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Bolt and bling envy at Games

2012-08-07 23:03
London - Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists bringing the flavour and details of the games to you:


Usain Bolt claims he had a low-key celebration after winning the 100m. But what's that on Twitter?

The world's fastest man tweeted a photo of himself and three Swedish handball players in the wee morning hours after his win.

"Whatcha want to know?" he replied after initially claiming he "just chilled".

"I went to the cafeteria to get some food, I saw them and we started talking. They wanted pictures. We chilled. I told them I had a great idea for a picture. So we took a picture."


The competitors are in the arena for the final day of individual gymnastics competition, and it's striking how quiet it is.

Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber are going through some warm-ups on the floor, with Wieber doing her best Rocky impersonation by ripping off push-ups and clapping her hands in the middle of each one.

The competitors do not make eye contact, with their teammates or rivals, and hardly a word is being spoken.

It's singular focus, razor sharp concentration. For one more day.


It's not getting any easier at the hurdling.

Within two strides of heat six the Hungarian runner pulled up with a muscle injury - and things quickly got worse.
Liu Xiang, the 2004 Olympic champion, slammed his leading foot into the first hurdle and crashed down.

For the second straight Games, Liu - who was injured at his home Beijing Olympics - got to the start line but never cleared a single hurdle.

Injured, he hopped to the side, down the track, then was taken away in a wheelchair.

Two lanes along, the Barbados athlete also fell at the first and the Senegal athlete was later disqualified.


"It's really hard, I think he's one of the best. He's showing the world he can do great things. For him to push himself and come back last year and for this to happen, it's really sad for any athlete," - Usain Bolt after Liu Xiang was forced out of the games with an injury in the first heat of the 110-meter hurdles for the second Olympics in a row.


China has been piling up medals again in London. Yet the team playing perhaps the most popular sport in the nation has struggled mightily at these games.

China's men's basketball team went 0-5 in pool play and looked lost without the retired Yao Ming. In one game it trailed Brazil by more than 40 points.

Centre Wang Zhizhi says he told coach Bob Donewald in 2010 that "there are two most difficult jobs in the world right now: One is saving the miners in Chile and the other is taking over Chinese men's basketball".

Donewald says it was an honour to be chosen for the post-Yao rebuilding process and just qualifying for the Olympics was a big step in the right direction for his team.

"But once we got here, it was a lot to chew," Donewald says. "Just a little bit too much."


"It was good. Gotta take it easy. Easy run, yeah, yeah, easy run. It's my favourite event ... It's getting pretty chilly. They said it should be ok on Thursday. We'll see. I've heard that before" - Usain Bolt on his easy 200m heat victory on Tuesday.


Usain Bolt coasted across the finish line in his 200m heat.

The defending Olympic champion did his trademark pose and other animated antics during introductions.

Then he did what he always does. He ran fast and dominated the competition.

He was already ahead of the field as he came off the turn, and then cruised home from there. He actually let up at the end.

Another day at the office for the world's fastest man.


Prince Charles' wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has arrived for the triathlon in Hyde Park wearing a black baseball cap.


People are staring at my chest - and I don't even have an Olympic medal.

In the first week they were trying to work out if I was important by glancing at my Olympic accreditation. Now they are looking at my bling.

My Olympic pins, that is.

Forget pounds, euros, dollars. Pins are the true currency at the games. Some trade, some buy, some sell - although pin etiquette seems to frown slightly upon this.

You can't walk anywhere now - inside or outside an Olympic venue - without someone commenting on them.

Transport workers and security staff beg you for one and pin collectors try and dupe you. If they see you have something of value - say a rare North Korea pin - then they are relentless in their attempts to make a trade.

Not on your nelly, guys.


Not everybody likes the flag-waving of the Olympics, but few appear to hate it quite as much as indie rock icon Morrissey, who's back in his English homeland after a European tour.

"I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event. Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism?" Morrissey has just written in his blog for fans.

"The 'dazzling royals' have, quite naturally, hijacked the Olympics for their own empirical needs, and no oppositional voice is allowed in the free press. It is lethal to witness."

Last month, Morrissey complained that none of The Smiths' 1980s chart-topping UK hits was included in Danny Boyle's pop culture-infused opening ceremony for the London Games. Seems there's no pleasing some people.


The 110 hurdles started (or didn't) with a disqualification for the Madagascar runner who jumped the gun in lane three.

When it did get going, the Bahamas runner took a tumbling forward roll fall and was also disqualified.
The British runner failed to finish.

The Trinidad and Tobago runner clattered to the line leaving behind a trail of 10 splayed hurdles.
Even the Olympic Stadium announcer saw the humorous side.

It was time to "clean up the carnage" after heat three on Tuesday morning, the packed Olympic Stadium was told.


Italian kayaker Josefa Idem became the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games when she set off in her heat for the 500-meter K-1 at Dorney Lake on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old Idem's first summer games were in Los Angeles in 1984 and she has finished fifth or higher at each Olympics. She won gold in Sydney in 2000 and missed out on another in Beijing four years ago when she was edged into silver by four-hundredths of a second. Idem, who was born in Germany but became an Italian citizen in 1992, finished third in her heat to reach the semi-finals later Tuesday.


There are bigger venues than the velodrome to be at in Olympic Park on Tuesday. None will be louder.

The British team, which has dominated the 'drome with five gold medals in the first seven events in the building, could rack up three more in a span of about 30 minutes Tuesday evening.

Chris Hoy is trying to defend his title in the keirin, Victoria Pendleton defends her title in the women's sprint, and Laura Trott tries to win her second gold of the London Games in the multidiscipline women's omnium.

Don't forget your ear plugs.


AP's Jill Lawless likens a walk around Olympic Park to a non-stop musical mystery tour - part of a boisterous policy that aims to keep spectators pumped up with songs wafting from speakers and half-heard snatches of music mixing with the roar of the crowds at venues

"Three songs have been impossible to escape at these games. "Heroes" by David Bowie has been adopted as the British team's anthem. "Gold" by Spandau Ballet is the BBC's song of choice for medal-winners. And Vangelis' theme from "Chariots of Fire" is played loudly and often in all sorts of venues.

For games venues, organisers have a list of 2012 songs arranged into playlists to suit the mood. The music is predominantly British, but includes global stars like U2, Jay-Z and Britney Spears.

But the act that gets the most negative reaction is - sacrilege! - The Beatles. Some volunteers have been heard grousing about how much of the Fab Four's music is being played in the park.

Others joke about how often Paul McCartney has popped up at the games - playing the opening ceremony, turning up for cycling and track competitions, leading the inevitable audience sing-alongs of "Hey Jude" and "All You Need Is Love."

It has led some to suggest the 70-year-old musical icon dial it down.

"Will Paul McCartney please stop playing?" said Peter Forrest, a street performer in the city's Covent Garden area. "He's done his bit for England. Tell him to relax."

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