Hiroshi Hoketsu himself expressed the view that dressage: “is a sport which you can do at a fairly advanced age if you have a chance and an agreeable horse”.
Antoinette Joyce Guedia Mouafo: The youngest athlete in the Beijing Olympics is only 12 years old. She is a 50 metre freestyle swimmer competing for Cameroon.
Kvirkvelia Manuchar: Just a few days after after Russian troops entered his home country, this 30 year old Georgian won his team a gold medal in the Greco-Roman 74-kilogram weight class, the first wrestling gold won by Georgia in any Olympics.
Ada Fredelius contributed to this story.