THE Beijing Olympic Games opened with a big bang on Friday night.
But just hours after the Games kicked off yesterday, tragedy struck.
A Chinese man stabbed to death Mr Todd Bachman, the father-in-law of the US Olympic men's volleyball coach at the Drum Tower, a popular tourist spot in Beijing, reported AP.
Tang Yongming, 47, also stabbed and injured Mr Bachman's wife, Barbara, and their female tour guide.
The Bachmans are parents of former Olympian Elisabeth Bachman, who is married to the men's volleyball coach, Mr Hugh McCutcheon.
After the attack at about noon, Tang, from the eastern city of Hangzhou, killed himself by jumping from the second storey of the tower, a 13th-Century landmark located about 5km from the main Olympics site.
Chinese officials said the motive was not known.
The attack happened despite high security across the capital on the first day of Olympic competition, with more than 150,000 police and other personnel on patrol.
And it took place on the day before US President George Bush, who is in Beijing to attend the Games, is due to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao.
An estimated 450,000 foreign tourists are expected to be in Beijing for the Games, reported the BBC.
The US Embassy said it believed the attack was an isolated act and not directed at Americans or foreigners, given that the Chinese tour guide was also hurt.
'We don't believe this was targeted at American citizens, and we don't believe this has anything to do with the Olympics,' embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson said.
Embassy officials were sent to the hospital where the two injured survivors were sent.
Attacks on foreigners in China are extremely rare, reported The Daily Mail.
Punishments for crimes against foreigners are heavier than for crimes against Chinese, and police-linked neighbourhood watch groups are highly vigilant.
This article was first published in The New Paper on August 10, 2008.