EYES ON LONDON: Beach volleyball takes the stage

Associated Press
In a photo taken with a fisheye lens fireworks explode over the stadium at the end of the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, Saturday, July 28, 2012. (AP Photo/ Ezra Shaw, Pool)
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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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Beach volleyball in the heart of central London will highlight Olympic competition Saturday, along with the first swimming medals. American rivals Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will face off in the 400-meter individual medley.

Two-time U.S. defending gold medalist pair Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor will be the feature match in the beach volleyball grandstand.

"It's amazing. Just this area in itself is so special," Walsh Jennings said. "You have the Horse Guards right there and the changing of the guard and you get to see this and all the historic culture. Really, really cool. I've been picturing this for so long, and to see it in person and have it come alive is awesome."

— Janie McCauley

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NBC's Bob Costas noted a controversy over honoring Israeli athletes killed at the Olympics 40 years ago, but stopped short of offering his own protest.

As the athletes marched in the opening ceremony, Costas said that IOC President Jacques Rogge led a moment of silence for the late Israelis this week at the Athlete's Village. About 100 people were present.

"Still, for many, tonight with the world watching is the true time and place to remember those who were lost and how and why they died," Costas said.

After a five-second pause, NBC cut to a commercial.

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

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FLASHBACK — BERLIN 1936: "Reichsfuehrer Adolf Hitler, attired in a brown uniform and smiling genially, formally launched the Eleventh Olympiad today amid ceremonies dazzlingly brilliant despite dripping skies marked by vividly contrasting demonstrations obviously fraught with political as well as sporting significance. ... The big United States delegation, surpassed in size only by the Germans who formed the procession as rear guard, was accorded a doubtful reception. Changing plans suddenly overnight to avoid the appearance of giving only a modified Nazi salute under the original intentions to extend arms with hats in hand, the Americans reverted to the former custom of doffing their hats and placing them over the heart while giving 'eyes right.'"

— The Associated Press, Aug. 1, 1936

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Queen Elizabeth II made her acting debut as a Bond girl in just one take. The 86-year-old monarch appeared as herself in a short film for the London Olympics opening ceremony with James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

In the film, Craig arrived at her private study in Buckingham Palace, where she said "Good evening, Mr. Bond" before the pair boarded a helicopter.

BBC's director of Drama Production, Nicholas Brown, told The Telegraph newspaper that the queen gave a professional performance and "got it in one take."

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FLASHBACK - LONDON 1908: "Lord Desbrough marched up with the members of the Executive Committee and said: 'Will Your Majesty graciously declare the Olympic games opened?' In reply the King said: 'I declare the Olympic games of London open.' At the completion of this ceremony cheering broke out from all parts of the stadium. After the demonstration had died down, the athletes gave three cheers for His Majesty, and then marched past the royal box. The men made a splendid appearance, though unfortunately the weather prevented all the competitors from coming out in athletic costumes. The Americans were among those who wore street clothing, but even thus attired the size of the men evoked much favorable comment."

— The Associated Press, July 14, 1908.

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NBC took some heat for not streaming the Olympics opening ceremony online, instead holding it for the network's telecast.

NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said it was never the intention to stream the ceremony. He said it was a complex entertainment spectacle that does not translate well online because it requires context.

The network also didn't stream the Beijing ceremony in 2008. That drew a heavy buzz and was watched by nearly 35 million people that night.

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

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POST-CEREMONY SNAGS

The backup begins. It's smooth sailing for buses taking games lanes out of London's Olympic Park, but other lanes north of the park into the center city are already not moving.

Pretty night in London, though. Perfect temps, no rain.

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

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THAT'S A WRAP

Thousands of spectators, athletes and officials are pouring out of Olympic Stadium and onto the plaza.

They have spent casings from the spectacular fireworks display crunching under their feet and "Hey Jude" humming on their lips.

Everyone will sleep well after a night they'll never forget.

The Orbit observation deck still glows red. This is just the beginning, after all.

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

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BACK AT THE BAR

As Paul McCartney sang "Hey Jude" at the end of the opening ceremony, an entire bar broke out in song with him. Locals waved the British flag as they swayed and sang "Na-Na-Na" along with McCartney.

Outside, the streets remained quiet and seemingly shuttered as a city sat glued to their television sets. Get a glimpse here: http://pic.twitter.com/2HUEpGWQ

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

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SINGALONG

The party spirit is evident all over the host city, miles from the stadium. In the Camden section of north London, people can be heard singing along ("Na, na na na ...") and whooping loudly to Paul McCartney's rendition of "Hey, Jude."

— Sylvia Hui — Twitter http://twitter.com/sylviahui

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FLAME ON

The Olympic flame in London is alight, with the fire ignited by seven up-and-coming British athletes running in formation in dark track suits.

As flashbulbs winked on and off across the stadium, the torch was brought in, its flame cutting through the darkness. In a symbolic act, the torch lit six other torches, and all seven young athletes approached the cauldron together to ignite it.

Just before it was the last leg of the torch's journey — the ultimate British torch relay: David Beckham to Sir Steve Redgrave, one of our most famous and admired Olympians. Nobody could say this lacked the star appeal that Britons craved.

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

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BECKHAM IN A BOAT

David Beckham on his way on the Thames, bringing the torch to the stadium, transported in a rigid inflatable boat. The river is this city's heart, the pulsating beat that transformed Britain from an island nation to a world power.

— Danica Kirka — http://twitter.com/danicakirka

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MUHAMMAD ALI

The man who famously floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee could barely move as he appeared during the late moments of the Olympics opening ceremony. Muhammad Ali stood, tentatively, and took in applause as his wife, Lonnie, supported him. She appeared to say "Wave, Muhammad, wave," as the cheers for him rose.

— Ted Anthony — Twitter http://twitter.com/anthonyted

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QUEEN: OLYMPICS BEGIN

"I declare open the games of London." — Queen Elizabeth II

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

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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

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