AS PART of an effort to increase female participation (41% of the athletes at the 2004 Athens Games were women, up from 34% in Atlanta in '96), the IOC has added the women's steeplechase (above) and the women's sabre team fencing event to the schedule in Beijing.
THE YELLOW-AND-BLUE indoor ball adds color and has a dimpled surface that improves grip and stabilizes flight, allowing longer rallies.
GONE ARE the days of the perfect 10 in gymnastics. After controversies in Athens, the international federation created a new scoring system that will make its Olympic debut in Beijing. Routines will be judged by the sum of two point totals: difficulty and execution. There's no longer a perfect score, but medal hopefuls should aim for at least 16 points.