Beijing nightlife

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Beijing's vibrant nightlife offers athletes somewhere to play when they're not competing. But they don't go to just any night spot, they go to where they get the red carpet treatment.

"Whenever you come to the Olympic Games, you know whenever your feet hit the ground in the host city, it's always about what's the party, what's the main party, where do you go."

Incase you didn't recognize him, that's swimmer "Gold Medal Mel" from the '92 Barcelona Games. Although he's not competing, he's here to reminisce about Olympic glory.

"So we break it out of the sock at the back of the drawer for these events, and it's a lot of fun. And that's what I'm doing, we're basically having fun. Participating, watching, cheering on Team USA."

Athletes who've yet to earn a gold might not be as relaxed as Mel.

"Between practices, training and competitions, athletes are staying busy. But it's not all work and no play. They come to invite-only lists such as this one, where they can come to unwind and get away from crowds."

USA baseball player Kevin Jepsen was among the athletes experiencing Beijing's nightlife.

"Right now I think for the most part guys are just trying to get the whole feeling in, catch up from jet lag, and you know try and take all of it in, you know being in Beijing."

Being in Beijing could give Jepsen and the team a medal like Mel's.

"From what I've been told, eight is China's lucky number, so it's been eight years since we've won a gold medal, I mean we're going to try to take advantage of that lucky number and win a gold medal ourselves."

If they win, no doubt they'll come back to the red carpet to celebrate the victory.

( August 14, 2008)

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