EYES ON LONDON: Sharp wit, fake mustaches, no WiFi

Associated Press
Hwang Woojin, of South Korea, and his horse Shearwater Oscar, fall down after the horse bucked after the starting bell sounded to start their run in the equestrian show jumping stage of the men's modern pentathlon at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in London.(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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Hwang Woojin, of South Korea, and his horse Shearwater Oscar, fall down after the horse bucked after …

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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QUICK WIT

Patrick Sandusky serves as the primary spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, meaning his job is to know exactly what to say.

It's a skill he put on display Saturday.

At a USOC news conference, a British journalist wanted to know why Americans feel comfortable calling their country the greatest in the world. He phrased the question like so:

"For people from here, it's a bit of a strange thing to say. We don't really talk about our countries in the way you guys do. So do you genuinely think the USA is the best country in the world?"

Sandusky immediately sprung into action, asking U.S. chef de mission Teresa Edwards to answer the question.

"Teresa, you can start answering the question from the gentleman who comes from the country with the word 'Great' in the front of the title, Great Britain," Sandusky said to much laughter.

— Tim Reynolds — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

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SECOND SOCCER LANGUAGE

"Felicitaciones Mexico!" volunteer Dave Clements barked into a megaphone over and over outside Wembley Stadium in a decidedly London accent. Asked whether he speaks Spanish, the 43-year-old said no, but he did his homework. "I figured it out," he said.

— Niko Price — Twitter http://twitter.com/nikoprice

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WHAT, NO WiFi?

Soon after leading Japan to a bronze medal in the women's volleyball competition on Saturday, coach Masayoshi Manabe called the London Games "the toughest environment I've had to coach in."

Not because of opponents South Korea but because the Earls Court venue didn't provide the data-crunching coach with the WiFi network he needed to analyze real time data of his opponents.

Manabe called the omission of an internet connection on court a "huge surprise" that the competing teams had asked organizers to rectify early in the competition, to no avail.

Bob Clarke, the volleyball manager for London organizers, says "we went to the IOC, all the way to the top, with the request but we were denied. We don't know why."

Teams improvised instead, with both Japan and the United States relaying data to their coaches through walkie-talkies and earpieces.

"We got the information we needed, with a delay," Manabe said.

— Paul Logothetis — Twitter http://twitter.com/PaulLogoAP

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QUICKQUOTE: BRAZIL

"We had 89-plus minutes to turn it around and we didn't. All of us lost, not one of us." — Brazil coach Mano Menezes on defender Rafael's mistake that led to a goal 29 seconds into the match.

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

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CHEERING A TIBETAN

Tibetan exiles are out to support what is believed to be the first Tibetan athlete to compete in the Olympics. The Chinese are supporting her, too.

That's because Qieyang Shenjie was born in Qinghai, a province of China that is also on the Tibetan plateau and part of the region that Tibetan exiles consider to be Tibet.

For Tibetans, it's essentially the first time they've had a sports figure to cheer for at an internatinal event, even though she represents the country they regard as their occupier.

On Constitution Hill, next to Queen Elizabeth II's gardens behind Buckinham Palace, they have hung a banner using her Tibetan name: "You go, girl, Choeyang Kyi! The first ever Tibetan Olympian!!! We Tibetans are with you."

Tibetan fans say they're torn between their pride for her as a Tibetan and their discomfort that she's running in Chinese colors.

"I have really, really mixed feelings about today. I'm cheering her because she is Tibetan," says Dhundup, who like many Tibetans uses only one name. He was born in Tibet but fled when he was a boy.

China invaded Tibet in 1959 amid an aborted uprising, and the Tibetan spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama, fled with thousands of his followers across the Himalayas and into India, creating an exile community that now numbers 150,000 people around the world.

— John Leicester — Twitter http://twitter.com/johnleicester

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SOUTH KOREA BAN

South Korea has been told to bar a football player from collecting his bronze medal on Saturday.

Midfielder Jongwoo Park carried his national flag with a slogan supporting South Korean sovereignty of islets at the center of a territorial dispute with Japan during the third-place match against Japan on Friday.

The incident came just hours after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak raised diplomatic tensions by traveling to the islets.

In a statement, the International Olympic Committee requested the South Koreans take "swift action on this issue" and that "the athlete not be present" at Saturday's ceremony. They also said they had asked for an explanation.

Spokesmen for the South Korea Olympic body could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Olympic Charter prohibits political statements by athletes and players.

— Graham Dunbar — Twitter — http://twitter.com/gdunbarap

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GUERILLA GOLD

The Royal Mail has a message for overexuberant Olympics fans: Leave the spray can at home.

The postal service has been painting traditional red mailboxes gold in the hometowns of every British Olympic champion — but has appealed to Britons not to do the same.

Two men have been detained by police for unauthorized mailbox gilding, and a postbox in the central England town of Doddington was painted bronze after the British women's field hockey team took the third-place prize.

"We understand the sentiment, and congratulate the women's hockey team on their achievement," a Royal Mail spokeswoman said. "However we'd rather people left the painting of postboxes to us."

— Jill Lawless http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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FAKE MUSTACHES

After Mexico's 2-1 victory in the football final, many of the yellow-clad Brazilians filed out somberly, leaving a sea of people in green, many wearing silly fake mustaches and oversized hats.

"It's representative of our country," said Jose Maria Rosales, 31, who flew in from Hermosillo, Mexico, to see the match.

Sitting nearby — also in mustache and sombrero — was Richard Webster, 32, who didn't have to travel so far. He's from London, and he has never even been to Mexico. "I was supporting team GB until they were knocked out," he says. "Then I went down to the fancy dress shop and got myself these."

— Niko Price — Twitter http://twitter.com/nikoprice

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NEXT UP: PARALYMPICS

The white concession tents stand there in Olympic Park, but they are closed. People walk up to the gate, but they are turned away.

"I'm confused," says tennis coach Mirco Hampeo, 35, as he looks at a map.

He's not the only one.

Many people have ended up at Eton Manor, the only permanent Paralympics structure in the park, which seats 10,500 and will host the wheelchair tennis competition. It's not on the Olympics maps but you just can't miss it.

Some 4,200 athletes will take part in the Paralympics Games from Aug. 29 to Sept 9.

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

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NEYMAR IN DISBELIEF

Brazilian star Neymar is sitting in the middle of the Wembley Stadium pitch with his hands on his knees and staring in disbelief. The latest in a long line of Brazilian soccer virtuosos looks like he can't believe his heavily favored team just lost to Mexico in the gold medal men's soccer game.

Neymar was bottled up for most of the game, unable to use his famously quick feet to get free of Mexico's determined defense.

He just missed a goal in the 48th minute, firing a rocket from about 30 yards out that just went over the crossbar. He also sailed one high over the goal in the 59th, dropping to his knees after mishitting a perfect crossing pass.

The Mexicans surrounded him with two defenders for most of the game and even bloodied his nose in the second half when goalkeeper Jose Corona hit Neymar with an elbow while chasing a loose ball.

In the end, Neymar goes home from the Olympics like every Brazilian star before him — without a gold medal.

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

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MEXICO JUBILANT

The Olympic men's soccer final is over, Mexico has won the gold medal 2-1 over Brazil and its supporters are celebrating in the stands at Wembley Stadium.

Fans threw sombreros in the air and waved Mexican flags at the final whistle, while the players, some already shirtless, danced at midfield. Oribe Peralta, who scored both goals for Mexico, got ahold of a straw sombrero and passed it around among his teammates.

The dejected Brazilians watched, some sitting on the grass, exhausted.

Mexico midfielder Jorge Enriquez left his celebrating teammates to come over and shake hands with the Brazilian players.

— Jimmy Golen — Twitter http://twitter.com/jgolen

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IT'S MEXICO

It's Mexico — unexpectedly.

Oribe Peralta scored twice to lead Mexico to its first Olympic gold medal in men's soccer, stunning favored Brazil 2-1 on Saturday.

Peralta scored 29 seconds into the game, the fastest goal since FIFA started keeping track of Olympic records in 1976, then headed a free kick from Marco Fabian past Brazilian goalkeeper Gabriel in the 75th minute to put the game away.

It was another devastating defeat for Brazil, which is now 0-3 in Olympic gold medal games.

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

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FASTEST GOAL

Mexico's early goal against Brazil in the men's gold medal soccer match has been officially recognized as the fastest in the competition since records began in 1976.

FIFA, soccer's world governing body, says it still doesn't know if it's the fastest goal ever in the Olympics because it hasn't kept track of all tournaments.

The fastest goal ever in a senior soccer competition was scored by Turkey's Hakan Sukur — 11 seconds into a match in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

Brazil's Fabinho was even quicker in the 2007 under-17 World Cup in South Korea, netting after just nine seconds.

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

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BUT IS HE A MARVEL?

These London Games have a lot of snazzy names out there, from Usain Bolt to Lolo Jones. But the winner for the best name out there has to be Brazilian forward Hulk. Just Hulk. With a name like that, who needs a nickname?

He is a reserve on the Brazilian team. But coach Mano Menezes inserted him in the 32nd minute of the gold medal game on Saturday after watching his team look lethargic in falling behind Mexico 1-0.

Hulk's presence was felt almost immediately, when he, yes, smashed a left-footed shot from about 20 yards out that Jose Corona had to lunge to save. That seemed to wake the Brazilians up, and they turned up the offensive pressure on Mexico for the rest of the half.

Just don't make Hulk angry, Mexico. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

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

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A MURAL FOR GABBY

Gabby Douglas is really big in her hometown. Really big and painted on a wall.

The gold-medal-winning gymnast has a giant mural painted in her honor in Virginia Beach, Va. And she loves it.

"WOW!!! This is amazing!! (hashtag)so honored," Douglas tweeted Friday from the Olympics in London, where the 16-year-old gymnast won two gold medals at the Summer Games.

The mural shows Douglas holding a gold medal with an American flag backdrop. It says "Way to go Gabby."

Media outlets report brothers Todd and Eric Lindbergh spent four days painting the 9-by-30 foot mural on the outside wall of a sports bar. Todd Lindbergh says he found out that Douglas was from Virginia Beach, and the idea behind the mural came the moment he saw her on television at a medals ceremony.

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QUICKQUOTE: ALL TOGETHER

Missy Franklin, U.S. swimmer who has won four golds and one bronze at the London Olympics, on Sunday's closing ceremony:

"I am walking also. I am so excited. We didn't get the opportunity to do opening because I swam the very next day .... We're all going to get ready together tomorrow. I think it is the perfect way to end the entire journey."

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

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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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