Eyes on London: Pulling back

At the London Games, seven Olympic athletes from Cameroon have gone missing and the men's 5,000 meters kicks off

Topics: From the Wires, 2012 Olympics, Mo Farah,

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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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Britain’s military has started pulling back personnel from the Olympics park after a private security contractor made good on its numbers.

Although G4S failed to provide some 10,000 workers it was contracted for, it is now sending more than 7,000 workers to Olympics venues each day.

G4S spokesman Adam Mynott told AP: “It’s gone as well as it could given our revised position.”

After admitting it would not make its orginal numbers, G4S told a Home Affairs committee last month it thought it could provide more than 7,000 workers.

The Ministry of Defense says because of the development, some military personnel have been put on standby.

Although there have been a few issues — guards turning up at the wrong place or minor skirmishes — G4S says the security operation has gone smoothly. But, Mynott said: “Given it’s not quite over yet, it’s still a crossing-your-fingers exercise.”

— Paisley Dodds — Twitter http://twitter.com/paisleydodds

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MISSING CAMEROON ATHLETES

Cameroon’s Olympic delegation wants help finding the seven athletes who have gone missing at the London Games.

“They have written to us to say these athletes have left the village and left their accommodation and can we help,” London organizing committee spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle said Wednesday. “We have informed the Met (Police).”

But the athletes would not be breaching their visas until November.

“The team has obviously raised a concern and the police are obviously informed,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “But at this stage I don’t think it’s necessarily for the IOC to worry about whether they will outstay their welcome.”

— Rob Harris — Twitter http://twitter.com/RobHarris

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MO FARAH WANTS MORE

Mo Farah had to work hard to advance in the men’s 5,000 meters.

Back on the track at Olympic Stadium, where he dazzled the crowd on Saturday night in winning the 10,000 meters, Farah was cheered wildly in his opening heat. He thanked the crowd after the race, in which he had to push down the final straight to finish third. The top five finishers in the heat advanced. The finals are Saturday.

“It was pretty difficult, bit tired today,” Farah said after the race. “It’s all good. I got great support from the crowd. The pace kept going up and down, that’s what happens in the heat.”



Farah repeatedly praised crowd support and credited the fans for pushing him to his uplifting win in the 10,000. He said he’ll go for gold again in the finals.

“I am going to go out there and give 110 percent, that’s all you can do,” he said. “But it’s all about what my legs allow me.”

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

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PULLING POWER

A gold medal brings pride to a nation and satisfaction to the athlete who worked so hard to achieve it. Winning can also bring endorsements and riches that otherwise would be unattainable, and etch the athlete’s name in the history books.

So what is 26-year-old Scott Brash, one member of Britain’s champions show jumping team, most looking forward to about becoming a gold medal winner?

“I really hope this win improves my pulling power with the women, if I’m honest,” Brash told the BBC after the win. “That’s about it.”

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

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PARTY AT THE PALACE

Three months after thousands celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, Buckingham Palace will be the scene of partying for Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians.

British athletes have enjoyed success at the Olympics not seen since 1908 when London last hosted the games.

And the British Olympic Association is hoping millions turn out on the streets of the capital for a victory parade that will finish at Buckingham Palace the day after the Paralympics closing ceremony.

BOA chief executive Andy Hunt hopes children are allowed out of school to join the celebrations on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 10.

— Rob Harris — Twitter http://twitter.com/RobHarris

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BMX FACTOIDS

Wednesday is the first day of the BMX competition.

— Bicycle moto cross – or BMX – started in California in the late 1960s

— The International BMX Federation was founded in 1981

— BMX is the newest cycling discipline in the Olympics. It first appeared on the program at the Beijing games in 2008

— BMX races take place outdoors and include jumps and tight corners

— In a typical race, eight riders compete in heats. The top four then qualify for the next round

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BANNISTER’S TAKE

Roger Bannister never won an Olympic gold, but he left a mark that no one would ever forget: breaking the four-minute mile.

Most of the athletes in London’s 1,500 meter race — the metric mile — are far faster today than he was. Still, he can’t help but analyze the race, which he watched in the Olympic stands with two-time Olympic 1,500 champion and London Games chief Sebastian Coe.

He watched as Taoufik Makhloufi broke away down the stretch to take the Olympic gold medal, the one prize he never collected. His time? 3 minutes, 34.08 seconds. Good enough for gold, but far from the world record.

“It’s very unusual to get world records broken when there are 12 runners,” said Bannister, 83. “The concern today is to win the race. The time is purely secondary. If the time becomes too slow, then it’s disappointing for everyone. So this was just about in between.”

— Stephen Wilson, Twitter: http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap

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ONE LAST TIME

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings will go for one last title together Wednesday night after winning all but one set during their three Olympics as a pair.

The Americans are wrapping up this tournament determined to enjoy themselves at their last Olympics as a tandem. May-Treanor will retire, while Walsh Jennings plans to keep playing internationally.

They’ll face the No. 2 U.S. team of April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in an all-American final.

Walsh Jennings won’t even allow herself to think about the emotions that will come once they’re through.

“No, I don’t,” Walsh Jennings said. “I’m focused on our goal, and our goal is to enjoy every second of this, which we’re doing, and our other goal is to win a gold medal. And after that, we’ll see how it goes.”

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HULK HARTING

Discus gold medalist Robert Harting of Germany put on two shows Tuesday night, one during his event and another after. His second was quite possibly the victory celebration of the London Games.

Harting ripped his shirt to shreds following his win — much like the Incredible Hulk — flexed his muscles and then took to the track to make a pass on the women’s 100-meter hurdles.

“If you see me coming out of the stadium without a shirt, you know it was good,” Harting said.

Entertaining, too.

With a German flag tied around his waist and flapping in the breeze, Harting sprinted down the track’s outside lane. He cleared nearly every hurdle — fairly impressive for a guy his size — and then headed toward the famed Olympic cauldron. He reached into the bottom of the cauldron and tried to pull out one of the fiery metal prongs.

It didn’t work, of course.

Nonetheless, the crowd at Olympic Stadium seemed impressed with his antics.

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

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‘THANK YOU’

Liu Xiang crashed into the first hurdle during his 110-meter race, but many in China are rallying their support.

About half a dozen newspapers ran front-page photos Wednesday of Liu Xiang kissing the last hurdle before he limped off the track. One ran a headline saying “Thank You.”

A top Communist Party official phoned Liu in London to show the country’s support for him, the official Xinhua news Agency reported Wednesday.

It said Liu Yandong, a member of the party’s Politburo, “expressed sympathy and concern … saying that his spirit, will and attitude has deeply moved and highly inspired the whole nation.”

— Didi Tang

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GOODBYE WINDSURFING

Windsurfing made a spirited games exit, with Dorian Van Rijsselberge of the Netherlands collecting the men’s gold medal he’d clinched days earlier and Marina Alabau of Spain winning the women’s regatta.

Windsurfing got the heave-ho from the lineup for the 2016 Rio Olympics in a vote in May, replaced by kiteboarding. The International RS:X Class Association filed a legal challenge last week against the International Sailing Federation.

Van Rijsselberge and Alabau will probably have to focus on kiteboarding if they want to stay in the Olympics.

“Yeah, I think this was a mistake,” Alabau said about windsurfing getting blown out of the games. “I think it will come back. This is my hope and this is what I think will be the right thing. I know how to kite and I will kite if they don’t give me another chance, but I love windsurfing.”

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RAFALCA’S FUTURE

Rafalca didn’t earn a medal in the dressage competition, but co-owner Ann Romney was still happy with her horse’s performance.

“It was wonderful,” said Mrs. Romney, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “She was elegant and consistent again. We just love her.”

The U.S. finished sixth, and Rafalca, ridden by Jan Ebeling, ended in 28th place.

So what’s next for Rafalca, the horse that brought the sport of dressage to the attention of many Americans?

Mrs. Romney said that after Ebeling competes for another year or two, she would probably try breeding Rafalca, a German-bred mare. A mare so famous and accomplished as Rafalca could be valuable on the horse-breeding market.

— Nicole Winfield — Twitter http://twitter.com/nwinfield

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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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