EYES ON LONDON: Boris dangles, a badminton scandal
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:
THE PHOTO OF BORIS
And here's the photo of London Mayor Boris Johnson dangling from the zip wire.
"Can you get me a rope? Get me a rope, okay?" he said.
And the crowds responded with laughter.
— Sylvia Hui — Twitter http://twitter.com/sylviahui
PLAYING IT SAFE
Over at the gymnastics, the public announcer wanted to make absolutely sure he'd got this one right. You know, there's been enough confusion already about North and South Korean flags.
As he introduced Kim Soo-myun, he hesitated, almost got it wrong — and then everything went silent.
The crowd started to laugh and applaud.
Then, in an assured tone, the nationality was finally given: South Korea!
"I am sure you would appreciate that i want to be absolutely sure," said the announcer, to much amusement.
He didn't know, presumably, that the North Koreans aren't even taking part in the gymnastics here. They were banned as punishment for a case of age falsification.
— Peter de Jong
"Don't be robotic!" That was the advice coming from Chinese basketball coach Bob Donewald to his players during practice Wednesday.
China has lost the first two games of the Olympics and Donewald is trying to get his players to loosen up and improvise as the game goes along.
They play Australia on Thursday, and desperately need a win to start validating all the changes Donewald has made since taking over the program three years ago.
"We need results," he says.
—Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski
BADMINTON: APPEAL DENIED
An unwanted outcome for the South Korean female badminton players disqualified by their sport's federation — their appeal has been rejected. And Indonesia, meanwhile, has withdrawn its appeal.
— Rob Harris — Twitter http://twitter.com/robharris
QUICKQUOTE: 'TRUE BRITISH HERO'
"A true British hero. First the Tour (de France) and now Olympic Gold" — Prime Minister David Cameron hailing cyclist Bradley Wiggins on Twitter after he won gold on Wednesday.
— David Stringer — Twitter http://twitter.com/david_stringer
HELP FROM A FOLKLORE LEGEND?
Did Britain's first Olympic gold medal come with a little help from Finn MacCool?
Just before rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the final of the women's pair, Prime Minister David Cameron wished for success at a famed spot at Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway, a dramatic natural stairway of tens of thousands of basalt rocks that run into the Atlantic.
Legend has it that the causeway was built by MacCool, a mythical Irish warrior, who fashioned a seat-like section of rock called the Wishing Chair. Visitors who recline in the alcove are reputed to have their wishes granted.
"I'm not allowed to tell anyone what it was, but as soon as I got back and turned on my mobile phone I heard the good news," Cameron said, after he visited the site early Wednesday.
— David Stringer - Twitter http://twitter.com/david_stringer
Maybe the stencils got slightly mixed up. Or perhaps the person who stenciled "London 2102" on an umpire stand at Wimbledon, the Olympics venue for tennis, was guessing when a British man would finally take the Grand Slam title. Whatever the case, the transposing of numbers at the All England Club was realized Tuesday and has been corrected.
Earlier this month, Andy Murray of Scotland became the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938. He lost in four sets to Roger Federer for the Swiss player's 17th Grand Slam title. The last British champion was Fred Perry in 1936.
— Betsy Blaney — Twitter http://twitter.com/betsyblaney
Before Dawn Harper got famous for winning an Olympic gold medal and Lolo Jones got even more famous for losing it, Michelle Perry was supposed to become the Next Big Thing in hurdling.
It never happened.
The best in the world in 2005, 2006 and 2007 tore her hamstring early in 2008 and couldn't recover in time to make it to Beijing. She watched the Olympics on TV, and her story became another reminder that for every Jones and Harper who get their chance, there are dozens of athletes who put in all the hard work and never see the ultimate payoff.
"I remember them announcing the Olympic hurdlers on TV," Perry told me the other day. "The final sentence they said was, 'And Michelle Perry won't be making the Olympic team.' Had you told me I'd hear those words, you never could've convinced me it would've been true."
Perry does have her special Olympic moment of sorts: It was her shoes that crossed the finish line first in Beijing — albeit on Harper's feet. Without a sponsor and unable to afford new spikes, Harper bummed a pair off Perry and wore them to her upset victory over Jones, who was leading when she tripped on the second-to-last hurdle.
Perry learned that while training under the direction of the renowned coach Bobby Kersee: "The motto with Bobby has always been, 'Help pull the next person up.'"
— Eddie Pells — Twitter http://twitter.com/epells
One group of Gamesmakers — the official name of those giving up their time for Olympic roles — stood in the Olympic Park on Wednesday morning declaring they were the official 'Volunteer Rhythmic Gymnastics Team.'
They then pulled some ribbons out of their bags and proceeded to prance around, twirling them.
See the photos here: http://www.whosay.com/fergusbell/photos/209611
— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb
HOPE SOLO, UK-BOUND?
Imagine it: Hope Solo, British sports star. The tabloids would love her. Outspoken. Charismatic. Photogenic. Reality-TV star. Unapologetic tweeter.
It just might happen. With prospects uncertain for a major U.S. women's soccer league, members of the Olympic team will be considering whether to play overseas. The leagues in Sweden, Germany, Japan and France are more developed, but Solo could see herself back in the UK.
"It's not necessarily about the play, it's about bringing the game to a whole different level globally, the women's game," she said. "So I would think about staying right here in England and helping build the sport here, the beautiful game where the game has such a rich history, yet the women's game is lacking."
— Joseph White — Twitter http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
MORE ON BORIS
Boris dangling in mid-air is becoming the theme of the day.
He was even clutching two Union Jack flags at the time. His office is taking the latest mishap in its stride, responding in typically quirky fashion: "Clearly the judges are likely to mark him down for artistic interpretation and, unlike Team GB, he won't be bagging any gold medals today but he remains unbowed."
— Sylvia Hui — Twitter http://twitter.com/sylviahui
SYRIANS DON'T TALK WAR
A policy from the Syrian Olympians in London: Don't talk about the war back home.
"We never talk about this," says Bayan Jumah, a swimmer from Aleppo, a city wrecked with violence during one of the most important battles of a 17-month uprising against the government of President Bashar Assad.
Assad is urging his armed forces to step up the fight against rebels in Aleppo and the U.N. reported a significant escalation in the civil war with the military using warplanes to fire on opposition fighters.
Jumah says she is in touch with her family and worries about them just "a little bit, but not so much." She spoke after competing in the 100-meter freestyle at the London Games Wednesday.
— Barbara Surk — Twitter http://twitter.com/BarbaraSurkAP
You won't believe this. London's eccentric mayor has provided some comic relief to Olympic audiences by getting stuck on a zip wire.
Boris Johnson was seen dangling in midair when he joined the crowds on the ride at an open air viewing site at east London's Victoria Park.
We're working on bringing you images.
WELL, SINCE IT'S FREE
Olympians can eat McDonalds for free inside the athletes village, but most try hard to avoid the temptation.
American swimmers Ricky Berens and Conor Dwyer couldn't help themselves, though, after winning gold in the men's 4x200 relay.
"It was pretty bad," Dwyer said. "A couple quarter pounders, McFlurries, fries."
Berens tweeted a picture of their feast, which included Big Macs.
"We eat so healthy all the time, so I felt pretty gross after that," Berens said.
"I still feel bad this morning," added Dwyer.
— Jenna Fryer — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer
OUT OF THE GAMES
Punishment was swift — and harsh.
Eight female badminton doubles players have been disqualified from the London Olympics after trying to lose matches to receive a more favorable place in the tournament. The Badminton World Federation announced its ruling after investigating two teams from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia.
It punished them for "not using one's best efforts to win a match" and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport" in matches Tuesday night.
"We applaud the federation for having taken swift and decisive action," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press. "Such behavior is incompatible with the Olympic values."
— Rob Harris — Twitter http://twitter.com/robharris
SAMBA IN THE VILLAGE
Music is an important part of the Brazilian makeup, and the women's Olympic football team is no different — win or lose.
Following Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Britain at Wembley Stadium, the Brazilian players streamed toward the bus with their bags in one hand and various instruments in the other. Veteran midfielder Formiga carries a pandeiro and forward Cristiane holds a tantan while other teammates stream past with timbas and caixas that combine to produce that famed samba sound we associate with the likes of the sun, sand and the beautiful people of Rio de Janeiro's Ipanema Beach.
If you're lucky enough to be in the athletes village before Brazil plays, you can actually catch a performance too.
"We start playing after leaving our rooms in the village until we step on to the bus," Cristiane explains. "It continues to the stadium. It starts to quiet down once we get to the locker room since we have to get prepared."
Brazil will have to conjure up some of its best bossa nova for its quarterfinal match Friday in Cardiff with World Cup champion Japan awaiting at the Millennium Stadium.
— Paul Logothetis — www.twitter.com/PaulLogoAP
Oscar Pistorius had both legs amputated as a baby, and he credits his mother for his incredible success since then.
"My mother said to us in the morning : 'Carl — this is my brother — you put on your shoes and Oscar you put on your prosthetic legs and that is the last I want to hear about it.' I grew up not really thinking I had a disability. I grew up thinking I had different shoes."
The South African sprinter will be the first double-amputee athlete to compete at any Olympics when he runs in the 400 meters in London on Saturday.
— Raf Casert — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/rcasert
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.