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Beijing blues skies to cheer up Israeli athletes

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With sailing competitions in Qingdao up and running today after being postponed due to insufficient wind, Israel’s Olympic delegation has something to be happy about again. Already at the time of this blogging, Israeli sailing duo Nike Kornecky and Vered Bouskila had moved up to third place in the rankings for the Women’s 470 event, and Shahar Zubari is still ranked first in the Men’s Windsurfer competition.

By comparison, Israeli athletes in Beijing (aside from Alex Shatilov who just barely qualified for the Men’s Floor event in Gymnastics) have been continually eliminated from their competitions, including medal hopefuls like Men’s Tennis Doubles pair Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich.

At least today in Beijing there are clear skies to pick up their spirits. Yes, that’s right. Look at this picture of my office taken Friday, August 15 around 1pm.

It's a beautiful Beijing day

See, there are beautiful Beijing days.

This is where I work for the official Beijing Olympic website (en.beijing2008.com). Not only are the skies blue and clouds distinguishable, but this is one of those rare days where you can see all the way to the hills that surround the city, hills that are normally veiled with smog.

Most days I don't know these hills are there.

Most days I don't know these hills are there.

The reason for this beautiful weather is three nights and one day of pouring rain in the Chinese capital. The older Chinese translator who sits at the computer next to mine, Mr. Bai, says this year saw an abnormal amount of rainfall for the normally dry city. I asked if it was because of the government’s cloud-seeding program, and he replied that it is sometimes, but the authorities also exaggerate their abilities. He thinks it’s a shame that that every time it rains, Beijingers now wonder whether it’s natural or manufactured.

Either way, the rain worked to clean the skies, and air, for tourists and competitors alike. How convenient that this improvement comes on the first day of the Athletics events…

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