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BEIJING 2008 : BEST OF THE BLOG

Gasol owes a contrite apology

August 14, 2008|Bill Plaschke; Randy Harvey; Philip Hersh

A selection of posts from The Times' Ticket to Beijing blog (at latimes.com/olympics):

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BEIJING -- Pau Gasol didn't say he was sorry for the racial slight. He said he was sorry if anyone was offended by the racial slight.

That's not good enough.

As someone who makes millions of dollars in Los Angeles, in a country and a city with a strong Asian American influence, he needs to do better.

Gasol needs to apologize -- period -- for joining his Spanish Olympic teammates in using their fingers to make their eyes slanted in a photo promoting the Beijing Games.

The entire team should apologize, of course. But with Gasol being a Laker, and me being an Angeleno, I'm pointing a direct finger at him.

No, the photo was not cool. There is no possible explanation that would make it cool.

"It was something . . . supposed to be funny or something but never offensive in any way," Gasol told the Associated Press.

Funny? Maybe in Spain, but not in the United States.

Pau Gasol needs to apologize again, and this time he needs to mean it.

-- Bill Plaschke

Spectators sought

There was a lot of talk earlier in the summer about the rush on tickets for Olympic events by the Chinese people.

So where are they?

Give the Chinese credit so far. They have organized the Games well. But many of the venues aren't even half full of spectators.

The International Olympic Committee is concerned about the attendance, especially because of the way it looks on television.

But the IOC also doesn't want to say anything that can be interpreted as criticism.

So here was IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli's response Wednesday about attendance:

"I would not say we are not pleased," he said. "But . . . I would like to have, always, all the stadiums full. But if I compare it to past Games, I can be pleased because . . . we are even better in some" events.

Priceless.

-- Randy Harvey

Jones doping story

The president of the international track federation feels the same way about Marion Jones as the judge who sentenced her to prison.

Lamine Diack wants Jones to 'fess up.

In his explanation of why he gave the maximum sentence recommended last fall, federal Judge Kenneth Karas suggested he doubted that Jones had revealed the extent of her doping.

Wednesday, Diack said that after her release, Jones should go to USA Track & Field's annual convention and give the full story.

Jones lost her three gold and two bronze medals from the Sydney Olympics after she pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about doping and about her role in a money-laundering scheme. She admitted to drug use in part of 1999 and 2000.

"She has to tell the athletes committee what happened and why," Diack said.

Sorry, Mr. Diack, I wouldn't wait for that.

-- Philip Hersh

No steeplechase

U.S. high hurdler Lori "Lolo" Jones wanted to straighten out the widely circulating story that she is going to race a horse after the Olympics.

"I actually did a spot for a casino that races horses and donated some money so my family could go to China," she said. "I guess because I was saying lines like, 'Yeah, that horse is fast, but can he hurdle?' that got turned into, 'Lolo's going to race a horse.'

"Lolo's not racing any horse. I've got enough problems with humans."

But if you change your mind and do race a horse, it's got to be over barriers, right?

"Got to give me some kind of help," she said.

-- Philip Hersh

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