London Spy

  • Judo gold medal winner used to hide participation from parents

    Brazil's Sarah Menezes won gold in judo on Saturday. It was the first time a Brazilian woman ever won a gold in judo.

    But her achievement is more impressive still when you take into account that Menezes had to hide her participation in the sport from her parents for years.

    "In the beginning, they used to say judo was not a girl's sport," Menezes told the BBC. "Then, they would complain that being an athlete was a not a proper career.

    "I would go to my training sessions anyway, sometimes saying I had to stay longer at school, sometimes asking the neighbour to take me secretly."

    Her parents

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  • ‘So, Mr Bond, did you think I was funny?’

    The Queen's cameoQueen Elizabeth II might be the world's most famous monarch, but that doesn't mean she doesn't need a little reassurance now and then.

    And after her cameo role in the opening ceremony of London 2012, she appears to have been after a bit of feedback - and in the absence of James Bond, she turned to - of all people - London's mayor Boris Johnson.

    Johnson, who escorted the 86-year-old monarch around the Olympic Park during an official tour on Saturday, said that she was "thrilled" about the film and keen to know if people found her cameo role funny.

    "My impression is that she loved it," the

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  • Akram Khan and his fellow performersOne of the choreographers for the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games was left upset that his musical tribute to the victims of the 2005 London bus and train bombings was chopped out of the broadcast of the ceremony in the United States.

    Londoner Akram Khan created a memorable dance segment featuring a troupe of dancers, a nine-year-old boy and himself performing to the tune of 'Abide With Me', sung by Emeli Sandé, in what was one of the most moving and memorable sequences of the dazzling ceremony.

    But American broadcaster NBC  decided to cut the section out, instead showing a brief

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  • 'Competitive ego' caused Redgrave disappointmentSir Steve Redgrave has said he was disappointed not to have been asked to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony.

    Former rower Redgrave, who won gold medals at five consecutive Games from 1984-2000, was widely tipped as the favourite to do so ahead of Friday night's extravaganza.

    Organisers had kept the identity of the final person to carry the torch and light the cauldron secret. That led to speculation that Redgrave or gold medal-winning decathlete Daley Thompson - the favoured choice of LOCOG chairman Lord Coe - would have the honour.

    Redgrave carried the torch into the Olympic

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  • India's mystery gatecrasher

    Furious Indian officials are demanding answers from organisers about the apparent lack of security after a woman gatecrashed India's athletes' parade at the Olympic opening ceremony.

    A woman in red and blue walked close to flag-bearing wrestler Sushil Kumar on Friday, in complete contrast to female members of the contingent who were wearing yellow saris and blue blazers.

    The woman's identity was originally a mystery, but subsequent investigation has revealed that she was one of the thousands-strong volunteer cast who had managed to stay in the stadium and join the Indian athletes.

    "How did

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  • BBC apologise for “appalling” cycling coverage

    Cyclists pedal along Box Hill during the Men's Road Cycling race at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. Alexander VinokourovCyclists pedal along Box Hill during the Men's Road Cycling raceThe BBC has been forced to apologise for its "appalling" coverage of the men's cycling road race on the opening day of the Olympics.

    Viewers were left baffled and angry by the repeated mistakes, poor audio and a lack of graphics to show how the riders were standing throughout.

    The race was won by Kazakhstan's Alexandr Vinkourov after Mark Cavendish and the rest of the Team GB riders were left behind by a breakaway group, but viewers were left guessing as to how big the gap was until the very end.

    And as if that weren't enough, the commentary team of Chris Boardman, Jill Douglas, Ed Leigh, Hugh

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  • Amazing Lego recreation of Olympic stadium

    The crowd gathered around the glass box, snapping photos while pointing and smiling. It was the Lego block section of John Lewis Stratford, the official store for the 2012 London Games; so what was on display?

    That would be 100,000 Lego bricks transformed into Olympic Stadium:


    A team of four people worked two months to create the faux-stadium, located steps away from the official London Olympics store in the Westfield Shopping Centre. That's approximately 450 hours of labor to get every detail right — front and back.


    The design takes elements from the Olympic Stadium where the Opening

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  • Empty seats at Olympics investigated

    Olympic organisers have begun an urgent investigation into the empty seats at venues across the first day of the Games in London.

    It appeared that the more expensive seats at several venues, including Wimbledon, Earl's Court for the volleyball, and gymnastics at the North Greenwich Arena, were empty throughout the day.

    In the morning session at the Olympic pool, there were also numerous unclaimed seats.

    The sight of half-full venues infuriated those fans who applied for tickets in a controversial ballot system, only to miss out on attending any of the Olympic Games.

    One of London's key

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  • South Korean wins silver after being disqualified

    (Getty Images)

    Defending gold medalist and world-record holder Park Tae-hwan had his controversial disqualification in the 400 freestyle overturned Saturday afternoon before picking up a silver medal in the final later in the evening.

    The South Korean had touched first in his heat of the 400 free but was disqualified after the race when officials determined that he flinched on the starting block. He was confused about the reason for the disqualification.

    "I don't know why," he told reporters after an official informed him of the decision. "I need to speak to my coach to find out."

    Commentators were equally

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  • Odds on Boyle knighthood shortened

    The Olympic cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Bookmakers expect record gambling on the 2012 Olympics after the opening ceremony prompted a flood of bets on event mastermind Danny Boyle receiving a knighthood - and confusion over wagers laid on who would light the Olympic flame.

    Since London won the Olympics in 2005 gamblers have forked out on the closely guarded secret of who would light the flame, with British five-times gold medallist, rower Steve Redgrave, the clear favourite.

    But in the end, seven young athletes selected by seven British Olympians lit the flame in unison, causing divides in the bookmaking ranks over how to handle the

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