Russia's support for tiny South Ossetia's independence raises a befuddling legal question: can a state be too marginal to be recognized? If granted autonomy, South Ossetia would rank as the world's 11th smallest state by population (72,000) and the 30th by landmass (3,900 square kilometers).
The medal count matters to China. After netting 32 golds in 2004, just four behind the United States, it's headed for a blowout now. Economist Dan Johnson, whose forecasts have a 94 percent accuracy over the past four Games, predicts 44 golds for China, 33 for the United States.