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EYES ON LONDON: Partying, the Missile returns and a Chinese badminton player calls it quits
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:
He rode. Then he cut loose.
After winning the time trial for his seventh Olympic medal, cyclist Bradley Wiggins marked the moment by getting "blind drunk." It was a very public binge, with Wiggins posting messages and pictures on Twitter as he celebrated gold near St. Paul's Cathedral.
"Getting wasted," he tweeted, accompanied by a picture in which he was posing with a drink and flicking the V for victory sign.
And Wiggins wasn't slowing down.
Later, the Tour de France champion tweeted: "Blind drunk at the minute ... it's been emotional."
British Olympic chief Colin Moynihan says Wiggins was "thoroughly entitled to have a fantastic party."
Rob Harris Twitter http://twitter.com/robharris
A bit of trouble for an Australian rower Thursday morning: Josh Booth was detained by police for allegedly causing damage to a London storefront. Authorities say it was an alcohol-related incident, and it happened hours after he competed in the men's eight at the Olympic rowing basin.
Australian team chief Nick Green says Booth fainted while at the police station and was taken to the hospital. He was released a short time later and was not charged.
Green, who says he received a call from police at 3 a.m. Thursday about the incident, says he'll make a decision on potential disciplinary action after he receives more information from the police and Booth.
The 21-year-old Booth made his Olympic debut as the Australians finished sixth in the six-crew final of the eight at Windsor outside London on Wednesday.
Dennis Passa Twitter http://twitter.com/dennispassa
THE MISSILE RETURNS
The 17-year-old Missile is back in the pool on Thursday looking for more.
Missy Franklin goes for her second individual gold and third overall of the London Games. She won the 100-meter backstroke Monday night and was part of the winning 4x200 freestyle relay on Wednesday night.
Franklin is becoming one the breakout stars of these Olympics. But she wouldn't be in position for a third gold without an incredible anchor leg from Allison Schmitt in the relay that reeled in the Australians.
"Allison is a fighter and she can push through anything," Franklin says. "We had total faith in her."
Paul Newberry Twitter http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
PHOTO ON THE FLY
While his colleagues blogged, tweeted and filed stories with their smartphones and tablets from a media boat on Weymouth Bay during the London Olympics regatta, veteran British sailing scribe Bob Fisher regaled them with a yarn about how the games were covered 40 years ago.
Fisher recalled being on a media boat on the opening day of sailing at the Munich Olympics the sailing venue was in Kiel when a photographer from an evening newspaper in Copenhagen, Denmark, boarded with a wicker hamper.
"In it wasn't his lunch," Fisher said.
Turns out the hamper contained a carrier pigeon. Fisher said that after taking a picture of Denmark's Paul Elvstrom at the start of the Soling race, the photographer put his camera in a changing bag, snipped off a negative, rolled it up tight and put it into a screw-top aluminum can. He strapped the canister to one leg of the carrier pigeon and released it.
"That picture appeared on the front page of the Copenhagen paper that evening," Fisher said. "Here's a guy who thought on his feet. Obviously he'd done it before, or had practiced it."
Fisher has written 35 books and is working on three more books about the America's Cup, including one titled "The Poisoned Chalice."
Bernie Wilson Twitter http://twitter.com/berniewilson
PHELPS VS. LOCHTE II
Time for round two of Phelps vs. Lochte.
The United States' two biggest male swimming stars go at it a second time at the London Games, with the latest coming in the 200-meter individual medley final on Thursday.
Michael Phelps won his record-setting 19th career Olympic medal and 15th gold in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay Tuesday night. Lochte is the world record holder in the 200 IM.
Lochte beat Phelps earlier in these Olympics with a resounding win in the 400 individual medley.
Jon Krawczynski Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski
104 MEDALS AND COUNTING
A rowing club founded nearly 200 years ago and located on the leafy banks of the River Thames is celebrating an extraordinary milestone achieved at the Olympic Games.
Members of the Leander Club, which claims to be the most successful sporting institution in the world, had won 99 Olympic medals for Britain dating back to 1908 before the start of London 2012.
Well, they've just topped the 100 mark.
Five members of the Henley-based club were part of the British men's eight that captured bronze in Wednesday's thrilling final at Dorney Lake. That result sparked a mass clinking of glasses as the Leander officials who failed to land tickets for the race packed into the dining room and bar area at the club to watch it on giant TV screens.
"Obviously it's a significant milestone, but it's part of our long-term plans to carry on being the main feeder club of new talent into the GB international system," says Leander official Robert Treharne Jones.
Heck, many countries haven't won 104 Olympic medals.
That's not the end of the matter. There are still 14 Leander rowers involved in finals at Dorney Lake over the next three days.
Steve Douglas Twitter http://twitter.com/sdouglas80
A sampling of the more bizarre examples of strict enforcement of branding restrictions against non-Olympic sponsors:
Pimms, that quintessentially English liqueur, cannot be listed on any menus during the games, even at Wimbledon, where tennis is taking place and where Pimms is as traditional as strawberries and cream. The gin-based drink, which is not an Olympic sponsor, is instead being referred to as "No. 1 Cup."
And the Goodyear Blimp, ubiquitous at sporting events around the globe, has been stripped of any corporate reference, prompting more than a few double-takes from sky-gazing fans.
Some journalists have been surprised to see Olympic workers taping over the logos on their Dell and Apple computers, since neither company is bankrolling the games, and the U.S. women's soccer team has been told not to hand out its media guide because it has 12 small logos of its sponsors which are not official Olympics 2012 backers.
Paul Haven Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/paulhaven
SHE'S A SPECTATOR NOW
Five-time Olympian Natalie Cook was eliminated from the beach volleyball tournament, but expect to see the Australian around Horse Guards Parade for the duration of the games.
Cook has said she will retire from international play after London, but she said she wants to watch the beach volleyball competition through its completion.
Cook expressed her respect for two-time defending gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, and said she considers them the favorites. The Americans lost their first set in three Olympics on Wednesday night.
Jenna Fryer Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer
The Romneys are back on the Olympics scene but this time in search of a medal.
Rafalca, a 15-year-old, German-bred mare on the U.S. dressage team, is part-owned by Mitt Romney's wife.
Ann Romney is expected to attend Rafalca's Olympic debut, which gets under way Thursday with the Grand Prix dressage test at Greenwich Park.
Dressage, which is better known in Europe than the U.S., is the equine equivalent of ballet. Horse and rider (wearing top hat and tails) go through a series of steps that look like the horse is dancing: twirling pirouettes, prancing trots and the crowd-pleasing "flying change," which looks like the horse is skipping.
Nicole Winfield Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield
QUICKQUOTE: 'BLIND DRUNK'
"Well what a day, blind drunk at the minute and overwhelmed with all the messages, Thank You everyone it's been emotional X" Bradley Wiggins posted on his Twitter account (a)bradwiggins after winning a gold medal for Britain in cycling.
Cassandra Vinograd Twitter: http://twitter.com/CassVinograd
A Chinese badminton star says she is calling it quits after being disqualified from the doubles tournament at the London Olympics for trying to lose.
A comment on a verified account for Yu Yang on the Tencent microblogging service late Wednesday read: "This is my last game. Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton."
Yu and Wang Xiaoli were one of four doubles teams which appeared to play poorly on purpose to secure a more favorable position in the next phase of the event.
Scott McDonald Twitter: http://twitter.com/BeijingScotty
AP Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun looks at watching Olympic events online:
For the first time, NBC Sports is showing all competition and medal ceremonies live over the Internet in the U.S. It's free, but there's a big catch: You must have a TV subscription with a cable, satellite or phone company at a service level that comes with CNBC and MSNBC.
For the majority of Americans who do pay for TV, you're in for a treat.
Most of the video steams allow you to rewind the action. Start from any point if you are joining late or after an event is over, or hit a replay button to go back several seconds.
The exceptions are with high-profile sports such as swimming and gymnastics. If you missed it, you typically must wait for television or the next day online.
That limit didn't annoy me as much as I would have thought. The video streams are broadcast-quality and they include multiple camera angles, graphics and instant replays, as chosen by the producers. So as long as I'm online when the event is taking place, I can re-watch the key moments. Plus, it's better than not having high-profile events live at all, as was the case in the past.
GABBY GOES FOR MORE GOLD
The United States women's gymnastics team already calls itself the fiercest squad the sport has ever seen.
If they can add some more gold around their necks in the all-around competition on Thursday night, they may be able to call themselves the greatest.
Fresh off USA Gymnastics' first team gold since 1996, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman will try to best Russia's Victoria Komova in the individual competition.
"It is very special," Douglas says of the team gold. "It gives us the momentum."
Douglas will also compete for the gold on the balance beam and uneven bars, while Raisman is competing on beam and the floor exercise.
Janie McCauley Twitter http://www.twitter.com/janiemccAP
The coach of the Chinese badminton players who were disqualified for throwing a game says he is to blame.
"As the head coach, I owe the fans and the Chinese an apology," coach Li Yongbo said, according to a report by official Xinhua news agency. "Chinese players failed to demonstrate their fighting spirit of the national team. It's me to blame."
China's Olympic delegation also criticized the two players.
"The behavior by Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli on court violated the Olympics ideal and the spirit of fair play. The Chinese delegation feels distressed over this matter," Chinese Olympic delegation said in a statement released to Xinhua.
Scott McDonald Twitter: http://twitter.com/BeijingScotty
MS. NO. 2
Li Xiaoxia has been known in China as "Ms. No. 2," partly for table tennis matches she has lost to Ding Ning, including the final in last year's world championship. That's no more.
Li won the gold medal in an upset victory over her teammate Ding on Wednesday.
Li was asked several times if the victory erased her No. 2 status. Her reply was muted and a throwback to a time when Chinese athletes seldom spoke to reporters.
"There is no second," she said. "Everyone is first."
Stephen Wade Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP
U.S. gymnast Danell Leyva's high bar routine is better than any circus act a two-for-one show, actually.
While Leyva dazzled the crowd with three release moves, his stepfather and coach, Yin Alvarez, was doing the routine right along with him down on the floor.
Fans laughed as Alvarez dipped, swayed and gave little kicks of his feet, and he couldn't contain himself when Leyva hit the mat with an emphatic THUMP! He jumped up and down and then grabbed Leyva in a bearhug, planting a kiss on the top of his head.
When Leyva's score flashed, guaranteeing he would win a medal, father and son celebrated again. Leyva won the bronze in the all-around competition.
Nancy Armour Twitter http://twitter.com/nrarmour
FOR THE WEEKEND WARRIORS
Experts say even weekend warriors can benefit from the kinds of mental strategies Olympic athletes follow, things like following a routine or adopting a mantra to guide you through crucial movements.
Take your mind off the details of your movement. Sing to yourself or count backward by threes as you step up to the crucial shot, advises Sian Beilock, a University of Chicago psychologist. Maybe you can just say "smooth" or "straight" to yourself as a mantra as you act.
Another trick is to get used to pressure situations by practicing under the gaze of an observer or a video camera. Still another is to write down your worries before a big event. It's "almost like downloading them" from your mind so "they're less likely to pop up and distract you in the moment," says Beilock.
Malcolm Ritter Twitter http://www.twitter.com/malcolmritter
SET STREAK BROKEN
A streak is broken.
Two-time defending Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor lost the first set of their preliminary round match against Austria on Wednesday night the first time they've lost a set in three Olympics.
But after the 21-17 loss in the first, they came back to win the second by a dominating 21-8 and took the third 15-10 to remain unbeaten in this and every other trip to the Olympic Games.
"I was furious," Walsh Jennings said afterward. "It's still with me. I want to go to the practice court and fix it."
Jimmy Golen Twitter http://twitter.com/jgolen
OLYMPIC TAX BREAK
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio wants to give America's Olympic champions a tax break on their winnings.
Americans who win gold, silver or bronze at the Olympics get a cash award from the U.S. Olympic Committee of tens of thousands of dollars.
The Republican lawmaker introduced a bill Wednesday that would exempt medal winners from paying taxes on the honorariums, calling the penalty ridiculous. The USOC says a gold medalist gets $25,000, a silver medalist $15,000 and a bronze winner $10,000.
What about NBA stars on the basketball team like the Miami Heat's LeBron James? Rubio's office says that the Olympics are unique, with U.S. athletes volunteering to represent the country, and that success should be celebrated, not taxed.
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.