EYES ON LONDON: Badminton woes, Bieber and Wieber
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 Associated Press
Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:
FROM BIEBER TO WIEBER
Those screams you heard coming from the athletes village Wednesday morning were the U.S. women gymnasts reading their Twitter feeds.
The new Olympic gymnastics champions are huge Justin Bieber fans, and have been begging to meet the pop superstar for months now. Well, not only did the Biebs give the Fierce Five a shoutout, megafan Jordyn Wieber (she once hung a poster of him in her room at training camp) got a special mention.
Here's one: "CONGRATS to (at)McKaylaMaroney (at)jordynmarie2013 (at)kyla-ross96 (at)Aly-Raisman (at)gabrielledoug on your GOLD MEDAL. (hashtag)BeliebersWinGOLD (hashtag)Proud ..."
And here's another, sent three minutes later: "(at)jordyn-wieber u support me i support u. congrats."
- Nancy Armour - http://twitter.com/nrarmour
QUICKQUOTE: `OLD MENTALITY'
On Wednesday, the state-run Global Times responded by saying questions about Ye's feats were unfair.
"The West still judges China with an old mentality, and is petty about the progress China makes." - the state-run Global Times newspaper in China, weighing in on suspicions expressed by some that Chinese swimming medalist Ye Shiwen might have been doping. The 16-year-old swimmer has won two gold medals at the London Olympics - the individual medley at 200 and 400 meters - and has denied any use of banned drugs.
- Didi Tang - Twitter http://twitter.com/tangdidi
The United States men's gymnastics team is eyeing a rebound Wednesday from a disappointing fifth-place finish in the team final earlier this week.
The men hit the mats for the all-around competition. The Americans were doomed in the team competition when John Orozco and Danell Leyva both fell off the pommel horse in the second event. They'll get a chance to bounce back in the all-around, but Japanese world champion Kohei Uchimura is the overwhelming favorite.
Even though Uchimura has settled for silver in 2008 and in the team competition in London, China's Chen Yibing still describes him so simply: "He's perfect."
-Janie McCauley - Twitter http://www.twitter.com/janiemccAP
American swimmer Allison Schmitt is looking to make it two golds in two days when she takes to the pool for the 4x200 meter freestyle relay on Wednesday.
Schmitt set an Olympic record in winning the gold in the 200-meter free on Tuesday night, and she'll have plenty of star power with her on the American team. Missy Franklin is there as well, and the 17-year-old is already on her way to becoming the next U.S. swimming star.
The Americans will be trying to reclaim the gold in the event after losing it to the Australians in Beijing. The U.S. finished third in that race.
-Jon Krawczynski - Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski
ROW YOUR BOAT
Britain may be getting worried - no gold at its home Olympic Games after four days of action.
Fear not, Britons: The rowing finals have arrived.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning are the heavy favorites to win the women's pair in the first of 14 rowing finals across the next four days at Dorney Lake.
They are unbeaten in 2012, winning all three World Cup rowing regattas, and broke the Olympic-best time in the heats.
If they win, they'd become the first females to win an Olympic rowing gold for Britain. The country's reporters and TV crews are flocking to Windsor to see them do it.
No pressure, then.
- Steve Douglas - Twitter http://twitter.com/sdouglas80
The United States women's basketball team may finally get a test in these Olympics.
Diana Taurasi and Co. face Turkey on Wednesday night after winning their first two games of the London Games by an average of 38.5 points. They beat Angola by 52 points in their last game. Turkey, however, hung with the Americans for three quarters of an exhibition game in Istanbul nine days ago before the U.S. pulled away to a 19-point victory.
The U.S. women certainly are familiar with Turkey. Six Americans have played for Turkish clubs in the winter and Lindsay Whalen will become the seventh when she goes there after the WNBA season is over.
"A lot of these girls will be my teammates next year or my opponents," Whalen says. "That's the way international basketball is. You get to play with girls one day and the next you're playing against them. Having the familiarity helps as you know what they can do."
-Doug Feinberg - Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Dougfeinberg
PHELPS TWITTER LOVE
The praise for Michael Phelps' record-breaking swim continues to pop up on Twitter feeds, most recently from President Barack Obama himself:
"Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic medal record. You've made your country proud. -bo," said the tweet.
Although he wasn't specifically tagged in the tweet, Phelps saw it and replied at the front of his retweet to Obama.
"Thank you Mr. President!! It's an honor representing the (hashtag)USA !! The best country in the world!!"
Phelps also used Twitter to make sure his teammates on the 4x200 relay knew how much he appreciated their contributions to the swim - "for giving me the lead they did going into the last 200!!!!" - that gave Phelps his record 19th medal.
- Jenna Fryer - Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer
BADMINTON HEARINGS UNDER WAY
Hearings on the accusations against Olympic badminton players are going on at this hour in a hotel near the Wembley Arena badminton venue.
A hearing for South Korean players and coaches has already taken place Wednesday morning, and several have been interviewed. Indonesia and China are still awaiting their hearings before the Badminton World Federation's disciplinary commission.
No word yet on any results or judgments.
- Rob Harris - Twitter http://twitter.com/robharris
THE CAMERON CURSE?
Thanks for coming to our events, Mr. Prime Minister. But next time, don't.
British fans are playing the blame game when it comes to explaining why Britain's Olympians are faring poorly so far - so much so that they're even blaming Prime Minister David Cameron.
Newspapers have labeled it the "Cameron Curse," saying the few times the leader has shown up to watch, the British team has lost.
When Cameron showed up to watch diver Tom Daley, he fell short to win a medal. The same thing happened when Cameron turned up to watch Britain's cyclists when Mark Cavendish missed out on winning the gold.
- Paisley Dodds - Twitter http://twitter.com/paisleydodds
QUICKQUOTE: IOC REACTS
"We have full confidence in the federation to take any necessary steps. They have the experience to deal with such issues." - IOC spokesman Mark Adams, referring to badminton's governing body.
BADMINTON'S ROUGH WATERS
Not the best of mornings for Olympic badminton.
A disciplinary hearing is set for Wednesday for eight female badminton players, including the reigning world champions from China. They're accused of trying to throw their Olympic matches to capture an easier matchup in later rounds.
Doubles players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were charged with violating a code of conduct - "not using one's best efforts to win a match." They're also accused of "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."
The badminton federation is declining comment. The doubles pairs were all due to compete in quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon. Spectators at London's Wembley Arena booed when they realized players were apparently deliberately trying to lose.
Chinese players were accused of starting a domino effect by deliberately losing a game on Tuesday. In badminton, teams play in a round-robin format, and aren't knocked out if they lose an early game. A loss can lead to an easier opponent in later games.
WEATHER OR NOT
Britain's weather runs the traditional gamut Wednesday, offering challenges for many Olympic sports on tap.
Gusty winds are always fun for tennis and archery. The Met Office, Britain's weather service, says: "Bands of showery rain moving from west to east" will plague beach volleyball, cycling time trials and all six soccer stadiums. Some areas around London might even see "sunnier spells."
Still, the outlook for Thursday, Friday and Saturday looks worse, with "sunny spells but also heavy and thundery showers."
As we said, the gamut.
- Sheila Norman-Culp - Twitter http://twitter.com/snormanculp
BACK TO WORK
Please, wait for the time-delay broadcast!
Los Angeles' the top technology officer is pleading with city workers to stop watching the Olympics online at work, saying it could cause a municipal computer meltdown.
City tech guru Randi Levin sent an email asking workers to stop watching the London games because the city was experiencing a high volume of traffic.
Watching Tuesday's women's gymnastics and soccer competitions live on the Internet causes a tremendous amount of bandwidth to be tied up, city officials say. That means city computers might be working at a snail's pace under the strain.
Councilman Dennis Zine says taxpayers aren't paying city workers to watch the Olympics.
- Source: The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/OAuDVx )
NO GOLD FOR ONE HOST
Britain is still holding out for its first gold medal in the 2012 games, but if it doesn't happen, it wouldn't be the first time for a host country.
The 1976 summer games in Montreal hold the embarrassing distinction of being the first in which the host country failed to win a gold medal.
The medal count wasn't the only problem for Canada. The games were also a financial disaster - after the tragedy in Munich, security costs alone had ballooned and accounted for one-third of the total cost of the event. And the games were marred by political strife, with several nations boycotting.
-Source: "Pursuit of Excellence, The Olympic Story" by The Associated Press and Grolier
It's everywhere you want to be. But maybe not at the right time.
NBC ran a poorly timed Visa commercial Tuesday that celebrated Michael Phelps winning a gold medal in 2008 in a split-second finish. It ran directly after the network broadcast Phelps' silver medal race - which he lost in precisely the same way.
A day earlier, NBC ran a "Today" show promo about interviewing Missy Franklin on her swimming gold medal just BEFORE televising the race.
- David Bauder - Twitter http://twitter.com/dbauder
PLAYING WITH PINKEYE
Two-time defending gold medalist beach volleyball pair Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor of the United States wrap up pool play Wednesday against Austrian sisters Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger - and Walsh insists she won't be slowed by a case of pinkeye in her left eye.
"It's super minor," she said. "It just looks worse than it is."
Walsh Jennings' left eye was red and watery as she squinted through it, dabbing it repeatedly with a tissue to wipe away the gunk and teardrops. Her husband, fellow beach volleyball pro Casey Jennings, has it much worse.
"It looks like his eyeballs got their butts kicked," she said.
Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor have opened the London Games with victories in their first two matches in pool play - a 16-game winning streak that stretches back to Athens. They are virtually assured of a spot in the knockout round regardless of what happens in Wednesday night's match.
- Jimmy Golen - Twitter http://twitter.com/jgolen
AFRICA'S FENCING WIN
With a silver medal in hand, Egypt's Alaaeldin Abouelkassem won the first Olympic medal ever claimed by a fencer from Africa.
He lost the final 15-13 to his Chinese rival, yet could barely believe what he'd achieved.
Abouelkassem, son of an Algerian mother and an Egyptian father, said his victory would not just boost fencing in Egypt, but in all over Africa.
"They need this medal to improve the fencing in Africa," he said.
On his way to the final, Abouelkassem beat reigning world champion Andrea Cassara of Italy and former four-time world champion Peter Joppich of Germany.
"Every match, I am better than the match before," he said after defeating Cassara. "I feel good, I have no stress, I am from Africa, from Egypt, so no one expects me to win."
Abouelkassem dedicated the medal to his father who died recently.
"This was the dream of my dad and he left me three months ago," he said.
- Eric Willemsen - Twitter https://twitter.com/eWilmedia
Did the world doubles badminton champs try to lose?
Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China were booed off the Olympic court Tuesday after appearing to intentionally lose against South Koreans Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na in a preliminary women's match. The South Koreans also didn't look as if they were trying to win at times.
The reason? Both teams had already topped their groups and qualified for the last 16, but the result ensured top seeds Wang and Yu avoided playing their No. 2-seeded teammates until the final.
Yu said they were only trying to save energy for the knockout rounds, starting Wednesday.
"We would try hard in every match if they were elimination games," she said.
The U.S. women's gymnastics team has gold medals around their necks, but one thing is still missing.
They need a catchy nickname, something like "The Magnificent Seven" from 1996, the last time American women landed on top of the medal stand.
"I like Fierce Five," McKayla Maroney said. "Because we are definitely the fiercest team out there."
- Nancy Armour - Twitter http://www.twitter.com/nrarmour
The Americans were expected to have a blowout win against Tunisia on the basketball court Tuesday. But nobody told the Tunisians they were supposed to go down easily.
They began fearlessly, with Makram Ben Romdhane driving all the way for a dunk - the type of athletic plays that are usually made by the Americans, not against them - to take an 8-4 lead. Tunisia still led by three with 2:39 left in the period before the U.S. second unit ran off the final nine points for a 21-15 advantage.
The Americans came back and won 110-63.
But after wire-to-wire loser Sunday against Nigeria, the Tunisians will be able to tell their kids their first Olympic lead came against the powerful Americans.
- Brian Mahoney - Twitter http://twitter.com/briancmahoney
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.