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CONNECT THE WORLD
A Recap Of Olympic Action; Many Fear Death Toll In Syria Could Top 100,000; Interview with Guam Olympian Ricardo Blas Jr.
Aired August 8, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: I'm Becky Anderson live from the Olympic Park where tonight it's ladies night. Some of the fastest women in the world have just gone head to head in the 200 meters. Britain's Jessica Ennis has already been there, done that. And tonight, the heptathlete tells us about life as an Olympic champion.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Max Foster at CNN London. Also this hour, CNN goes inside Aleppo. Iran warns foreign powers to stay out, vowing to defend this axis of resistance with Syria.
And why Madonna is stripping off to speak out for Russian girl band.
ANDERSON: We are live on what is a beautiful Wednesday evening here at the Olympic Park. And in London it's been what about the ladies? As we speak, the much anticipated showdown in the women's 200 meters final has just played out. On one side, the Jamaicans lead by two-time Olympic champion Vernoica Campbell-Brown who was looking to make history by making it three golds in a row. On the other, the Americans headed by Allyson Felix who came into these games with one of the quickest records -- quickest times ever recorded in the event.
So did it play out as scripted?
Well, Allyson Felix taking the gold in a time of 21.88 seconds. Linford Christie is here with me. He is our CNN contributor and former Olympic gold medalist.
Allyson Felix, Shelly-Ann Fraser Price for the Jamaicans, and Carmelita Jeter. Your response.
LINFORD CHRISTIE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think the race went according to plan. You know, Allyson Felix came into this championships, fastest woman in the world. And she was always going to win. Shelly-Ann Fraser coming off the 100. She's got that speed. She got the initial speed. And, you know, Allyson just got her towards the end.
The others, I mean, you look at the 400 meters -- Sonya Richards, really I think she's still got some of that 400 meters in her legs so she wasn't going to feature at all.
ANDERSON: The Americans will be delighted about Allyson Felix when they -- she didn't beat Flo Jo's (ph) record set way back when in 1988 of 21.34, but it's a decent time under 22 seconds.
CHRISTIE: Definitely -- anything under 22 seconds is decent. By the way, she's coached by the same coach. Bobby Kersee who is the husband of Jackie Joyner-Kersee who owns the world record for the heptathlon.
ANDERSON: Yeah. Well, you can hear them roaring by.
How would you describe the 200 meters so far its position in track and field is concerned?
CHRISTIE: Hey. It hurts so much, you know, it's halfway around the track. And you've got to negotiate the bend. And I think the secret is negotiating the bend. And it's not always the fastest people that gets around the bent first. I mean, Michael Johnson, who is a great bend runner, he wasn't as fast as Frankie Fredricks over 100 meters, but he always came off the bend first.
The other is you've got to come out like you're running the 100 the first 60, stay in the middle of your lane. And once you come off the bend, you've got to use that kind of whip effect and use all the speed that you've built up coming around there.
ANDERSON: Two more medals for the Americans then in the past 10 minutes, a gold and the bronze in the 200 women's event. And a silver, of course, from the Jamaicans.
Also underway at the moment down at Horse Guards Parade the women's beach volleyball gold medal match is being battled out in what has turned out to be an all-American affair. We're going to bring you the result on that as it comes in.
But earlier this evening it was the ladies once again in the 400 meters hurdles. So who set the pace for this grand night for the girls? And it was a cracking pace set by the Russian Natalya Antyukh just snuck in ahead of the reigning champion, American mother of two Lashinda Demus, the bronze medal going to the Czech hurdler.
All right. Well, one of the undoubted female stars of this Olympics is the British heptathelete Jessica Ennis. And my colleague Alex Thomas caught up with the gold medalist and began by asking her how she coped with the weight of British hopes on her shoulders. Have a listen to this.
JESSICA ENNIS, HEPTATHLON GOLD MEDALIST: It was a lot of pressure, definitely. I was really aware of it, because I don't think there was any way I couldn't to be honest. It was -- you know, people just really expected me to win and to do well. And it was still a great position to be in, though, because I had not experienced, you know, anything like that before and missing the last Olympics I wasn't a part of that at all.
So all the way along I just kept thinking, you know, I'd rather be in this position then home injured like that last time. So I just kind of tried to use all that pressure and turn it into positiveness and support.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel like you were under pressure to be a celebrity as well as a great athlete who would go on and win gold at these games?
ENNIS: Not so much a celebrity, just -- I just felt pressured that people just you know really want me to win that gold medal. And it was just important for me to just remain focused. And I knew how hard it was going to be. And, you know, it's not just one day, it's two days of really tough competition. And I knew that I just had to really just keep my eye on the ball and not get distracted by what other people kind of expected of me.
THOMAS: Because everyone that knows you says you're very nice and you're very normal. So that is hard, isn't it, when you're performances at your job -- it's a very glamorous job and a very high profile job, but that is what it is at the end of the day, you've got to be professional about it, leads to all these sort of extra pressures outside of it all. You've handled it very well, because you've got gold. Are you prepared for what's to follow now?
ENNIS: I'm not quite sure what's to follow, to be honest. It's somewhere that I've never been before. And obviously, you know, things have changed in the past few months leading into the games. And it's kind of been a buildup. Obviously I don't want to change, I want to keep (inaudible) the same, the way I am, but I also want to enjoy some of the things that are going to come up as well as a result of this. But more than anything, I'm just so happy and relieved that I was able to get the gold and that was the most important thing to me.
THOMAS: Whose been the most famous person to congratulate you?
ENNIS: I've had just yesterday met Jamie Oliver, which is quite nice. And, you know, I'm a massive fan of Jamie Oliver. I'm always cooking his stuff at home. So it was brilliant to see him. And he was just saying he watched and how amazing it was. So that was very surreal.
THOMAS: No call from the prime minister?
ENNIS: I've not had a call from the prime minister, no, no, not yet.
THOMAS: President Obama calls American athletes all the time.
ENNIS: Does he? I'll have to have a word then.
ANDERSON: Just then as you can see that full interview tonight on World Sport, 10:30 London, 11:30 in Berlin right here on CNN.
Well, it hasn't all been about gold tonight, a little earlier we saw the world's fastest men in action once again in the 200 meters semifinals. This is what the final lineup will look like come tomorrow night. It's being flagged as one of the finest and fastest 200 meters showdown ever seen. Jamaican Yohan Blake qualified fastest, but there was nothing in that semifinal Wallace Spearmon and Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre are all just around the same there.
Yohan Blake, Wallace Spearmon, the Frenchman and what does Blake call Usain Bolt in that as well. Who do you fancy?
CHRISTIE: Well, I mean, Bolt. You've got to fancy Bolt. After winning the 100. I mean, like I said it was a pressure race for him, the 100 meters. He's now won that, he's got it in the bag. He's so much more relaxed. You can see the way, you know, he's prancing around and everything else. He's totally confident.
ANDERSON: He looks compared to those other guys. In just looking at the shot we've got there. And I watched him run today. He looks bigger and stronger than...
CHRISTIE: He's a big guy. He's -- I mean, I'm 6'2. And he's about 6'5, you know. So he's a very big guy. And his big advantage is, he's got long legs, but he can turn them over as fast as some of the shorter guys. So he's got stride length as well as speed.
ANDERSON: It's going to be a great final. That Wednesday -- oh, it's Wednesday tonight, so that is Thursday night. And you can get that result here, of course, on CNN at this time.
Well, there's more for grabs up -- or more gold up for grabs, sorry, behind us at Olympic Park tonight. In the next couple of minutes the men 110 meters hurdles will get underway. This is the line-up for that. Favorite, the Americans Aries Merritt. He has got the fastest time so far in London '12, in his semifinal, the only man to run under 13 seconds this games. And he has made that look very easy. We'll bring you the result on that as and when we have it.
Lots more for you tonight from Olympic Park, let's though get you some other big stories of the day. And for that I'm going to send you back to Max in the studio -- Max.
FOSTER: Hi, Becky. Coming up on Connect the World, the battle for Syria's largest city is centered on one key neighborhood which both sides say they now control. An amazing story told by our own Ben Wedeman form inside Aleppo just ahead.
FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.
Now Syria forces are pounding a rebel stronghold in the country's largest city. State TV announced that government troops have seized the key Salahadin (ph) district of Aleppo, but a rebel commander says the battle there is still underway. They're planting roadside bombs to ambush incoming regime tanks.
Opposition sources say at least 30 people were killed in fighting in Aleppo on Wednesday, more than 140 nationwide. Our Ben Wedeman has just returned from Aleppo where he saw plenty of fighting as well as some unsettling signs of a growing humanitarian crisis. Here's his report.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Muafak (ph) has retrieved what he could from the ruins of his home. In what's left of Aleppo's Salahadin (ph) neighborhood there's little time to ponder one's loss.
"The situation is terrible," Muafak (ph) tells me, "we're taking everything we can. We don't know where we'll go. We've lost everything so we're leaving."
His family of seven is just one of thousands of families who have fled Salahadin (ph) now one of the main battlefields between government forces and the rebels.
17 year old Hamza has been fighting here for the last two weeks. He says several of his comrades were killed by Syrian army snipers earlier in the day.
These lightly armed fighters have managed to hold off the army. Their most potent weapon is not in their enemies arsenal, says this elderly fighter who identifies himself simply as Alexander.
ALEXANDER, REBEL FIGHTER: We believe in god. And this Kalashnikov, old Kalashnikov. We can fight with them, and we will win, because we have faith. We have faith. We believe in god. They don't believe in god. If they believe in god, he don't bomb his people.
WEDEMAN: The death and destruction is not restricted to the front lines. Government jets regularly bomb targets around the city. The rebels fire back with their light machine guns.
The rebel held district of Sukari (ph), further removed from the fighting, provides its inhabitants with the illusion of normality. A few shops and street vendors are at work. But prices are up. A kilo of tomatoes costs four times what it did a month ago. And that's if you have the money to buy it. There's little work to be had as the city turns into a battleground.
Tamir (ph), the baker, is preparing date-filled cakes for the breaking of the Ramadan fast. He says he's too busy to worry about the fighting.
It's an odd feeling here in the parts of Aleppo occupied by the Free Syrian Army. People are out, they're buying vegetables, the bakeries are working, but all the while occasionally you hear blasts like that as the area comes under bombardment.
FOSTER: Well, do stay tuned for CNN International for more of Ben Wedeman's dramatic coverage of the battle for Aleppo in the hours ahead.
Now Iran has consistently stood by the Syrian government throughout this conflict. To emphasize the alliance, Tehran dispatched veteran envoy Saeed Jalili to Damascus this week to reassure President Bashar al-Assad that Iran stands with him against what Jalili called the enemies of this axis in the region and the world. He also pushed for reconsideration of Iran's own plan for peace in Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAEED JALILI, IRANIAN ENVOY (through translator): We think that this Iranian initiative, which was put aside for a whole year, could be made to work so that all parties can adopt it. We think that the best solution to the Syrian crisis is to end the loses the Syrian people are suffering day after day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, let's take a closer look at the connection then between Iran and Syria, which many analysts believe could hold the key, actually, to ending, or at least prolonging this conflict. Vali Nasr is the dean of Johns Hopkins university school of advanced international studies. He's also the author of a new book "The Shia Revival" and was one of the few people who saw the Arab Spring coming. He joins us now live from Washington where we appreciate your time on the program.
You've written recently about there being a tipping point in Syria which seems like a dramatic change in a process somehow, but actually you're talking about some sort of prolonged tipping point. Could you just explain what you're talking about there?
VALI NASR, DEAN, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTL STUDIES: Well, for a long period of time we looked at Syria as an uprising of pro- democracy forces against a tired dictatorship. But now the conflict is moving into a civil war phase where both sides have considerable military capabilities and are deciding to fight to protect their positions. We're seeing the Assad regime dig in its heels and the opposition now is feeling much more buoyant and strong and his pushing far ahead, but there is not a clear way in which this conflict would end. Now it's no longer just about Assad, it's become much more communal and sectarian between the majority Sunni population of Syria that supports the opposition and Christian, Druze minorities that support the Assad regime.
FOSTER: And the instability there, you're saying, is actually currently the greatest threat to stability in the whole Middle East.
NASR: Well, yes, because largely because -- first of all the whole region is involved in Syria. The Turks are involved, because of their support for the opposition and also because of their worried about what would happen with the Kurds in Syria. Lebanon is very closely associated with Syria, so is Iraq and so is Jordan. And if this conflict continues, if it becomes more sectarian, if it begins to take much more of an ethnic cleansing tone to it as Alawites trying to clean out areas of control from Sunnis and Sunnis begin retaliating it's going to spread outside of Syria and it's going to create a much broader arc of instability in the region.
FOSTER: And we're seeing there from hearing from the Iranian side how much influence they have in Syria. Do you think the west has got something fundamentally wrong about recovering from this crisis in the way it's dealing with Russia instead of Iran?
NASR: I think so. I think the west does not want to deal with Iran because it doesn't have good relations with Iran. It is also worried that dealing with Iran will impact the nuclear issue. But in reality is that if you want to bring an end to this conflict you have to deal with the country that is most influential on Assad, and that is not Russia it's Iran.
And on the other side, you know, you have to engage countries that are most influential on the opposition, which are Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. And if there is a deal to be made both the opposition and the Assad regime will rely on those countries that they trust, so you have to have all of these engaged. And right now Iran is not at the table, the Russians are running a hard bargain with the west, that is not a given that the Russians can deliver anything even if they cooperated.
FOSTER: But you're there in the U.S. You know that if Washington starts dealing with Iran it's in a way legitimizing Iran and that isn't politically possible, is it? You're asking for something impossible even if it is the best solution locally.
NASR: Well, if that's the case then we have to be prepared for this conflict to continue until it's exhausted. And that might take a very long time. I mean, you either let conflicts go on and they can become very nasty and very costly and very bloody, whether we like it or not, or that you try to intervene to stop the fighting. And if there is going to be a negotiated exit for Mr. Assad, then it would have to be through some kind of a negotiation. Otherwise we have to be prepared for this conflict in Syria to get a lot bloodier and a lot more violent.
FOSTER: Vali Nasr, then you very much indeed for joining us from Washington. Very interesting thoughts.
Plenty more to come on Connect the World, but right now we're going to go back to Becky who is at the Olympic Park there, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, I am. I'm joined by the heaviest man at the games talking to me about making Olympic history. Representing a tiny Island nation this judo competitor is a massive star. Stay with us, back in two minutes.
ANDERSON: Well, we are live from Olympic Park on a gorgeous evening here in London where another gold medal has just been decided. It was in the men's 110 meter hurdles. The winner, Aries Merritt 12.92, a personal best for the 27 year old American. He was favorite to win. He's snatched a gold there for the Americans. The only qualified to run under 13 seconds. And it was a good stride ahead of the rest of the field. The defending champion Cuban hurdles Dayron Robles has struck a hurdle and he pulled up. Gold and silver for the USA. A bronze for Jamaica.
Well the biggest star of the London Olympics is Ricardo Blas Jr., the judo giant representing the tiny island of Guam. Tips the scales at 218 kilos, heavier than the entire Japan women's gymnastics team.
Well, Ricardo made Olympic history by winning his first match against Guinea, but his winning streak sadly short live, he then lost to Cuba in the second round. So he's not as busy as you thought you might be. He's known as Little Mountain back home. He's decided to join us this evening. It's an absolutely pleasure, Ricardo, to have you with us.
I'm surprised people turn you over. How can you allow that to happen?
RICARDO BLAS JR, OLYMPIC HEAVYWEIGHT JUDO ATHLETE: You know, it happens.
ANDERSON: Where did you get the name Little Mountain?
BLAS: That is actually in China, the people of China I guess gave it to me when they saw me come out at the opening ceremonies there.
ANDERSON: Right. Is there a Big Mountain around? It's not bad, is it?
BLAS: Not that I know of.
ANDERSON: Listen, dad was the first Olympian from Guam in 1988. I guess that's your inspiration, right?
BLAS: Definitely, definitely. Yes, yeah, always has been.
ANDERSON: In judo?
BLAS: Especially, yeah.
ANDERSON: How long have you been a judo boy?
BLAS: Since I was five. I started, you know, practicing on the mats since I was five years old and I've always been doing it.
ANDERSON: Explain for those viewers who know nothing about judo what you're passionate about?
BLAS: Mostly passionate about just representing the island. You know, once I was able to do it, you know, it's -- there's no other, no better feeling than representing Guam and, you know, being that ambassador to the people.
ANDERSON: You're one of eight athletes here. You did the opening ceremony carrying that flag around. Remind us how big the island is?
BLAS: It's about 35 miles long, about 15, 16 miles at the widest point, I guess.
ANDERSON: Do you have much competition in Guam?
BLAS: No competition -- well, I say in the sense that there aren't many -- aren't many people practicing judo, so -- yeah.
ANDERSON: So you have to travel effectively, what, every other week for competition?
BLAS: Well, I travel for months at a time so I'll go for training for months at a time and, yeah, almost every other week for competition. So...
ANDERSON: So give me a sense for how it feels to be in London for London 2012.
BLAS: Yeah, it's an amazing feeling. I mean, this is my second games and it's still -- this is still like it's something new. So it's been great.
ANDERSON: But for any athlete. And you know we're told it's about competing and not winning, but for any athlete the competing is one thing, you've got to want to come here and get a medal, surely.
BLAS: Definitely. I mean, I think every athlete who comes to the games is definitely aiming for a medal and should only aim for a medal. Sometimes it's not the case, so you've just got to do your best and...
ANDERSON: Listen, Ricardo, what's the reaction been at home?
BLAS: A lot of very positive support, you know, really happy about that and great -- feels great to be from Guam, especially because of all the support.
ANDERSON: Ah, fantastic. Last question to you. The athletes' village, I know you're staying there, apart from the kind of joy at being at the games, I guess, are you just banging into people all the time that you recognize?
BLAS: Yeah, well, yeah most of the time, yeah. I mean, you're walking down the street and you just turn heads all the time It's pretty cool.
ANDERSON: There's an NBA star standing right in front of you.
BLAS: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
ANDERSON: It's been a joy to have you. Ricardo Blas in the house for you this evening.
Still to come on Connect the World, after they've exhausted themselves in competition we're going to find out what world class athletes like Ricardo do to wind down.
FOSTER: And in other news, members of a Russian punk band await their fate as the Pussy Riot trial wraps up in Moscow.
But first, Egypt's military might rolls into the Sinai hunting for the militants blamed for a deadly attack.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson at Olympic Park for you.
FOSTER: I'm Max Foster at CNN London. A round-up, now, of the top stories we're following this hour.
The fight for Syria's largest city is now centered on the neighborhood of Salahedin. State TV says government forces now control it, but the rebels say they're holding on. They've begun planting roadside bombs to ambush incoming regime tanks.
Opposition sources say at least 30 people were killed in fighting in Aleppo on Wednesday, more than 140 nationwide.
Egypt is keeping its promise of swift retribution after a weekend attack on its border guards. Tanks and Apache helicopters advanced into north Sinai Wednesday after early morning raids by masked gunmen injured six people. Ian Lee is following development for us in El Arish. Ian?
IAN LEE, JOURNALIST (via telephone): Max, one thing we're hearing right now is that a lot of the heavy fighting is moving towards -- moving south from El Arish toward the central part of Sinai in an area called Jabal al-Halal. We're told that the area is very, very mountainous and that the security forces are having a hard time going in there.
Apparently from what we're hearing, there's really only one way into this area, and it's an easy ambush area, so security forces have resorted to bombing the area with airplanes and helicopters to fight the rebels and haven't really sent in any security forces because they're afraid that they're going to get attacked.
But this comes as Egypt's army and the president and the Secretary of Defense, Field Marshal Tantawi, are trying to make good on a promise to seek vengeance for the attack that happened last Sunday, which killed 16 Egyptian soldiers by militants.
Now, what we're hearing is that these militants are called Paxtir (ph), which means "those who cast judgment on infidels," and these guys are the ones responsible for the attack. I've been in Sinai before and I've heard about this group for a while, and they really come from the Egyptian- Gaza border, where they're based -- mainly stationed out of.
And what we're hearing also right now is that the Egyptians are trying to shut down the tunnels that these militants who came from Gaza may have used to -- in order to stop any other further attack or support coming from Gaza. Max?
FOSTER: Ian in El Arish. Thank you very much, indeed.
Now, the human suffering continues to worsen in the Philippines. Torrential rain and floods have left over three quarters of a million people homeless and at least 16 dead. The deluge is blamed on monsoon rains and a nearby tropical storm. The Manilla region's 12 million residents have been warned of more rain to come.
The trial has wrapped up for a Russian girl punk band whose battle has drawn international attention. Prosecutors want the three members of Pussy Riot to serve time in jail for singing a protest song against Vladimir Putin in Moscow's largest cathedral.
The case prompted the singer Madonna to call for their freedom during her concert in Moscow last night. The verdict will be announced next Friday. Phil Black reports.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the members of Pussy Riot hastily performed in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, they had no idea one of the world's biggest celebrities would be fighting for them five months later.
MADONNA, SINGER: I just want to say a few words about Pussy Riot.
BLACK: Madonna interrupted her Moscow concert to demand their release.
MADONNA: I think that they have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price for this act, and I pray for their freedom.
BLACK: She then performed "Like a Virgin" wearing a Pussy Riot-style balaclava.
The next day, Russian police were far less tolerant of this supporter outside the court where the women had been on trial. For more than a week, three band members, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, have been arriving at court to spend long days in a glass box as prosecutors argued their guilt.
Officially, they're charged with hooliganism for their punk prayer calling for Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, to go. But the case against them has focused on the offense caused to the Russian Orthodox Church and its believers. People who witnessed the performance testified, claiming they suffered spiritual pain.
Pyotr Verzilov is Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's husband.
PYOTR VERZILOV, NADEZHDA TOLOKONNIKOVA'S HUSBAND: Nobody before thought that a trial with such language with the use of words "hell," "Satan," "blasphemy," "God-tainting-performance" would be possible in a court of law in Russia in the 21st century.
BLACK (on camera): And that's often been from the prosecutors, not just the witnesses.
VERZILOV: That's the most interesting thing here.
BLACK (voice-over): The women admit they took part, apologized for any offense, but not for the act itself, which they insist was political, not criminal, and not motivated by hatred for the church.
The trial was often chaotic. The women's lawyers compare it to an inquisition and a Soviet-era show trial, and they claim the judge repeatedly broke the law.
BLACK (on camera): I lost count of the number of times the defense lawyers asked the judge to recuse herself, to step aside.
VERZILOV: It was eight times.
BLACK (voice-over): Defense lawyer Mark Feygin expects the women to be found guilty, and he says their punishment will be decided by Vladimir Putin himself. That's a common view among Pussy Riot's supporters.
Putin has said he hopes the women have learned their lesson and he doesn't think they should be punished severely.
VERZILOV: That could mean don't give them seven years, give them five years prison.
BLACK: Seven years is the maximum penalty, but even with that possibility looming, the women's supporters are happy, because that performance and its message are now internationally famous.
Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.
FOSTER: Some news just into us here. Rupert Murdoch's media empire News Corp has just reported a loss of $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter. Investors are waiting to see the details of the company's plan to split in two entities, and that's separating publishing and entertainment.
The fallout of the phone-hacking scandal continues with the Church of England selling off its News Corp shares as a result.
Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, how Indonesia's love for cars is actually fueling a massive expansion project at the country's busiest port.
FOSTER: Now, the port of Jakarta is the transport and commercial hub of Indonesia, but it's got even bigger ambitions. In the next installment of our Gateway series, Sara Sidner reports from a city uniquely positioned at the center of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): When space is at a premium, speed is everything.
ERRY HARDIANTO, MAERSK LINE: I think the port is operating 100 percent her capacity, to some extent, actually go beyond 100 percent her capacity. For shipping business, the flexibility is becoming less and less.
SIDNER: Jakarta's port of Tanjung Priok is overburdened, so the cranes can't afford to stop.
RJ LINO, PRESIDENT DIRECTOR, INDONESIA PORT CORP: In the port, there's 100. Connected to this is hundreds depend on the port.
SIDNER: The 24-hour operation will load and offload 7.2 million containers this year, up from 5.7 just a year ago. Driving the port's demand? Indonesia's domestic consumption. Take a look at car sales in the country, for example.
SIDNER (on camera): To give you some idea of Indonesia's growing love affair with vehicles, this country's car sales grew by 17 percent between 2010 and 2011. Now, compare to China's much larger market, China's car sales only grew by 2.6 percent in the same year.
SIDNER (voice-over): The country's economy is transforming.
LINO: Before, I love the investors when they came here, they were doing something here to make use of the cheap labor in order to exploit them. But not now. Because this is a big, promising market.
SIDNER: And this month, so too will Tanjung Priok.
SIDNER (on camera): By the time the massive expansion project here is finished in 2023, this port hopes to overtake its rivals in Southeast Asia.
LINO: The new terminal is designed for minus 20-meter deck. Singapore relies on 6-deck.
SIDNER (voice-over): The $4 billion project promises more space for bigger ships.
HARDIANTO: A lot of influx coming into the country. We just have to be ready with infrastructure.
SIDNER: Until then, Indonesia's surging economy will ensure every hour is the port's busiest.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Jakarta.
FOSTER: Find out more about our Gateway series at cnn.com/gateway. Find out if you've got what it takes to park a plane by taking our quiz.
Let's head back to Becky at the Olympic Park. Becky?
ANDERSON: Thank you very much, indeed. Coming up after the break, we hear it for the girls. We'll talk to the woman who carried Australia's hopes all the way to gold. That is coming up straight after this break. Do not go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Come on, girl! Oooh! Oh oh! Come on, girl!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Yes, come on, girls! We've seen female Olympic champions crowned tonight in the 400 meter hurdles, the 200 meters, and now we have a result in the women's beach volleyball.
It was always going to be gold for America either way tonight, but in the end, it was Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor who'll enjoy the honor of standing on top of the podium. Their compatriots, April Ross and Jennifer Kessy, will take home silver.
Well, Sally Pearson carried the hopes of an entire nation last night. The normally sporty Australia have had, well, let's just call it a tough Games, shall we? And as their world champion in the women's 100 meter hurdles stepped onto the track, they hoped that she wouldn't disappoint them, and disappoint she did not. Earlier, I met the gold medal winner who came first by a nose.
SALLY PEARSON, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: It was really bizarre, because I crossed the finish line, and I thought, "Oh, I'm in the clear, I've got this easy!" And then two steps after I finished, I looked to my left and went, "Oh, that was closer than I thought! Maybe I haven't got this!"
And everyone on the Australian team were just saying, "Oh, you've got it, it's yours, it's yours." And I'm, "I don't believe you until I see it up on that screen!"
ANDERSON: The Aussie team, it's got to be said, so far as their gold medal haul is concerned --
ANDERSON: -- have had a bit of fun poked at them, certainly by the media. How does it feel in the camp?
PEARSON: It's really amazing. We've come together as a really strong team, and it's really amazing the friendships that you build with each other. We're like a little family, and it's really special. And I don't think anyone really feels in our team, especially, don't feel that we've done so badly because we're all so proud of everyone.
It's very hard to make an Olympic final, let alone get a medal. And I think it's really -- I think it's quite upsetting that silver and bronze don't get counted in a medal tally, because it just means -- it feels like they're not worth anything, and they certainly are.
ANDERSON: Are you disappointed as a team about the response that you're getting back home.
PEARSON: Personally, I'm disappointed, because I think that -- I won my silver in Beijing, and that was just the best thing for me. It was like winning a gold medal. And to put that on someone saying, "Oh, that silver's not good enough," it's just -- it's rubbish.
ANDERSON: What happens next?
PEARSON: Well, in the near future, I've got three more races to run before I head home, and then I've got eight weeks off, and I'm just going to relax and enjoy myself.
ANDERSON: Good for her. Well, I hope Sally's having a well-earned rest. It takes a lot of preparation and sacrifice, of course, to make it to the Games, so what do the athletes do afterwards when they are finally allowed to wind down? Well, Phil Han was sent to find out.
PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITIAL PRODUCER (voice-over): They Olympic events are nearly over, so now it's time for the athletes to have a little fun. The world's best are leaving the competition venues behind them and are turning parts of London into one big party.
One of those hotspots has been an alternate Olympic event called the last lap. First introduced at the Sydney Olympics, the nightly event is a chance for athletes and fans to come together and have a little fun.
Everyone from Ryan Lochte to Chad le Clos have made appearances. Free-flowing champagne is on offer. Unfortunately, after a big night of unwinding, some can leave a bit worse for wear.
Other athletes are also turning to social media sites to share their celebratory secrets. The fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, posted this photo of himself celebrating his 100 meter gold medal with three members of the Swedish women's handball team.
British weightlifter Emily Godley tweeted that she "did the walk of shame in my Gamesmaker uniform this morning. #oops."
Half an hour later, she tweeted, "Just to clarify, the walk of shame was caused by a few too many beverages last night, nothing else!"
Ryan Lochte, who is an avid Twitter user, posted this picture of himself as he was getting ready to head to an Olympian-themed party at Planet Hollywood.
As the Olympics enter their last lap, you never know who you might be standing next to at the bar.
Phil Han, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: I'm going to find out from Linford Christie what he used to get up to at the Olympic Village after this. It's not quite, though, party time for all of the athletes. In just a moment, we'll have a chat about some key events to watch out for for tomorrow.
But first, let's take a look at that medal table, shall we? And as it stands, China, 35 golds, but let me tell you, over the past couple of hours, US has picked up a couple of golds on the track tonight, boosting their tally to 34, I believe, at present.
I'm pretty sure that that hasn't quite updated. I'm pretty sure when it comes down to it we've got China 35 and the States 34 as things stand, and they are out front when it comes to the total, there.
Tomorrow, plenty of highlights. The women's 800 meters semi-finals, Caster Semenya will be in action after making it through her heat earlier on today. The South African athlete was at the center of a gender controversy, you'll remember, back in 2009, following victory at the world championships.
Also running in the 800 today was Sarah Attar. She was the first woman from Saudi Arabia to compete in track and field at an Olympic Games. She finished last and was more than a half a minute behind the pace, but she got a standing ovation, and rightly so. I spoke to Sarah a little earlier, and I began by asking her what today meant to her. This is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH ATTAR, FIRST SAUDI OLYMPIC FEMALE RUNNER: It was such a huge honor to be asked to come and that we were allowed to participate this year. And I just think that it can be something amazing for the women in Saudi Arabia in that we can really push through and --
ANDERSON: More than symbolic? Because there are those who say this is just a nod and a wink and what happens next is perhaps more important.
ATTAR: Well, I think regardless, everything needs that first initial step, and with that first step, then things can follow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All right. With all this sports to report, it's almost as busy for us up here as it is in the Olympic arenas. Before we take you behind the scenes to show you a day in the life of CNN International, I just want to talk to Linford Christie. A couple of things. Olympic Athlete Village, you've done it. What's it like out there?
LINFORD CHRISTIE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's a great atmosphere
CHRISTIE: The busiest part in the village would be the canteen, because that's where all the athletes, they gather together, and that's where you get a chance to see some of the great stars, some of the people you've seen on TV and admired. Then you can go up and talk to them.
ANDERSON: And you all go out, right?
CHRISTIE: Oh, yes. We -- once you're finished, you can try -- there's always a party, there's always a little last lap thing, and everyone goes there. Some of the guys even come into the discos with their medals on, so it's just part of the way we go.
ANDERSON: Is that what they had in your day, discos?
CHRISTIE: Disco, yes.. Shows you how old I am, doesn't it?
ANDERSON: Ryan Lochte, what did you think of his whistle and flute, as we call it in the UK? Not bad, eh?
ANDERSON: He looked spiffing, didn't he? Moment of the day? 200 meters women's?
CHRISTIE: Yes. I mean, it's got to be 200 meters women, that's it. That was the highlight of the day, Allyson Felix coming through there.
CHRISTE: On 22, the number in the any shape or form.
ANDERSON: All right, we've got the heptathlon (sic) still ongoing. You don't doubt that the American's going to win that, right?
CHRISTE: Yes. Ashton will win the decathlon, no problem.
CHRISTIE: No problem, hands down. He's a class above the rest.
ANDERSON: Yes. OK. Decathlon. What did I call it? Heptathlon.
ANDERSON: Oh, just thinking about the ladies' night.
CHRISTIE: This is it.
ANDERSON: Hey hey!
ANDERSON: Before we go, it has been -- well, it's been a busy one there in the stadium, and it's been a busy one over in the Athlete's Village, as Phil has shown you. It's also been a busy one here at the bureau. I just want to give you a little sense of what life at CNN International is like behind the scenes.
ANDERSON: So, I've got about four and a half minutes before my next life shot, so I've got to get makeup done, going to grab a drink, and I'm going to get over to the live shot position in wonderful flats, which are our temporary home at the moment. Come on in.
Oh! Oh, dear. Producers hiding behind the door. This is hair and makeup. Sixty seconds, Claire. Bleach, bash, bosh.
All right, follow me. I need a glass of water. Welcome -- bedroom, bedroom. Clogging up Al's work space. Colleagues eating.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The microwave is my mug right now. Two favorite things.
ANDERSON: Great. Follow. Some of the worst food you could possibly imagine for the athletes at CNN.
Well, that's it. No extensions.
Two and a half weeks ago, this was somebody's living room, and it will be again in about four or five days' time, but for the time being, at least, this is a fully-working studio. And this -- is our live shot position. Take a look at what we have behind us. How about that for a money shot?
ANDERSON: Do you like those curlers? I look quite good in those curlers, don't I?
CHRISTIE: It was interesting.
CHRISTIE: I think you might have liked some of that --
ANDERSON: We found you asleep in the corner earlier on. Did you notice yourself in that film?
CHRISTIE: Ah -- they're working me so hard here.
ANDERSON: They're working him so hard here at CNN. Linford, we're 12 days in with, what, 4 or 5 days to go at this stage? I know what my standout moment to date has been. I think Michael Phelps, given the sort of scope of his sort of greatness. What's your standout moment?
CHRISTIE: Bolt. It has to be Bolt.
CHRISTIE: He came here under pressure, the favorite, but couldn't find his form. And when it -- they say when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and he dug in deep and he won the 100 meters, and I think he's going to walk the 200, so, it's got to be Bolt.
ANDERSON: All right. You're saying Bolt is your man's moment of the Games to date. How many of you have found yourselves doing the Bolt? Well, in tonight's Parting Shots, we've been seeing how our iReporters strike the pose.
Ebube from Abuja in Nigeria says he can't help doing the Bolt in his office. Emma and her kids have been having fun at the Olympic Park. And this little chap doing the mini-Bolt. It's Drummond Coutts. His dad says he's no idea why he did it. We think maybe he's an athlete in the making. And you can get involved, too. Just head to cnn/ireport to find out how.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. The headlines up next.