EYES ON LONDON: Sculls, handball and a night shift

Associated Press
Muhamad Hasabi of Indonesia competes during the mens 62-kg weightlifting competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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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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NOT SO OAR-SOME

New Zealand's hopes of qualifying for the final of the women's quadruple sculls at the Olympic rowing regatta were dashed when the oar of one of its crew broke with around 400 meters remaining in the repechage race.

The Kiwis were third at the time — with four boats going through — when Fiona Bourke was left stranded on Dorney Lake. They finished last, 30 seconds behind winner Australia.

Bourke looked distraught as her boat crawled past the finishing line.

New Zealand was bronze medalist at last year's world championship.

— Steve Douglas — Twitter http://twitter.com/sdouglas80

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'WITH HANDBALL WE FIGHT'

"We have no army in Iceland, so it's with handball we fight for the recognition." — Gudmundur Gudmundsson, the coach of Iceland's handball team, after Iceland beat Argentina 31-25 in the Olympic opener on Sunday.

— Barbara Surk — Twitter http://twitter.com/BarbaraSurkAP

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DJOKOVIC AWAITS

Andy Roddick's tennis match against Slovakia's Martin Klizan was postponed due to rain on Sunday. It may just be prolonging the inevitable.

Roddick and Klizan are scheduled to play on Monday, with the winner getting a date against Novak Djokovic in the next round. Djokovic overcame a 3½-hour rain delay on Sunday to defeat Fabio Fognini of Italy.

It was the Serbian's first match since falling to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals.

The Olympics are played at Wimbledon as well, which keeps the players away from the hustle and bustle of the athletes' village in London.

"It's really an honor and a privilege to be part of the Olympic Games," Djokovic says, "although we would wish to be part of the Olympic Village and feel that atmosphere beside the best athletes in the world."

— Steven Wine — Twitter http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine

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PROUD PAPA

Frankie Fredericks has served as chairman of the athlete's commission leading up to the London games. The man who ended Michael Johnson's 21-race winning streak in the 200 meters with a win at the Bislett Games in Norway in 1996 is preparing to give way to German fencer Claudia Bokel.

"It's been a very emotional journey for me," Fredericks says. "I've seen this baby grow over the last seven years and to see what we have today is special."

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

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NIGHT SHIFT

Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor are having to work the night shift in pursuit of a third gold medal. The reigning Olympic champions in beach volleyball hit the sand at Horse Guards Parade at 11 p.m. Monday night to face the Czech team of Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova.

It's the second straight match to open the Olympics that Walsh and Treanor have played at 11 p.m. It's forced an adjustment in the body clock for Walsh Jennings, who is used to getting up at the crack of dawn with her two children.

"I was worried," Walsh Jennings said after winning her opener against Australia. "At home, it hits 11 and I'm a zombie. But we could play at 4 in the morning, we don't care."

— Janie McCauley — Twitter http://twitter.com/janiemccAP

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ONE MORE ON COMMUTE

There were few signs of commuting trouble early Monday in Olympic-saturated London, with rail lines operating properly and some highways having lighter traffic than expected. There were some tie-ups, but those are expected on a Monday rush hour. People attending Olympic events mingled easily with commuters on the Overground line to Stratford, though seats filled up more quickly than usual.

— Gregory Katz — Twitter http://twitter.com/Gregory_P_Katz

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SPRINT, NOT MARATHON

It was more Usain Bolt then Haile Gebrselassie.

Predicted commuting chaos as London attempted to juggle a regular business day and the strain of hosting the Olympics didn't materialize early Monday morning — at least not along the capital's cycle lanes.

A regular ride from north London to the Houses of Parliament — a small spike from the Olympic beach volleyball courts — took a zippy 20 minutes, almost 5 minutes less than during a usual Monday morning.

While a major route that links London to the country's M1 highway had typically thick traffic, many other roads appeared far quieter, with schools closed for summer holidays and many businesses advising staff to work from home.

Along a cycle path in Hyde Park, bicycle commuters negotiated new obstacles — barriers and bright pink banners put in place for Olympic visitors, but raced along several roads in central London which have been temporarily cleared of car traffic.

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

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OLYMPIC COMMUTE

London's transport officials are warning commuters to brace for potential delays on roads and the subway on the first working day of the Olympics.

London's commuters could face an Olympic task of their own Monday.

They'll be competing with spectators and tourists to get around town during rush-hour.

Sporting events will take place in venues across London, from the Olympic Park in the east to Wimbledon and Wembley Stadium in the west.

Transport for London, which runs the capital's public transport network, warned commuters to avoid multiple key subway lines and urged them to leave extra time for their journeys.

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FLASHBACK: LONDON 1908

The first Olympic Games held in London, in 1908, was noted for partisanship and acrimony, starting at the opening ceremony. A stadium was decorated with flags of the participating nations, but the United States flag was missing. "The pat British explanation was that they could not find one," according to "Pursuit of Excellence, The Olympic Story." The U.S. delegation was well supplied with flags, however, and during a parade of athletes the Americans refused to dip their flag as they marched past King Edward VII, starting a U.S. tradition. American discus thrower Martin Sheridan said: "this flag dips to no earthly king."

— Source: "Pursuit of Excellence, The Olympic Story" by The Associated Press and Grolier

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SPOILER ALERTS

Score one for the online critics.

NBC's executive producer of the games, Jim Bell, answered one tweeter who described herself as a St. Louis mom and complained about NBC's "Nightly News" on Saturday airing results of events that hadn't been shown on the network yet. Bell tweeted that he'd look into it, and shortly after told her that "Nightly News" would announce a "spoiler alert" to tell people to avert their eyes if they didn't want to see results.

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

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CHASING THE ELUSIVE GOLD

The U.S. men's gymnastics team is looking to win its first team gold since 1984 when it hits the mat Monday morning.

Danell Leyva will anchor the Americans in the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. local time.

Leyva will compete in four of the six events and serve as the last man up for the U.S. on the high bar, the team's final event.

The U.S. topped qualifying Saturday, but scores are reset in the finals.

National champion John Orozco will do everything but the floor exercise for the U.S., while Sam Mikulak will compete on the floor, still rings, pommel horse and parallel bars.

Jake Dalton will perform on the rings, vault and floor, with two-time Olympic medalist Jonathan Horton working on the rings and high bar.

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SIMPLY MAGICAL

"It's magical, simply magical," said rising swim star Yannick Agnel, after surpassing the U.S. team to win a gold medal for France in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay. "We didn't have too much pressure. We did what we know how to do. Now, Olympic champions. It's brilliant."

— Paul Newberry — Twitter http://twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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NBC'S TWITTER RETORT

NBC's executive producer of the games, Jim Bell, has taken to Twitter to answer critics.

James Poniewozik, Time magazine TV critic, tweeted that "NBC tape delay coverage is like the airlines: its interest is in giving you the least satisfactory service you will still come back for."

That drew a quick response from NBC's Bell: "You do know that all sports events are being streamed live right?"

"I do, indeed!" replied Poniewozik. "Have enjoyed it. Apparently a lot of folks still prefer watching it on TV."

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

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GAME FACE

The expression on this horse's face is priceless.

The horse's name is Sofarsogood, ridden by Malin Petersen of Sweden. AP photographer David Goldman captured this image Sunday as they exited the ring after competing in the equestrian eventing dressage phase. In dressage, horse and rider walk, trot and canter to a standard test without jumps that are designed to test the animal's obedience.

See the image here: http://apne.ws/MNJwHF

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MISSING KEYS

London police lost a set of keys last week to Wembley Stadium, an Olympic soccer venue in west London, Scotland Yard said. But officials say security wasn't compromised.

Although the keys haven't been found, there was no evidence of criminal offenses, the force said. They believe police probably misplaced the keys.

Organizers of the London Olympics stressed that relevant locks have been changed and there was no security breach. Police declined to provide more details about what the keys were for.

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FLASHBACK: LONDON 1948

The 2012 games may be known as the first iPhone games, but the last time the Olympics were held in London also marked a technological milestone. In the 1948 London games, more than half a million Brits watched the events on the 80,000 television receivers then in operation, the first time that medium had been part of the reporting of the games. Most coverage in North America was still through radio and newspaper, as there were no comparable television networks.

-Source: "Pursuit of Excellence, The Olympic Story" by The Associated Press and Grolier

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THREE CHEERS FOR CHEERING

There's cheering and then, well, there's cheering.

A female fan of the Venezuelan boxing team isn't shy about urging her fighters on in the ring. From her balcony seat she shouts words of encouragement in Spanish in a loud, singsong voice that pierces through the arena.

On Sunday the crowd watching Gabriel Maestre Perez of Venezuela defeat Iran's Amin Ghasemi Pour enjoyed her more than the bout. They cheered her when she yelled, then started responding with a collective cheer every time she shouted.

When Maestre Perez won, many of the fans turned and clapped for her instead of him. She was finally silent at the moment, doing just the sign of the cross in relief.

— Tim Dahlberg — Twitter http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

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LOUD PANTS

Did you see those argyle pants Norway's curling team wore for the winter Olympics and think, "I wish they made something like that for the beach?"

Neither did I.

But American beach volleyball players Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser did.

The defending gold medalists took to the sand for the first time on Sunday night wearing a funky red, white and blue boardshort designed by Loudmouth, the same company that made the much-discussed pants the Norwegian curlers wore in the Vancouver Games. They narrowed it down from eight choices to three they'll wear in London.

Rogers told the AP's Janie McCauley this spring that he doesn't care what the clothes look like as long as they fit well so they don't distract him while he's playing.

"I don't think anyone's ever worn anything like this at the Summer Games," he said after beating Japan in their opener on Sunday night. "It's different. It's fun. Beach volleyball is a fun game, so I think they go hand in hand."

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THE DAY'S ACTION

So, two more swimming world records were broken on Sunday and Spain's highly favored football team tumbled out of medal contention after losing to Honduras.

American Dana Vollmer won the 100 butterfly in a world record and was followed by Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa, who set a world mark to win the 100-meter breaststroke.

The biggest surprise of the day came from France's 4x100-meter freestyle relay team, which upset the favored United States and Australia.

— Mike Corder — Twitter http://twitter.com/mikecorder

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FOREBODING SKIES

It's a personal battle against the elements that evokes the drama of the high seas. But this is an Olympics K1 canoe slalom event in a man-made environment in east London.

In a single frame, AP photographer Kirsty Wigglesworth has captured a man's bid for glory under foreboding skies.

Here's a link to the picture which is also in the attached photo gallery: http://bit.ly/PdHKKl

—James Collins — Twitter http://twitter.com/jimcollinsAP

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GATES HERE

AP's Steve Wade saw Bill Gates as he slipped into the table tennis venue to watch Ariel Hsing. "I'm wishing her good luck but she has a really great opponent," said Gates. "She's done very well to get this far."

He asked if Gates had ever won a point off Hsing. "Not legitimately. She beat me when she was 9, easily. She has been nice to me in social situations."

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

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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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