EYES ON LONDON: Bolt, Blake aim for world record

By The Associated Press Updated at 2012-08-09 05:44:50 +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:



Both jogged across the finish line.

Both know they've got more in the tank — maybe even a gold medal.

Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake both moved onto the finals of the 200 meters with easy runs Wednesday night. They'll go for the gold medal in Thursday's night final, and think the winner has a shot at breaking Bolt's world record of 19.19 seconds.

"Anything is possible," Blake said. "It's the 200 meters and we are both full speed. Anything can happen."

Bolt said the time off between heats — he ran once Tuesday, once Wednesday and now has until Thursday night to prepare for the final — gives him the rest he needs for a potential electric run.

"There's a possibility, definitely," he said of a new world record. "I can't say, but the track is fast. I know I'm feeling great."

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



Three years after Hurricane Katrina devastated her hometown, Brittney Reese hoped to give Gulfport, Miss., a medal in the Beijing Games.

She came up short, and was crushed.

"When I placed fifth, I was devastated and cried the whole way back to the (athletes) village," she said. "I had the whole Gulf Coast behind me ... I wanted to come out there and do that for them."

She delivered four years later with a long-awaited gold medal in the long jump. She repeatedly recalled the struggles her family had been through after Katrina, which produced rains that collapsed the roof on her home and displaced the family for several months.

"We had mold and we were living out of mobile homes and trailers," she said. "It was a tough time and unless you realize how blessed you are to have necessities — we didn't have hot water, and it was hot and we didn't have air conditioning. It was a real true eye-opener and my city is now rebuilt and we have most of the stuff back.

"But we don't have a lot of the homes back. This was a great way for me to bring something home to them to show that we can all do this together."

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



Sweet move by American runner Alysia Montano, wearing a flower in her hair during a heat of the 800 meters to honor her grandmother, who turned 100 on Wednesday.

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



The Americans had a huge haul at Olympic Stadium, collecting seven athletics medals on Wednesday night.

Medal winners were:

Allyson Felix (gold) and Carmelita Jeter (bronze) in 200 meters

Aries Merritt (gold) and Jason Richardson (silver) in 110 meter hurdles

Brittney Reece (gold) and Janay DeLoach (bronze) in long jump

Lashinda Demus (silver) in 400 meter hurdles.

Here's what some of them had to say about the big night:

Reece: "This means a lot to our country. We're on track for 30 medals. We're getting some unexpected medals."

Jeter: "The only thing that mattered to me was to get back on that podium, to get us some more medals because I believe China was beating us before we lined up tonight. I definitely wanted to make sure we got our medals up. We collected!"

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



Prince William's wife, the former Kate Middleton, was on hand for the women's field hockey semifinal between Argentina and Team GB on Wednesday.

Kate — now known formally as the Duchess of Cambridge— cheered on the home team despite its loss 2-1 to Argentina.

Sporting a white Team GB shirt under a navy blazer, Kate — who captained the field hockey team at her high school— joined the crowds in a round of applause as for the losing team as they left the field.

She had visited with the team prior to the Olympics, taking the field with Team GB players in a morale-boosting mission ahead of the London games.

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



A reporter said to Jason Richardson, the silver medalist in the men's 110-meter hurdles, that he looks "so much more Jamaican than the Jamaican on the stage. What's the secret?"

"I definitely do enjoy the Jamaican culture, but I'm 100 percent American," Richardson said after a hearty laugh. "I just grew the dreads the summer between sophomore and junior year in college. Just going with something different. Nothing crazy about it, just trying to carve my own little niche."

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



Carmelita Jeter didn't take any time to celebrate her bronze medal in the 200 meters Wednesday. About two hours after the race, the American and coach John Smith were back out on the track.

Wearing running tights and a sweatshirt, a baseball cap on her head, Jeter spent about 15 minutes doing some light running before she and Smith disappeared into the tunnel.

— Nancy Armour — http://twitter.com/nrarmour



"We're going to be wearing these medals when we're old ladies drinking coffee by the fire." — American beach volleyball player Jennifer Kessy, who along with April Ross won silver on Wednesday night.

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



A brief scare rippled through the mixed zone after the women's beach volleyball gold medal game when the floor gave way while Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor were chatting with reporters.

More than two dozen reporters were crowded around the two stars when the staged floor buckled. Several sections of the floor started to come apart on the media side of the zone, sending reporters scrambling for more stable footing.

No one was hurt, and the floor underneath May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings remained stable.

Officials ended the interviews and moved everyone to a press conference room where the questions and answers continued.

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



Winning a third straight gold medal in beach volleyball touched off a wild celebration for Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. The queens of beach hugged and laughed with each other before stepping to the top of the podium to collect their medals.

May-Treanor even got to do some dancing on the big stage after missing out on Dancing With the Stars because of a torn Achilles tendon. She busted out a funky "Running Man" dance all the way across the court as the crowd erupted.

The waterworks are flowing for both of them and the crowd is loving every minute of it.

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


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.