London Spy

  • Backlash over US women’s gold medal T-shirts

    US goalkeeper Hope Solo celebrates with team-mates after beating Japan and winning gold (AFP)

    The US women's football team wore Nike t-shirts with a smug, tacky slogan reading "Greatness Has Been Found" after its gold medal win over Japan on Thursday. The shirts were roundly panned on Twitter, from critics both foreign and domestic.

    Members of the team were handed the shirts immediately after their win. This is a ritual common after big victories in American team sports. After the Super Bowl or NCAA basketball title game, for instance, winning teams immediately put on shirts and hats that proclaim them champions.

    If it's ever happened at an Olympics, I can't remember. Throw in the

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  • The scenes in Half Way Tree in Kingston after the 200m final (Reuters)

    Jamaicans broke into wild celebrations in the streets of the capital as they watched the island's sprinters pull off a historic clean sweep of the 200-metres at the London Olympic Games.

    Usain "Lightning" Bolt, 25, and Yohan "The Beast" Blake, 22, or the "Double B" duo as they have been dubbed in Jamaica, left the rest of the field in their wake on Thursday to take gold and silver, only days after they did the same in the 100-metres.

    Hundreds of Jamaicans danced in the streets, honked horns, waved flags, hugged each other and screamed with delight, after the black, green and gold Jamaican

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  • A career after athletics for Usain Bolt? (AFP)

    Usain Bolt turned the tables on the hordes of photographers who shoot his every move - by borrowing one of press pack's cameras to take snaps of them and record his golden moment after winning the 200m in London.

    The Jamaican legend had just crossed the line ahead of compatriots Yohan Blake and Warren Weir to secure a unique Olympic sprint 'double-double' - and he clearly wanted to document the momentous occasion for himself.

    A Swedish photographer was kind enough to lend his expensive apparatus to Bolt, who then started to take shots of the massed ranks of photographers as well as his close

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  • American completes relay heat with broken leg

    Mitchell limps to the end of his 4x400 relay heat leg

    America's safe passage into the men's 4x400 metre Olympic relay final on Thursday morning was not as painless as it had first appeared after Manteo Mitchell revealed he broke his leg half way round the track but still managed to finish.

    The 25-year-old 200 and 400 metre runner ran the first leg of America's heat on a blazing hot day inside London's Olympic stadium and although he finished with a limp there was no obvious sign of the pain he was feeling.

    "I got out pretty slow, but I picked it up and when I got to the 100-metre mark it felt weird. As soon as I took the first step past the

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  • ‘Celebrate gold? Just get me to Nando’s’

    Nicola Adams and some spicy chicken

    Nicola Adams had just made Olympic history.

    The flyweight became the first woman to win a boxing gold medal with a pugilistic masterclass against top-seeded Ren Cancan of China.

    What's more, the 29-year-old Briton achieved the feat on home soil at London 2012.

    In an Olympics that has been enlivened by athletes' extravagant celebrations, Adams would be entitled to mark her gold medal with a big night out.

    So when a BBC interviewer asked her plans for the evening, we knew the sort of thing to expect.

    Champagne? Expensive cocktails? An exclusive nightclub?

    Not a bit of it.

    The chirpy

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  • China ‘plan to win every single Olympic medal in future’

    By now everyone should understand that China's sports machine is not going to slow .China's goal was never to build big just for the Beijing Games in 2008. The goal was to build big for Beijing, then dominate the world.

    "The intention of the Chinese is to win every medal, every single medal," said Jeff Ruffolo, an American who has worked for the Chinese government to help plan several sports competitions including the 2008 Olympics.

    "Watch what happens in Rio," added Ruffolo, referring to the 2016 Games in Brazil. "Watch what happens in 2020. The Chinese want to prove to the world that their

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  • Team GB champion dressage horses up for sale

    Britain's Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro

    Three Olympic champions were put up for sale on Wednesday, available to the highest bidder with a reserve price of a mere £20 million.

    The names of Valegro, Uthopia, and Alf might be unfamiliar to most Olympic Games viewers. Moreover, these three victors didn't even get rewarded for their triumphs with an official gold medal.

    That's because they're horses.

    The trio clinched the equestrian dressage team title for Great Britain — with a bit of help from some highly skilled riders, of course — and are now being sold off for what is certain to be an eye-catching sum.

    It is possible that the

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  • The day the Olympic champion jumped while drunk

    Russia's Ivan Ukhov was in fine form to win Olympic high jump gold - but he hasn't always been in such good shape while competing.

    Ukhov became an internet sensation four years ago for the above video when he competed in an event in Russia while clearly drunk.

    Ukhov was issued with a 'strong warning' by the IAAF at the time, but he has clearly got his act together now.

    However, the eccentric star did not have a completely stress-free evening in London.

    He was forced to borrow a T-shirt at the Olympic stadium after his vest was stolen midway through the competition.

    "I had put it (vest) in my

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  • Olympic-sized refunds for diving fans with obstructed seats?

    Canada's Meaghan Benfeito is seen against lights on the roof of the Aquatics Centre (Reuters)

    Days before the start of the London Olympics, organisers were already offering refunds to ticket holders. But a trade organisation doesn't believe they've gone far enough.

    The Aquatics Centre, designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, had a roof that dipped low enough where 600 seats in the facility wouldn't have a complete view of the action during eight sessions of high-board diving. They could see the approach, but competitors would disappear during lift off before reappearing for their descent.

    LOCOG, the Games' organizer, offered a refund to fans who paid between £30-50 for

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  • An artist performs during the Cirque du Soleil's Totem show in London's Royal Albert Hall (Reuters)

    Hours after his bid to qualify for a second straight Olympics ended with a disappointing showing at the 1996 British trials, gymnast Paul Bowler drove home to Manchester with tears streaming down his cheeks.

    At 28 years old, Bowler knew his last realistic chance to compete at another Olympics had slipped away. As a result, he faced the terrifying task of figuring out what to do with his post-gymnastics life."I thought life was over," Bowler said. "Generally as a gymnast, your career finishes, you almost have a nervous breakdown and then you go sit in the corner of a gym and teach children the

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