AUGUST 9 - THE opening day of competition at the Olympics was overshadowed by the murder in Beijing of a relative of a coach for the United States men's volleyball coach which has overshadowed the opening day of the Games.


A knife-wielding Chinese man attacked Todd Bachmann, the father-in-law of the US coach, and wife Barbara, killing one and injuring the other on the first day of the Olympics.


Their daughter, Elisabeth Bachman McCutcheon, who played volleyball for the US women's team at the 2004 Athens Games is married to Hugh McCutcheon, coach of the men's team.


She was with her parents at the time of the attack but was not hurt.


The man then committed suicide by throwing himself from the second story of the site, the 13th century Drum Tower just five miles from the main Olympics site.


The brutal attack shortly after midday was all the more shocking because of the rarity of violent crime against foreigners in tightly controlled China, which has increased security measures even more for the Olympics.


Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the US Olympic Committee (USOC), said of the volleyball team said: "They are deeply saddened and shocked.


The USOC said in a statement that two family members of a coach for the men's indoor volleyball team were stabbed at the Drum Tower "during an attack by what local law enforcement authorities have indicated was a lone assailant."


The official Government new agency Xinhua identified the attacker as Tang Yongming, 47, from the eastern city of Hangzhou.


It said Tang attacked the two Americans and their Chinese tour guide, who was also injured, at 12.20 p.m. on the second level of the ancient tower, then leapt to his death immediately afterward.


Seibel said the two Americans who were attacked were not wearing anything that would have identified them as Americans or part of the US team.


He said: "They were not wearing apparel or anything that would have specifically identified them as being members of our delegation."


Police blocked off streets leading to the Drum Tower immediately after the attack and cordoned off the area with yellow police tape.


Security officers were examining the scene on the tower and below.


Attacks on foreigners in China are extremely rare.


The White House said President George W. Bush, who is in Beijing for the opening days of the Games, was informed of the incident, and his heart goes out to the families of the victims.