The colorful Olympics opening night ceremony from Beijing on NBC averaged 34.2 million viewers, making it the biggest television event since the Super Bowl. It was the biggest audience ever for an Olympic opening ceremony not held in the U.S., and even eclipsed this year's Academy Awards and finale of "American Idol," Nielsen Media Research said on Saturday. The most recent summer Olympics, in Athens four years ago, averaged 25.4 million viewers for its first night, Nielsen said. Sydney in 2000 had 27.3 million viewers.
President Bush went mountain biking on the Olympic course, got sandy at beach volleyball, got a chalk handprint left on his back after a photo with the softball team and watched the women's basketball team win easily. His wife and daughter went on an early tour of the Forbidden City.
Greek sprinter Tassos Gousis was excluded from the Olympics a few days before the games after failing a doping test in his home country. The Greek national Olympic committee said the 200-meter runner tested positive for the steroid methyltrienolone on Monday. He has been sent home from a pre-games training camp in Japan.
The Chinese gymnast age issue is settled. They're old enough, despite documents and media reports saying three athletes are as young as 14, two years less than rules allow. Chinese officials have insisted the girls are all of eligible age, and have given International Gymnastics Federation and IOC passports to back that up.
A pro-Tibet group said five activists staged a "peaceful protest" in Tiananmen Square, breaching heavy security that has surrounded the heart of Beijing for the Olympics. The protesters draped themselves in Tibetan flags and lay down in the square. It wasn't immediately clear if they were stopped by authorities.
Pollution worriesAfter all the worries about Beijing's pollution, in the end, withering heat and humidity took a greater toll on Olympic athletes. Saturday marked the first outdoor endurance competition of the games the grueling 152-mile men's cycling road race that started at the historic Temple of Heaven and wound up at the Great Wall. The capital's thick haze from the last few days lifted a bit, allowing sunlight through as riders wound their way through the sweltering 6 1/2-hour race over the hilly course. "It was a lot better than I expected, really," U.S. cyclist Jason McCartney said.
• Levi Leipheimer moved up from 51st place with two 24-kilometer laps to go to place 11th in the 240-kilometer men's road race Saturday. Leipheimer, who prepped at Rowland Hall-St. Mark's, finished the race in Beijing's extreme hot-and-humid conditions with a time of 6 hours, 24.09 seconds, 20 seconds behind gold-medalist Samuel Sanchez of Spain.
David Zabriskie, Leipheimer's U.S. teammate and a Salt Lake City resident, completed the initial 79-kilometer leg from central Beijing out to the Great Wall but retired from the race after the first lap.