LONDON 2012: Olympic Round-Up
By The Associated Press 31 July 2012
LONDON— Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:
SHOULDERING THE BLAME
The US men’s gymnastics team faltered as a team in Monday’s finals. But John Orozco thinks he’s to blame.
“I feel personally responsible. I did five events and I botched two,” he said after the fifth-place finish.
Orozco said he messed up on both the vault — “If you saw, I fell on my butt” — and the pommel horse, where “I did so poorly, it counted as if I fell twice.”
Sam Mikulak says no one member of the American team was at fault for the performance.
“He’s definitely being too hard on himself,” Mikulak said, adding the team still showed it is young and improving and “will be a force in Rio.”
ANY MEDAL COUNTS
Kristian Thomas finished his floor routine confident he’d done enough to give Britain its first men’s gymnastics team medal in 100 years.
But he was too nervous to look.
After his score was posted, and the arena erupted in cheers, he finally glanced over and saw his team had claimed the silver medal.
And then it was gone.
A protest by the Japanese pushed them from fourth to second, knocking Britain down to bronze.
Thomas didn’t care.
“We didn’t quite get it in our hands, so we never really had it,” he said. “Bronze, in our home games, is still absolutely amazing. If someone had told me at the start of the day we’d win a medal, I would have taken that straight away.”
MORE ON THE FENCING DRAMA
Sports clichés are easy to come by, but nail-biting does not begin to sum up the drama at the Olympics women’s epee.
During a semi-final match, South Korea’s Shin A-lam lodged an appeal against a controversial decision by referees.
She and her opponent, Britta Heidemann of Germany, had played three times for the winning point, each time with just one second left on the clock. This itself left many spectators wondering: for just how long can you string out one second?
It was during the third “second” that Heidemann scored the winning point. The South Korean coach started an appeal process that lasted an hour, apparently arguing that the win was scored out of time. All the while, Shin refused to leave the piste as by doing so she would accept defeat.
Referees eventually called it in favor of the German.
The crowd, however, overwhelmingly showed support for Shin and many gave her a standing ovation as she left the arena. Shin returned just minutes later for the bronze-medal match but after an early lead fell to defeat. Each time she scored, though, she received much applause and some foot-stamping. The crowd gave her yet another standing ovation as she bowed out.
Previously during her hour-long appeal she had sobbed uncontrollably before the 8,000-strong auditorium.
Cloud and rain. Rain continuing north, heavy in places. Unsettled and windy for most, rain or showers at times.
That, in order, is Britain’s weather forecast for Monday night, Tuesday and the Wednesday-Thursday-Friday outlook.
A good comic could just read the daily report from the Met Office, the UK’s weather agency. Ten thousand ways to say rain. Then you move onto summer temperatures. Highest tomorrow in London is 18 Celsius—about 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
Get out the sweaters.
ZARA AND THE FAMILY
AP’s Nicole Winfield is covering equestrian — and, by extension, Zara Phillips’ competition. Here’s an excerpt from her dispatch Monday night:
“Zara Phillips had a few things to celebrate Monday: Her first wedding anniversary — and a penalty-free ride through the treacherous cross-country portion of the Olympic equestrian eventing competition that counted toward Britain’s second-place finish going into the final round. Her cousins, Princes William and Harry, donned ‘Team GB’ polo shirts and joined an estimated 50,000 less-regal fans in Greenwich Park to root for Phillips as she negotiated her horse over 28 obstacles and a slippery course that claimed a dozen fallen riders. ‘The crowd was unbelievable!’ Phillips said after she finished Day 2 of her Olympic equestrian debut.”
A LEGEND SHOWS UP
Even Kobe Bryant wanted a picture with him.
Brazilian basketball legend Oscar Schmidt visited the US men’s basketball practice on Monday and was somewhat surprised he was recognized by players too young to have seen him play. Schmidt scored nearly 50,000 points during his career. He never played in the NBA, however, he made his mark on American hoops by almost single-handedly beating the US at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.
Schmidt led Brazil to a win over an American team featuring David Robinson and Danny Manning.
There was some debate among US reporters Monday about Schmidt’s point total before he was asked.
“I scored 46,” he said, “35 in the second half.”
You hardly missed, he was told.
“That was always the case,” he said laughing.
OLYMPIC TRADE BOOST?
There’s no gold medal for technology, but if there were, Jonny Ive would be a world champion.
The Apple vice president, the design guru behind the iPhone and iPod, attended a London summit Monday aimed at using the London Olympics to boost Britain’s creative industries. The U.K. hopes to secure about 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in deals.
“The creative industries are an integral part of the U.K’.s economic success and future growth,” Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says.
Hunt was also at a reception hailing British design along with the country’s most glamorous royal, the Duchess of Cambridge, previously known as Kate Middleton.
STILL BIG IN WEYMOUTH, BY GEORGE
King George III is still a popular figure in Weymouth, the English Channel resort hosting Olympic sailing.
Seems that the monarch, best known in the United States for losing the American colonies, helped put Weymouth on the map with his summer visits from 1789 to 1805 for therapeutic saltwater dips.
There’s a statue of the monarch on one end of the Esplanade, the walkway and road that run parallel to the beach. The inscription reads: “The grateful inhabitants to George The Third on his entering the 50th year of his reign.”
A more interesting image of the king is called the Osmington White Horse. Carved into a chalk cliff outside of town, the giant image shows the king riding a horse. It can be seen for miles, including from the sailing courses on Weymouth Bay.
Legend has it that despite the carving being intended as a compliment, the king was offended because it showed him riding away from town, and he never returned.
Soldiers dancing in conga lines, bikini-clad cheerleaders, spectators stacking plastic beer cups in tottering towers — is anyone watching actual Olympic beach volleyball?
Even spectators taking in a match Monday between the men from Great Britain and Brazil were distracted by activity in the stands at central London’s Horse Guards Parade.
As rival sections of the arena competed to build the largest beer cup tower, jumbo screens showed troops joining a conga line around the 15,000 seat venue.
Even those watching the sandy court faced distractions, including dancers in skimpy outfits who performed during each major break in play.
After his father died of brain cancer a year ago, teenage diver Tom Daley went into the Olympics determined to win a medal “for myself and my dad.”
The 18-year-old Briton missed out in his first event on Monday, finishing fourth in the 10-meter synchronized platform with teammate Pete Waterfield.
What made it worse for Daley was the response from one Twitter user.
“You let your dad down i hope you know that,” (at)Rileyy69 tweeted.
Daley retweeted the abuse and said: “After giving it my all…you get idiot’s sending me this.”
There was an immediate outcry, with users tweeting: (hash)GetRileyy_69Banned.
“how am i trending worldwide?” (at)Rileyy69 asked.
His account is currently locked.