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Horse Race

Enough With the Dressage Attacks!

AP Photo; Getty Images

Yes, the Romneys spend $77,000 a year on their Olympiad horse, Rafalca—but the Democrats are only making themselves look bad by attacking it, writes Michelle Cottle.

Now that Rafalca has made her Olympic debut, can we please let the whole dressage thing go?I realize that, for Romney’s critics, it’s superfun to rib the upper-crusty Republican nominee about the sport’s ultra-poshness and that he and Ann shell out $77,000 a year caring for their stunning equine Olympiad—which is, by the way, $50,000 above (PDF) what the U.S. census bureau cites as the nation’s per capita yearly income.Romney’s defenders, in turn, clearly relish getting all puffed up and self-righteous about how dressage isn’t a richie-poo hobby so much as vital therapy for Ann’s multiple sclerosis, thank you very much, and how utterly gauche of liberals to poke fun of the health needs of the candidate’s wife.

Village People

An Olympian’s Exposé

AP Photo

How much sex is really had? What are the other temptations? Is McDonald’s the food of choice for athletes? An anonymous Team Great Britain member—a male rower who competed in Athens—has come out with ‘The Secret Olympian: The Inside Story of Olympic Excellence,’ giving us insight into the life and mind of an Olympian.

Should I Stay or Should I GoBeing an Olympian means you get to stay at the Olympic Village with some very famous people. But not if the very famous people don’t stay there. Cyclist Bradley Wiggins, who just became Britain’s most decorated Olympian, said he saw Rafael Nadal unwisely mixing his whites and colors in the laundry room. The U.S. basketball team doesn’t stay there—the beds are too small—but they get mobbed when they visit. And good thing Roger Federer stayed in the Village in Sydney eight years ago—he met his wife there.

Gut Check

‘Magic Mike’ Abs or Olympic Champ?

Warner Bros.; Getty Images

These Olympians have unparalleled skills—and they’re also ripped, like the stars of this summer’s other phenomenon. Can you guess if the abs in the following photos belong to an Olympian or a character from the male-stripper flick Magic Mike.

Comic Book Alter Egos

7 Olympians as Superheroes

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … an Olympian! With their superior athletic talents and bright spandex ‘costumes,’ athletes at the London 2012 games can look more like superheroes than mere mortals. Anna Klassen gives some of her favorite Olympic athletes heroic alter egos.

Too Fast?

When Records Look Too Good

Michael Sohn / AP Photo

Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen’s outstanding times—one faster than Ryan Lochte’s—caused some to call her wins suspicious. John D. Barrow does the math to show otherwise.

Last week the world’s media suddenly became stirred up about the feats of the 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen in the individual medley events at the London Olympics. Her winning time of 4m 28.43s in the 400-meter medley final took 3.3 seconds from her best time, set in the heats, with an impressively fast last 50 meters—faster than the last length swum by the men’s gold medallist, Ryan Lochte. Some commentators have claimed that such huge progress is suspicious while others have pointed out that 16-year-old age group competitors often take huge chunks off their best times.

OLYMPICS

Phelps Wins 20th Medal

Christophe Simon, AFP / Getty Images

While Rebecca Soni sets world record.

Looks like Michael Phelps wants to make sure he holds on to that medal record a little longer. The swimmer took his 20th career medal when he won gold in the men's 200-meter individual medley on Thursday. He also became the first swimmer ever to win the same event at three successive Olympics. Meanwhile, U.S. swimmer Rebecca Soni set a stunning new world record in the semifinals of the 200-meter breaststroke. During Thursday’s finals, she broke her own mark, setting a new record on her way to the gold medal. That’s not the only highlight from the pool—Tyler Clary won gold in the 200-meter backstroke, upsetting favorite Ryan Lochte, who took bronze. Ryosuke Irie of Japan won silver.

Read it at The New York Times

TMI

Only One-Night Stands for Lochte

Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

Says his mom.

In what might be one of the most cringe-inducing parent interviews of the Olympic Games, Ryan Lochte’s mom reveals that her son has time for only one-night stands. The 27-year-old Olympian is “not able to give fully to a relationship because he’s always on the go,” Ike Lochte told Us Weekly. Having a long-term girlfriend “wouldn’t be fair to the girl,” she added. Lochte’s work ethic has been the subject of many human-interest pieces at the Olympics. NBC ran a story about his training regimen, which includes lifting tires.

Read it at Us Weekly

WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS

Gabby Douglas Wins Gold

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Aly Raisman finishes fourth in all-around.

The streak continues. Gabby Douglas became the third consecutive American female gymnast to win the all-around competition at the Olympics Thursday, securing the gold medal over Russian rivals Viktoria Komkova, who won silver, and Aliya Mustafina, who won bronze. Team USA’s other competitor, Aly Raisman, finished fourth, after tying for the bronze with Mustafina and losing a tiebreaker based on execution score.

Read it at The Wall Street Journal

Wimbledon Wave

Kate and William Join Mexican Wave at Wimbledon

CARL COURT / AFP / Getty Images

Royal wave

William and Kate entered fully into the Olympic spirit today, participating in a Mexican wave while seated in the Royal Box at Wimbledon, as they watched British player Andy Murray cruise to victory in the men's singles quarter finals against Nicolas Almagro of Spain today. Kate was seen crying after Murray was defeated in the Wimbledon final by Federer last month. Kate was wearing a £515 Stella McCartney knee-length dress, last worn to an opening at the National Portrait Gallery.

Badminton

'What's Not to Love?'

Bazuki Muhammad / Reuters

The badminton scandal isn't only a blow to the Olympics, but for China—a nation obsessed with gold medals, stars, and the 'feather hair ball'—it’s devastating, writes Dan Levin.

BEIJING – Every four years, the world tunes in to see Olympic athletes compete in a sport most Americans associate with gym-class rejects: badminton.Not so in China, where badminton is a national obsession for hundreds of millions of amateur and its top-ranked player, Lin Dan, 28, is a superstar on par with Michael Jordan during his NBA heyday—adorning billboards for sportswear brands and appearing in Redbull commercials. But this Olympics, badminton is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

FOUL PLAY

Chinese Badminton Coach Apologizes

Andres Leighton / AP Photo

Following expulsion of eight Olympic players.

Until this week, Americans generally associated badminton with backyard cookouts and P.E. requirements rather than an international cheating scandal that has given the sport a bad name. The Badminton World Federation secretary issued an apology on the heels of alleged foul play that resulted in eight women being disqualified from the Olympic games, saying the decision was made “for the best interest of all players”.  Accusations that four women’s doubles pairs had been deliberately losing their matches prompted an investigation into their behavior and subsequent removal of China’s top-seeded duo and other doubles pairs from the South Korean and Indonesian teams. The head coach of China’s badminton team told Chinese media he was “to blame” for the disqualification of the team’s top-seeded pair.

Read it at Reuters

THIS IS PERSONAL

Phelps, Lochte Showdown

Leon Neal, AFP / Getty Images

In 200-meter individual medley.

Redemption for the most-decorated Olympic athlete ever? Michael Phelps faces off against U.S. teammate Ryan Lochte in Thursday night’s 200-meter individual medley. In their last, hyped meeting, Lochte delivered a crushing blow and won gold, while Phelps could only muster a fourth-place finish. Lochte qualified first for Thursday’s final, while Phelps was only 98-hundredths of a second behind in third place. Phelps, who’s retiring after this Olympics, is chasing another record: one more individual gold would make him the first male swimmer to win an event in three consecutive Olympic games. Shortly before the race, Lochte will try to win the 200-meter backstroke as well.

Read it at ABC News

Photos!

15 Amazing Olympic Victory Faces

Whether it’s a medal, a match, or just a point, the athletes in London are pumped about winning. From the South African swimmer who beat Michael Phelps to Spain’s beach volleyballers, see 15 of the best celebrations.

YIKES

Olympics Boxing Judges Questioned

JACK GUEZ / AFP

Iranian heavyweight says there is “a fix.”

Olympic boxing judges and referees’ calls are being questioned after a boxer accused them of fixing a match while another boxer successfully appealed a loss. Iranian heavyweight Ali Mazaheri said he was disqualified because the match was fixed, although the International Amateur Boxing Association said the boxer had received three warnings before he was disqualified. Japanese bantamweight Satoshi Shimizu’s team is also appealing a match where Shimizu believed his opponent should have had three warnings against him—which would have resulted in disqualification. This time, The AIBA ruled in Shimizu’s favor and overturned the result.

Read it at Reuters

WATCH THIS!

6 Olympic Parent Freakouts

And you thought your kid’s soccer games were stressful. From Aly Raisman’s intensely focused ‘rents to Michael Phelps’s enthusiastic mom, see how these Olympic parents handle the pressure.

Aly Raisman’s Parents Bring It What's more stressful than competing in the Olympics? Watching your offspring compete, of course. U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman’s insanely nervous parents prove it in this viral clip from her 2012 London Olympics bar routine.  John Orozco’s Mom Just Can’t WatchWhen the going gets tough—just cover your eyes! That’s what U.S. gymnast John Orozco’s mom does. She’s even been known to leave the arena when the anxiety level gets too high.

Plus

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Will the Shootout Provoke Putin?

Will the Shootout Provoke Putin?

A pre-dawn firefight in Ukraine left at least one pro-Russian activist dead. Kiev fears this could be the pretext Putin has been looking for to roll his tanks across the border.

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Volleyball’s Silent Savior

Volleyball’s Silent Savior

Hugh McCutcheon’s steely resolve has put the U.S. women’s team in reach of their first gold. Tony Dokoupil on how the coach is coping with the murder that rocked his family at the last Games.