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EYES ON LONDON: Lebron's making friends fast, Olympic seats tweet about their solitude
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:
Nothing like an Olympics to boost your social media profile, it seems.
LeBron James has acquired almost 600,000 new Facebook fans in the last week, with Kobe Bryant coming in second in terms of popularity with an extra 78,000.
But Kobe's still the top Olympian on the social media site in terms of overall numbers.
Facebook has released the following overall fan figures:
Kobe - 13.57 million
LeBron - 11.93 million
Roger Federer - 11.23 million
Maria Sharapova - 7.8 million
Usain Bolt - 7.07 million
Ian Phillips Twitter http://www.twitter.com/phillipsian
The rows of empty seats at some Olympic venues have enraged sports fans in London who tried but failed to get Olympic tickets.
And now the seats are putting their side of the story across through Twitter, naturally.
An account, (at)Olympic seat, emerged on Sunday evening.
"I feel so empty," read one post, accompanied by an avatar of empty seats.
"It was my lifelong ambition to be an Olympic seat," read another tweet. "To provide rest and comfort for cheering sports fans. I feel like such a failure."
Rob Harris Twitter http://twitter.com/robharris
BELLE OF THE BAR
The Americans dominated the afternoon qualifying for women's gymnastics, but Britain's athletes got the loudest cheers.
An ovation greeted Britain's Beth Tweddle, who earned a 16.133 on the uneven bars for the top score of the session.
"I was nervous," she admitted later. "It was nerve-wracking to do the bars last."
Tweddle, at 27, is the oldest member of the team and Britain's most decorated gymnast. She's never won an Olympic medal, however.
Her performance Sunday helped Britain make the team finals, four years after they missed the last slot at the Beijing Games.
"We know we're not going to be able to touch USA, Russia, China," Tweddle said. "We are the level below them. Four years ago, we wouldn't be looking at that, so we are getting better."
Jenna Fryer Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer
IT'S OKAY, ROOMIE
Jordyn Wieber has released a statement of support for close friend Aly Raisman, who bumped her out of the all-around gymnastics finals.
Wieber, the reigning world champion, had to watch Raisman's performance knowing a strong showing would keep her out of the individual competition. She left the arena sobbing after missing the cut.
"It was hard because of course I wanted that spot. But I also wanted Aly to do her best for the team," she said.
The two are roommates here at the London Games. Wieber will be relegated to cheerleader now as Gabby Douglas and Raisman compete for the all-around title.
"It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the all-around final of the Olympics," she said. "I'm proud of Aly and Gabby and happy that they reached the all-around and I was able to help the team get to the Finals. It was always going to be close between the three of us doing all-around and in the end it is what it is."
Jenna Fryer Twitter http://www.twitter.com/jennafryer
DRENCHED TO THE BONE
Thousands of fans lined the Olympic women's cycling road race course all 87 miles (140 kilometers) of it despite the pelting rain, standing three or four deep in hopes of simply catching the blur of a cyclist. Police outriders were cheered, since riders usually followed soon after.
The rain would ease up for four or five minutes Sunday, then return with a vengeance. Who knows how the riders could stay upright or even see.
Danica Kirka http://twitter.com/danicakirka
HANDING OUT HUGS
After the first U.S. win, a hug from the first lady.
The U.S. men's basketball team cruised to a 98-71 victory over France in their Olympic opener on Sunday and got quite the reward.
Michelle Obama watched the game, a few rows back. At the final buzzer, the entire team came over for a hug, one by one.
"It was a very special moment," Carmelo Anthony says. "For her to be sitting over there and supporting us, we just wanted to thank her for coming."
Jon Krawczynski Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski
PICTURE YOURSELF IN A BOAT ...
They might not pilot a Yellow Submarine, but two British sailors have received a good-luck message from Beatles legend Paul McCartney.
The 70-year-old musician sent a note Sunday to Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, who will compete from Monday in the men's 49er competition in which a crew of two sail in a high-performance skiff.
"Wishing you the very best of luck on the Lovely Rita in the games. Happy sailing to you both," McCartney said in his message, referring to their boat.
McCartney, who sang at Friday's opening ceremony, told the two British sailors that he shared their passion, and loved "to potter about" on his small dinghy.
Morrison wrote on his blog that the Beatles were Britain's "greatest-ever band" and said he and his teammate "were looking to emulate" the group's success as they take to the water.
David Stringer - Twitter http://twitter.com/david_stringer
It's Simon and Esther Manzke's first trip to an Olympic Games and they are trying to stand out from the crowd.
Both are wearing small German carnival-style top hats with a piece of cord connecting them and a dumbbell dangling inbetween. Today they have tickets for weightlifting.
"The hats are multifunctional, we have a net for beach volleyball tonight," said Simon, a student from Hamburg. "We are trying to be creative, we know people in the U.K. love hats."
As the siblings headed off to an arena, some London volunteers ran up to them and asked for a photo. "Crazy German people," one shrieked.
Here's the picture: http://bit.ly/MUBGZ6
Fergus Bell Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb
Out in leafy west London, double-amputee Oscar Pistorius gets to run in relative peace. That will all change pretty soon.
On Sunday, Pistorius ran 200-meter splits alongside teammate Ofentse Mogawane, pounding down a university's tree-lined track on his carbon-fiber blades as a handful of curious staff members and students watched on.
It'll get far busier for the 25-year-old "Blade Runner" from Wednesday, when he makes his first formal media appearance in London ahead of his historic debut Saturday in the 400 heats at the Olympic Stadium. He'll also be on South Africa's 4x400 relay team.
Among those cheering him on: His 90-year-old grandmother who's making the trip over to London from South Africa.
Gerald Imray Twitter http://twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP
NI HAO, KONICHIWA
There's a sure sign the world's best players are about to take the floor at the table tennis venue: Mandarin and Japanese translators are arriving. Let's hope someone shows up to help with Korean.
The world's two top-ranked women Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia of China play Sunday night. No. 3 Kim Kyun-gah of South Korean and No. 4 Kasumi Ishikawa of Japan also play. The top 12 women in the tournament are all from Asia. No. 13 is Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus. Nos. 14 and 15 are China-born players who represent the Netherlands and Poland.
Even Singapore uses two players born in China Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu.
Stephen Wade Twitter http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP
All IN A DAY'S WORK
What was supposed to be a full day of work for 150 British soldiers has turned into an afternoon watching women's gymnastics.
Staff Sgt. Marc Robson of the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery said he was told Sunday to send the soldiers to the North Greenwich Arena for the qualifications rounds. He said he's rotating soldiers in and out, and those outside the arena are performing their security tasks as planned.
The move came after Olympic organizers were criticized for the number of empty seats seen on television.
Robson said the troops were enjoying themselves.
"I was told to let the boys come in and enjoy the show," Robson said. "Look at them, they seem to be liking it just fine."
Jenna Fryer Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer
DOES YAO SPEAK FRENCH?
There are so many media who showed up to cover Team USA vs France that organizers eventually closed off the press area and wouldn't allow any more inside the arena.
One media member stood out or, more accurately, up more than any other. Yao Ming was in attendance as a Chinese broadcaster.
There was talk of making the press tribune standing room only. If they do, pity the guy stuck behind him.
Jon Krawczynski Twitter http:/www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski
It's the closing seconds. The score is 60-56. The crowd is going crazy. Which Olympic final is this, you ask?
Hardly. It's a group stage basketball game between two countries little known for their basketball Tunisia and Nigeria.
The 12,000-seat venue is at least 95 percent full and the crowd has been raucous throughout the mid-morning game. As the game ends, the players of both teams are given a standing ovation.
The next game, Australia vs. Brazil, is a similar affair. There is constant clapping and cheering and the noise reverberates around the arena. The public address announcer organizes the fans, though it's not like they need much encouragement; the fans do the wave and stomp and clap to "We will rock you."
If there's one thing London organizers promised, it was passionate fans. At the basketball venue, they're definitely delivering.
Peter Wilson Twitter: www.twitter.com/peterrwilson
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