Chinese portal sina.com.cn got itself in the poo on the weekend for reporting that China had lost the women's volleyball final to Russia... before the game was finished. Which China won. Oops.
Xinhua News Agency takes up the story.
BEIJING, Aug. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Leading commercial website Sina.com.cn publicly apologized on Sunday for erroneously reporting that the Chinese women's Olympic volleyball team had lost to Russia before the match had concluded.
China's Olympics volleyball team celebrate with their gold medal at Athens August 28, 2004. China embraced its first volleyball Olympic title in 20 years after beating Russia 3-2 to finish the women's tournament at the Athens Olympic Game.
When Russia claimed the first two sets in the match, Sina.com.cn ran as a headline story on its Olympic Channel, "Chinese Girls Made Great Effort, but Were No Match for Russia. A 20-Year Olympic Dream Goes Unfulfilled." The title remained on the site for several minutes before being withdrawn.
A Sina.com.cn employee working on the Olympics pages told the Beijing Morning News that readers were "really unhappy" about the mistake. "We announced the failure of the Chinese women's volleyball team before the game was finished, which had a negative effect, so we deeply apologize for what we did."
The company explained that two preliminary reports had been prepared before the match, one to run in event of a loss, the other for a win. The appropriate article was to be updated at the conclusion of the match and uploaded to the website. Tension and carelessness both contributed to the wrong story being run, according to Sina.com.cn.
The women's volleyball event was a particularly sensitive one for China, which last clinched a gold medal in the event 20 years ago.