EYES ON LONDON: More gold for an emotional Phelps

Associated Press
United States' Michael Phelps, right, and his teammate Ryan Lochte climb out of the pool after their gold and silver medal finishes in the men's 200-meter individual medley swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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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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QUIVERING LIP

Winning gold doesn't get old.

With his lip quivering slightly, Michael Phelps looked liked he was really appreciating the moment Thursday night as the U.S. anthem played to celebrate his first individual gold of the London games, in the 200-meter individual medley.

With this, Phelps becomes the first man to win the same indvidual event in three straight Olympics. That makes for 20 overall Olympic medals in his career, 16 of them gold.

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

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QUICKQUOTE: RISING STAR

"I don't ever recall anybody this quickly rising from an average good gymnast to a fantastic one." — U.S. women's national team coordinator Martha Karolyi on gold medalist Gabby Douglas' rapid ascent to the top of the sport.

Douglas won Olympic gold in the women's all-around on Thursday.

— Mark Long — Twitter http://twitter.com/apmarklong

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NO HAPPY FACE

Russian gymnasts Victoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina both said they were pleased with their silver and bronze medals after the women's all-around competition.

Yet their body language said the exact opposite.

Komova broke into tears when the final scores were posted and shoved her silver medal in her left pocket after the ceremony.

When asked why, she rolled her eyes, and Mustafina said something to her in Russian. Komova said something brief and a translator replied the medal was in her pocket because "it is heavy."

So why the long face?

"I'm still upset because I could have been gold and I didn't get it," Komova said through a translator.

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

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CHINESE RESTRAINT

China has two gold medals in two days in Olympic table tennis — and two silver medals to boot.

In other sports — and in other nations — that would call for chest-bumping, high-fiving and raucous celebrations. At least, a few smiles.

None of that from Zhang Jike, who defeated teammate Wang Hao in Thursday's men's singles final. Zhang's lone hint of happiness, celebrating his first Olympic gold medal, lasted about as long as a good pingpong rally.

Table tennis apparently is seen in China as the ultimate team game. Beating a friend and teammate calls for restraint and respect.

After the winning point to take the match 4-1, Zhang leaped over a barrier surrounding the playing area, raced to the medal podium and kneeled down and kissed the top platform designated for the gold medalist.

That was the beginning and the end of it.

— Stephen Wade — Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

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GET YOUR OLIVES HERE!

Forget peanuts and Cracker Jack. There's an entirely different sort of treat for sale at kiosks outside the Olympic Stadium: olives.

That's right: Only steps from the arena, gourmet olives of all sorts — large, pitted green ones stuffed with hot red peppers or black ones marinated with herbs, etc., etc. — can be scooped out of bowls and into clear plastic containers with lids.

There are two sizes of takeaway container available, including a small one for 2.50 pounds (about $3.85).

Who says stadium chow is the pits?

See an olive stand here: http://yfrog.com/nx1lxhhj

— Howard Fendrich — Twitter http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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FIT TO TIE

Aly Raisman could have used an extra point — or half point or even quarter point.

The American gymnast fell just short of a medal in the women's all-around competition Thursday, losing a tiebreaker to Russian Aliya Mustafina.

Both scored 59.666 after four events, and the Olympic tiebreaker rules called for the lowest score in four events to be thrown out to see who had the highest three-event total. Mustafina edged Raisman for bronze.

U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi said she expects the sanctioning body to change the rules in the future.

"You should award a medal for both gymnasts," she said. "But rules are rules. I'm suspecting they will be taking away the tie-break for the next (Olympic cycle)."

How would that happen?

Karolyi said there has been talk about awarding quarter points, which would make ties less likely.

— Mark Long http://www.twitter.com/apmarklong

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PUSH IT NOW

There was something off about Gabby Douglas when she arrived at the London Games. Her coach, Liang Chow, knew she was physically hurting. Team coordinator Martha Karolyi thought Douglas' focus was lacking. Karolyi knew something had to change.

"Chow and I had a big meeting and we had to address it," Karolyi says. "She turned it around and we worked and worked and made it better. ... There are key moments when you have to do something. That was a key moment."

What did Chow tell Douglas to turn her around? "Chow told me 'Everyone has pain so just go out there and why are you focused on that? You are at the Olympics so put that behind you and if you don't push it now then you don't have a chance."

She adds: "So we had this little bit of a talk and it definitely hyped me up."

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

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SOCIAL MEDIA GOLD

My iPhone was vibrating nonstop. Facebook notifications poured in. My Twitter account lit up.

I, Peter Wilson, had won an Olympic gold medal.

Or, so it seemed.

It turns out that a British Olympic shooter — also named Peter Wilson — had won the double trap event.

Unsurprisingly, social networks exploded with posts after Peter R.R. Wilson (coincidentally my middle name also begins with an 'R') won Britain's fourth gold of the games.

Having your name as the top trend on Twitter is slightly surreal. After sarcastically tweeting that I had won a gold medal, someone asked me: "Wait? for what?"

Most people caught onto the joke — I am actually an AP sports intern — but I thoroughly enjoyed my 30 minutes of Twitter and Facebook fame.

—Peter Wilson, Twitter http://www.twitter.com/peterrwilson

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ALL YOU DO IS SWIM?

Watch U.S. water polo player Tony Azevedo for two minutes. You'll see him backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke, all while trying to catch a ball with a British defender draped all over him.

Makes what Michael Phelps does in the pool seem rather ordinary.

The polo players have their own building at the London Games, right next door to their more celebrated counterparts.

The atmosphere in the arena is fantastic, with a packed house trading chants of "GB!" and "USA!" Azevedo had a hat trick before anyone else scored, but GB is making a game of it, 10-5 in the third quarter.

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

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QUICKQUOTE: BARRIER BREAKER

"I kind of forgot about that. Man, that's awesome, that's definitely an amazing feeling. I forgot about that" — Gabby Douglas on becoming the first black gymnast to win the gold medal in women's all-around.

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

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RACE AND THE RACE

It was an Olympic scene like so many other celebrations by medal winners: fist-pumping, broad smiles, embraces. Except this team was from South Africa, and its members were both white and black.

The images of John Smith, a white rower, throwing his arms around black teammate Sizwe Ndlovu after their four-man crew won the gold Thursday in men's lightweight four rowing shows how far this country — once banned from the Olympics because of its apartheid government — has come.

After the South Africans edged a British crew by 0.25 seconds, Ndlovu leaped into the arms of each of his crew.

Back home, national pride is superseding lingering racial divisions as South Africans cheer on their Olympic athletes and their (so far) three gold medals. One black woman in Johannesburg describes watching on TV as white South African Chad le Clos challenged Michael Phelps in the 200-meter butterfly and beat the American champion by five-hundredths of a second for the gold medal.

"I stood up from my chair and I was shouting, 'Go! Go!," Mary Jane Maharana says.

Eighteen years after white rule collapsed in South Africa, racial tensions still exist. Unemployment is high and the economy is controlled mostly by whites. Nelson Mandela's efforts to unify South Africa under its Springboks rugby team during the 1995 World Cup notwithstanding, whites generally follow rugby and blacks tend to prefer soccer.

But these days, the Olympics are helping South Africans root together.

— Andrew O. Selsky in Johannesburg — Twitter http://twitter.com/andrewselsky

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STADIUM TOUR

The U.S. women's soccer team got to stand around in awe for a third time at these Olympics.

The Americans were given a walkthrough Thursday of their next venue — St. James' Park, home of Newcastle United, where they will play New Zealand on Friday.

The players stood on the field for about 15 minutes, as they had done before at Old Trafford in Manchester and Hampden Park in Glasgow. Dozens of photos were taken, hugs were exchanged and some players did handstands.

One thing was different: Forward Abby Wambach wore extremely reflective sunglasses, so several players gathered around her, trying to take a photo of the stadium's enormous Olympic rings reflecting off her cool shades.

— Joseph White — Twitter: http://twitter.com/jgwhiteap

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MOM KNOWS BEST

Count on a mom to know what's really up with her athlete offspring.

The mother of three-time Olympic diver Alexandre Despatie says his accident on the 3-meter springboard in Madrid in June was "way more serious than people know."

Despatie, a two-time silver medalist, lost his balance on takeoff and hit his head on the board in mid-June. His mom, Christiane, says her son needed at least 60 stitches to close an ear-to-ear gash on his scalp.

"It's back to normal," she says.

The Canadian didn't resume training until two weeks ago and was previously sidelined for nine months by a knee injury.

"He was probably the only one believing that he would make it," Christiane Despatie said while visiting the P&G House for mothers of Olympic athletes in London.

Despatie and partner Reuben Ross finished sixth on 3-meter synchro springboard at the London Olympics.

— Beth Harris — Twitter http://twitter.com/bethharrisap

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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.

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