EYES ON LONDON: Big night approaches for Phelps

July 31, 2012 - 1:44 AM
London Olympics Swimming Men

United States' Michael Phelps waves after finishing first in the men's 200-meter butterfly swimming semifinal at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza)

LONDON (AP) — Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:

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BIG NIGHT FOR PHELPS

After missing the medal podium in his first swim in London and taking a surprising silver in the 4x100 freestyle relay, Michael Phelps is back for two more shots at another gold medal on Tuesday. He will try to defend his title in the 200-meter butterfly and also swim in the 4x200 freestyle final.

Phelps had the fifth-fastest time in the 200 fly preliminaries on Monday, and he feels ready to go again.

"I'm pretty happy with that swim," Phelps said. "That's all I needed it to be."

— Beth Harris — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/bethharrisap

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'STUPID RULE'

"In this system it's a shame that the all-around champion doesn't get to compete in the finals at the Olympics because of a stupid rule." — John Geddert, coach of reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber, who will miss a shot at Olympic gold in Thursday's Olympic gymnastics all-around finals because international rules allow only two competitors per country.

— Will Graves — Twitter http://twitter.com/WillGravesAP

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JUDO GEM

Marti Malloy earned the second-ever Olympic judo medal for an American woman, and she was ready.

She proudly displayed the bronze prize for photographers and offered to strike the traditional pose.

"I've been working on my bite," she said Monday night. "I'm not sure if it should be mean or happy."

The 26-year-old Malloy got into judo when her parents enrolled her in a free class on a military base when she was growing up in Oak Harbor, Wash. She went on to compete at San Jose State University, and 92-year-old coach Yoshihiro Uchida made the trip to London to see her big win.

Malloy's three brothers also learned judo when they were kids, and she said she felt fortunate to be involved with the sport.

"Judo is one of those sports that in the U.S. obviously isn't very well known but is the thing that will teach you the most about discipline, respect, hard work, dedication," she said. "I know all sports are like that but judo especially, those are the ideals that the sport is built around."

— Jay Cohen — Twitter http://twitter.com/jcohenap

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RATINGS WIN

The Nielsen company says 36 million people watched NBC's Olympic coverage Sunday night, the biggest audience for the second night of a non-U.S. summer Olympics competition since TV began covering them in 1960.

Counting the opening ceremonies on Friday, an average of 35.8 million people have tuned in for the three nights. That's well above the 30.6 million who watched the first three nights in Beijing in 2008 and considerably more than the 24 million who saw the first three nights of the Athens games of 2004.

— David Bauder — Twitter http://twitter.com/dbauder

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STRICT MUM

Talk about strict parenting.

New Zealand kayaker Mike Dawson made the semifinals of the kayak slalom at the Olympics despite being given a two-second penalty by his mother Kay — who is a judge at the games.

Dawson touched gate five when going down the 18-gate Olympic course on Sunday, and his mother didn't hesitate to penalize her son. It was one of two two-second penalties Dawson received, but he still advanced to Wednesday's semis.

Dawson joked in an email to The Associated Press on Monday that he was tempted to get his coach to put in a protest "about that particular judge."

It would have made dinnertime at the Dawsons even more awkward. His coach is father Les.

"That would've had all sorts of ramifications after the Olympics and besides, I like mum's cooking too much!" Dawson joked in his message to AP.

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TWITTER INSULT INVESTIGATED

The Twitter insult against British diver Tom Daley has attracted the attention of police.

Daley's father died of brain cancer a year ago and the 18-year-old Olympian had hoped win a medal "for myself and my dad." But he finished finishing fourth, out of medal contention, in the 10-meter synchronized platform with teammate Pete Waterfield.

Afterward, Twitter user (at)Rileyy69 sent him this message: "You let your dad down i hope you know that."

Dorset Police tweeted tonight: "Regarding tweets to (at)tomdaley1994 - we are aware of the issue and we are actively looking into it."

In Britain, tweeting messages considered menacing, offensive or indecent can lead to prosecution.

— Cassandra Vinograd — Twitter: https://twitter.com/CassVinograd

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POTUS WATCHING?

We know that FLOTUS (first lady of the United States Michelle Obama) has cheered on the Olympians from the stands in London. But what about POTUS (president of the U.S.), who stayed home?

The White House couldn't say Monday whether President Barack Obama has been watching but thought it likely.

"I know that he was looking forward to the Olympics starting so I'd be surprised if 72 hours into it he hadn't seen it yet," deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said as Obama flew Air Force One to New York for an evening fundraiser. Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki joked that the Olympics would be forced on to all the plane's TVs to improve the odds.

Here's what could be seen in the back cabin: Korea v. Denmark in handball, and weightlifters from Indonesia and Turkey. No word on what Obama was doing up front.

— Nancy Benac — Twitter https://twitter.com/nbenac

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HE'S NO SLOUCH

Nick Thoman almost left swimming after 2008, thinking then it might be time to try something else.

Now an Olympic silver medalist — he and Matt Grevers went 1-2 in the men's 100 backstroke for the United States on Monday night — Thoman is headed to school again, starting next spring.

"I didn't actually graduate college," Thoman said. "So I'm going to go back to school and get my degree so that I can do something with my life."

Whoa.

Do something with his life? Did he not notice the silver medal dangling from his neck? Everyone in the room giggled anxiously, waiting to see if Thoman would provide the punch line.

And he did.

"Something else," Thoman said, as the giggles turned into full-blown laughter.

— Tim Reynolds — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

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NOISY NEIGHBORS

When the public address announcer at the Horse Guards Parade beach volleyball venue wants to get the crowd riled up, he reminds them that the prime minister's residence is virtually next door.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," he told the crowd at 10 p.m. during a break in the second of four Monday night matches, "I've just heard that prime minister David Cameron, or Dave as I call him, is trying to get a good night's sleep at 10 Downing Street."

The crowd booed.

He added: "He's just checked into a hotel."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer

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HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES!

Happy Gilmore, you have your archery equivalent.

British archer Larry Godfrey delighted the crowd Monday as he celebrated reaching the men's individual 70-meter quarterfinals at Lord's cricket ground.

Adorned in aviator shades and bleached highlights, Godfrey emulated batting a six — the equivalent of a home run in baseball — after advancing.

"I thought it would be a bit of fun," he explained.

The 198-year-old venue is considered "The Home of Cricket."

The Bristol-based archer is hoping that home soil will be the trick for his first medal in three Olympics.

— Paul Logothetis — Twitter http:/twitter.com/PaulLogoAP

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EDITOR'S NOTE — "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item, and get even more AP updates from the games here: http://twitter.com/AP_Sports