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:
WHAT WILL I WEAR?
If something doesn't happen fast, Spain's Pau Gasol will be looking a little casual when he carries his national flag at Friday's opening ceremony.
He still hasn't received his official team clothing. Perhaps it's a height issue? The Los Angeles Lakers star isn't the easiest person to dress given that he's 2.15 meters (7 foot) tall.
"Everything's up in the air," says Gasol.
—Jorge Sainz — Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sainz-Jorge
Carly Patterson is back at an Olympics for the first time since winning the gymnastics all-around title in Athens, and she's enjoying the trip down memory lane.
"Honestly, in my everyday life at home, I'm no one special. Just Carly, going about my everyday life, cleaning my house," says Patterson, who doesn't even have her gold medal in her own house. "So it feels really nice to actually be reminded of what I've done because I don't think about it a lot. And I am proud of it."
Patterson, the first U.S. woman since Mary Lou Retton to win the all-around title, is in London with P&G. She showed off another of her talents Friday, singing the national anthem at the opening ceremony for P&G's U.S. Family Home.
— Nancy Armour — Twitter http://twitter.com/nrarmour
TEST OF FIRE
U. S. rider Boyd Martin passed his first Olympic hurdle Friday as his horse Otis Barbotiere was accepted in the veterinary inspection that signaled the start of the equestrian eventing competition at Greenwich Park.
He faced a much more perilous trial in the spring of 2011 when his training barn west of Philadelphia caught fire in the middle of the night. Martin ran into the flaming barn and saved several horses, including Otis Barbotiere — but seven other horses perished.
—Margaret Freeman — Twitter http://twitter.com/MFequestrian
There's only one thing that people here in the Olympic Park talk about when they have the chance on Friday — and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Yes, even the most seasoned of hacks are taking part in the guessing game about the Olympic ceremony. Who will light the flame, and just how British can it really get?
Will Mary Poppins really be there? What about Harry Potter? And how will James Bond make his appearance? Is it possible to work a Briton's favourite (yes, FAVOURITE) canned food — baked beans — into an opening ceremony?
In just a couple of hours we'll all know. Luckily there is a bit of sport coming up for everyone to talk about next.
—Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb
AFTER THE RIOTS, A REWARD
He was the online organizer who urged Londoners to grab their brooms and take to the streets after the August 2011 riots that saw stores looted and cars torched in the capital's worst unrest in decades.
Now activist Dan Thompson is among 17 people who were handed free tickets for Friday's Olympic opening ceremony by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Thompson used social networks to mobilize volunteers to sweep up debris in communities across London after nights of violent disorder.
Cameron has also offered tickets to youth workers and graduates of Britain's National Citizen Service, a program which sees young people carry out community work.
—David Stringer - Twitter http://twitter.com/david_stringer
Dozens of people have been turned away from the archery event in central London — victims, it seems, of hoax tickets.
Others arrived at Lord's Cricket Ground because of a misunderstanding. They thought the event — billed as "unticketed" — meant you could just turn up on the day.
Many vented their anger at volunteers but were told that their tickets — presumably purchased from unofficial sites — weren't valid because Friday's preliminary rounds weren't even open to the public.
Meanwhile, inside, South Korea's team scored a world record with 2,087 points to take first place.
—Jon Krawczynski — Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/APkrawczynski.
It has become a symbol of the Olympics: a runner carrying a flaming torch on the final leg of a journey that began in Greece, then dramatically lighting a cauldron to symbolize the beginning of the most heralded event of international sports.
The torch relay has been dressed up in the pageantry of ancient Greek mythology. But the event has a darker origin.
Historians believe the ancient Greeks used a fire ritual in their games — but no torch relay. That idea is actually the legacy of the Nazis, who conceived the event for the 1936 Berlin Olympics to glorify Adolf Hitler's regime.
Credit for the idea goes to Carl Diem, chief organizer of the 1936 Games. Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels seized on the idea to link the Nazis to the glory of ancient Greece. All the resources of the Nazi state were organized to make it happen.
Runners were chosen so their physical appearance matched the Nazi idea of the "Aryan Master Race." Radio broadcasts along the route from Greece to Berlin fueled public enthusiasm.
At the next Summer Games in 1948, British organizers chose to continue the relay despite its Nazi origins, advertising the event as a "relay of peace." The first runner symbolically removed his army uniform before grabbing the torch.
—Robert H. Reid — Twitter http://twitter.com/rhreid
The USA men's basketball team was delayed a few minutes before taking the stage for a news conference this afternoon, but for good reason.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Lebron James were slightly lost in the halls of the Olympics Main Press Center as they were supposed to be appearing before hundreds of journalists.
"Where's the bathroom?" Krzyzewski asked.
Once resolved, he and James joined the rest of the coaches and players who are part of one of the biggest star-wattage attractions at the games.
—Lou Ferrara — Twitter http://twitter.com/louferrara
BIG STAR, BIG FAN
Two-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings is one of the biggest stars in beach volleyball, and her success in the sand hasn't done much to take the fan out of her.
When it comes to other big names at the games, Walsh Jennings reacts just like anyone else who meets a sporting hero face to face.
She has run into swimmer Michael Phelps and NBA players Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf since arriving in London on Monday.
"I still feel like a giddy little girl," Walsh Jennings says. "The first couple of days are kind of like the first days of high school."
—Jimmy Golen — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/jgolen
Any big-time baseball fan will be awash in familiarity when visiting Lord's Cricket Ground.
Lord's is home to the archery competition, and the event kicked off on Friday morning.
Lord's is an historic place, the cricket equivalent to Wrigley Field — and the similarities are striking. Nestled in a neighborhood of London that has apartments just across the street (rooftop pint, anyone?), Lord's features brick archways, perfectly manicured lawns and an intimate atmosphere with seats right on top of the action.
—Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APkrawczynski
Horses and riders are floating on air — but not just because they're excited about the start of equestrian events Saturday.
The main equestrian arena, spectator walkways, exercise track and stables have all been built on platforms to protect the hallowed grass grounds of Greenwich Park, London's oldest royal park.
"It's amazing the lengths they've gone to to protect the grounds," says Linda Zang, dressage coach for the U.S. eventing team, whose five horses easily passed a pre-competition fitness test Friday.
Of the three elements that go into eventing — dressage, jumping and cross country — only the cross country will be run on solid ground.
—Nicole Winfield — Twitter http://twitter.com/nwinfield
WHICH FLAG, NOW
Diplomatic dispute? That means customers to be had.
One cheeky optician known for its humor is running a full page ad in a British newspaper that cashes in on the recent Korean flag mix-up at the women's soccer game between North Korea and Colombia.
The ad appears Friday in the pull-out Olympics section of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper. It features both the North Korean and South Korean flags side-by-side. Underneath is Korean writing which, when translated, roughly matches the optician's famous advertising catch phrase: "Should have gone to Specsavers."
The South Korean flag was mistakenly displayed on the giant screen before the match in Glasgow, Scotland, on Wednesday night. The North Korean team refused to take the field for about an hour before the game started. London organizers have since apologized for the mix-up.
North Korea's IOC member, Chang Ung, has now proposed that Olympic protocol officials meet with team leaders before every medal ceremony to check that the correct flags and national anthems are used.
—Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb
NOT SO HOT DOG
Tennis players call it the "hot dog" — the flashy, between-the-legs, back-to-the-opponent shot when chasing down a lob into the backcourt.
On Friday, No 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark tried the difficult maneuver twice during a practice session with No. 10 seed Li Na of China, ahead of the Olympic event at Wimbledon. Both times, she failed to swing her racket under the ball, and it trickled into the grass on her side of the net.
"I want to do it so much but I can't," Wozniacki said with a laugh to Li. Then the Chinese player tried it when Wozniacki lobbed her, and she too failed.
Players usually stick to the conventional in training, and try the "hot dog" for fun. Once in a while, though, the crowd-pleasing shot comes in handy in a match.
In 2009, Roger Federer set up a matchpoint with a "hot dog" in a three-set win over Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the U.S. Open.
WHAT'S THE FORECAST?
Those in London for the Games will be getting a more authentic British weather experience today as rainy spells hit the capital.
Thursday was the hottest day of the year in Britain — temperatures reached 31.4 Celsius 89 Fahrenheit) at the Olympic Park — but Friday started off much cooler indeed.
The good news? Forecasters say that any rain should have cleared by early evening with the British Met Office predicting just a 10 percent chance of a downpour at the opening ceremony. The event begins at 8.12 p.m. (3:12 p.m. EDT) so if things play out as expected the 60,000 spectators in the Olympic Stadium should stay dry.
Whatever happens with the weather, you can bet the Brits will be talking about it.
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