EYES ON LONDON: Bolt and MANU, Hoy, Hammer

By The Associated Press Updated at 2012-08-07 21:50:14 +0000


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:



Well, he's not bad with his feet.

Everyone wants to know what the world's fastest man is going to do after the London Olympics. How about playing a little soccer for Manchester United?

Usain Bolt, who won a gold medal in the 100 meters Sunday, said afterward that he would like to play for one of the Premier League's heavyweights.

"People think I am joking, but if (United coach) Alex Ferguson called me up and said, 'OK, let's do this, come and have a trial,' it would be impossible for me to say no," Bolt said.

But the Jamaican sprinter said he wouldn't do it unless he believed he had the skills to be a factor on the field.

"I would not take up the challenge if I didn't think I was good enough," Bolt said. "I am in Britain for a few more days. If Alex Ferguson wants to give me a call, he knows where I am."

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



The gold medal barely had time to settle on Aly Raisman's neck when workers at North Greenwich Arena started ripping out the gymnastics staging.

They have little time to change this place over from the home for Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman into the new pad for LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The men's basketball tournament held pool play in the basketball arena in the Olympic Park.

Now that we've advanced to the knockout rounds, the tourney is being shifted over here to accommodate the larger crowds.

Here's a twitpic of the work: http://yfrog.com/mgnxorj

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski



British cyclist Laura Trott was royally surprised after winning her first individual gold medal.

She was winding down her press obligations, smiling ear-to-ear after winning the omnium Tuesday, when she was told that Prince William was here to meet 20-year-old.

"Who?" she asked, puzzled.

Then Trott went pale, her smile vanished and her jaw fell agape.

"He's here to meet me?" she said stunned.

As she was ushered off to meet the prince, Trott stopped to watch the closing laps of the men's keirin, jumping up and down to cheer teammate Chris Hoy's gold medal ride.

Trott may have had a second surprise. Prince Harry — the most eligible bachelor in Britain — was at the Velodrome on Tuesday, not his married brother Prince William, according to the palace.

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



"This has really turned into a golden summer for Team GB and for the whole of the U.K. ... That is going to leave people with some very, very happy memories." — Prime Minister David Cameron, as Britain racked up its 22nd gold of the Summer Games.

— David Stringer - Twitter http://twitter.com/david_stringer



U.S. women have qualified for the final of the beach volleyball — and a chance to win their third Olympic gold.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings beat China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi 22-20, 22-20 on Tuesday.

The 2004 and '08 champions will play the winner of the late semifinal between Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross and the top-seeded Brazilians, Juliana and Larissa.

It was the 20th straight Olympic victory for May-Treanor and Walsh.

— Jimmy Golen — Twitter http://twitter.com/jgolen



Chris Hoy was cheered by British fans some 270 kilometers (170 miles) away from the Olympic Velodrome in London as he went for cycling gold in the men's keirin race.

The race Tuesday was shown on the big screen at the Old Trafford in Manchester. Fans waiting for the men's soccer semifinal between Brazil and South Korea erupted in cheers when Hoy crossed the line first to set the British record with his sixth Olympic gold medal.

— Tales Azzoni — Twitter http://twitter.com/tazzoni



This was one tense crowd.

After seeing British cyclist Victoria Pendleton miss out on the gold in the women's sprint on the cycling track, the predominantly home crowd was on a bit of a downer. Then five time Olympic gold medalist Chris Hoy took his place for the men's Keirin final, and the tension built.

On the final lap, when German Maximilian Levy went into the lead, there was no spectator left sitting. When Hoy overtook and went first over the finish line, the crowd erupted and the noise was deafening. Flags were being waved everywhere as people jumped up and down.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb



"I hope I can make the weight limit on my luggage. These babies are heavy!" — Sarah Hammer of the U.S. after winning two silver medals in track cycling, one team and one individual.

— Sheila Norman-Culp — Twitter http://twitter.com/snormanculp



How did American Aly Raisman go from the outside looking in to the bronze medal on the balance beam?

Raisman was initially awarded a score of 14.966, which was good for fourth. But her coach is allowed to appeal one aspect of her score, so an inquiry was issued to challenge the degree of difficulty score.

After careful review, the judges decided to increase Raisman's difficulty score to give her a total of 15.066, which moved her into a tie with Romania's Catalina Ponor.

The tie-breaker is the judges' score on execution, and Raisman's was higher than Ponor's, pushing her to the bronze medal.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski



USA Gymnastics coach Martha Karolyi says she thinks all the attention heaped upon Gabby Douglas after her victory in the all-around contributed to her struggles on the balance beam and uneven bars.

"It was overwhelming," Karolyi said Tuesday after the 16-year-old Douglas stumbled on the beam. "She's a young girl. She wasn't put in the limelight before and it was too much, too quick."

Douglas also says the mental part of the competition was much more difficult than the physical side of things. She says her body feels great after the grueling training and competing, but she's looking forward to some time off to recharge.

"I just want to visit my dogs and go to the beach," she says.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski



If a barbell had emotions, how confused it would be after a weightlifting competition.

When the competitors walk in, they stare and shout at the bar, as if it were their worst enemy. When they complete a lift successfully, some kneel down to kiss the weights.

The super heavyweights seem particularly fond of this practice.

Frederic Fokejou Tefot of Cameroon, Hungary's Peter Nagy and Yauheni Zharnasek of Belarus were among the strongmen who planted their lips on the weights after successful lifts Tuesday.

— Karl Ritter - Twitter http://twitter.com/karl_ritter



Just saw Jamaica's Yohan Blake exit Olympic Stadium after the 200. He was wearing gloves and a woolen cap.

Essential summer wear for London.

— John Pye



Hey, George Michael fans: You gotta have faith.

The former Wham! star has confirmed he will be performing at the Olympics closer on Sunday. He tweeted Tuesday: "Spending most of the next week rehearsing like crazy for the Olympic closing ceremony."

Michael was hospitalized with life-threatening pneumonia late last year but has since recovered. He tweeted that he was "a bit nervous not having played for nearly a year," but said rehearsals were sounding great.

Roger Daltrey has confirmed that The Who will play the ceremony, billed as "a symphony of British music." No confirmation yet on the widely rumored Spice Girls reunion.

— Jill Lawless http://Twitter.com/JillLawless



It was a sports fan's nightmare: Leaving a pair of Olympics tickets on a crowded passenger train, then arriving at the venue to realize you're empty handed.

When they found out they had mislaid their tickets, mother and son rushed back to Liverpool Street station only to find the train had been cleaned and the tickets were still missing.

It could have been a real disaster without the help of a Greater Anglia cleaner, Gaspare Giarracco, who went back into the train station's trash cans and rummaged around until he found the precious tickets.

"I was determined to help the customer, find the tickets and make sure the story had a happy ending," said Giarracco, 42, who received a special 'Champions' award from his company.

— Raissa Ioussouf — Twitter http://twitter.com/Rioussouf



"We're definitely not losers. We're like superheroes. We do tricks that no one can do. I don't think it really looks easy, it's just that we make mistakes or have a bad day or it's not our time to shine. If it isn't, it isn't." — Gabby Douglas on not medaling on the balance beam.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski



What would Gleeks make of this?

The Olympics are trouncing "Glee" in the popularity stakes with American teenage girls.

The IOC says NBC's ratings for the London Olympics among girls aged 12-17 is 89 percent higher than the figures for "Glee" — which just happens to be on rival network Fox.

IOC marketing director Timo Lumme cited the "Glee" comparison several times at a news conference Tuesday to illustrate that younger viewers are watching in big numbers.

"The younger demographic has come back," he said. "Teenage girl viewership is up 54 percent."

All that was missing was for Lumme to break into a verse of "Don't Stop Believing."

— Stephen Wilson — Twitter http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap



As if falling in an Olympic final isn't hard enough to take, China's Chenglong Zhang had to relive it over and over while waiting for his score in the parallel bars at Greenwich Arena.

Zhang's left hand slipped early in his routine and he had to bail out and start over again. He got through it on the second try, but the damage had been done.

While the judges tabulated his score, replays of Zhang's mishap played twice on the scoreboard video screen and were dissected by the announcer.

Zhang tried to look away. When his score of 13.808 was announced, he just shook his head.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski



Usain Bolt is not giving up on attempts to bring his banned jump rope into Olympic Stadium.

Bolt uses the jump rope before he races. He complained after winning the 100-meter dash on Sunday about the strict stadium policies that also prevented him from bringing in his iPad.

"There are a lot of rules, oh my God," Bolt said. "You can't do anything. I was coming and wanted to bring my tablets in and they said I couldn't. I asked why. It is just a rule. I had my skipping rope in my bag and they said I can't bring it in. Why? It is just a rule."

After cruising through his first heat in the 200 meters on Tuesday, Bolt said he is still determined to get that jump rope in.

"They took it from me again," Bolt said. "But I'm going to get it in tomorrow. I am going to put them at the bottom of my bag or something."

Games organizer Sebastian Coe says there will be an investigation into the jump rope issue.