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Hats Off, Danny Boy

Markus Schreiber / AP Photo

It was antic, manic, magical, and mischievous—and thoroughly British. Historian Simon Schama reviews the spectacle that was Danny Boyle’s Olympics opening ceremonies.

“Congratulations to Danny Boyle,” said Bob Costas at the end of the Olympics’ opening ceremonies Friday night, swiftly adding, lest he sound even a smidge Mittish, “Congratulations to the British people, too ... They did it right.”But he didn’t fool anyone. Beneath the pancake and the blazer was a network veteran unmistakably yet desperately struggling with the primal urge to scream, “What the fuck was that?!”That, Bob, was the way it can be done in a Britain where Elizabeth II (like the first queen of her name) gets to be a droll trouper, and the rest of the cast of thousands turn, unpredictably, antic, manic, sweetly loony, solemn, childish, magical (in the conjuring sense cued by The Tempest’s Caliban).

Making Waves

Swimming’s Dark Horse

Clive Rose / Getty Images

While Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps duke it out in the pool, another rival lurks. Meet Austrian Markus Rogan, who guzzles blood before matches and says he’s ‘10 times as smart.’

The battle for swimming supremacy in this year’s Olympic Games has been billed as a two-way contest. There’s Michael Phelps, who headed to London with 16 medals under his belt, and there’s Ryan Lochte, his golden American rival, known as much for his prowess in the pool as for his cheeky tweets, quirky catchphrases (“jeah”), and the diamond-encrusted jewelry he wears in his mouth. In their anticipated first face-off on Saturday, in the 400-meter individual swimming medley, Lochte handily won gold, relegating Phelps to fourth place.


The Olympics’ Outsiders

Charles Ommanney for Newsweek

London’s gritty East End, home to some of Britain’s poorest people, is playing host to a massive influx of gawkers. In a moving photo essay, area residents talk about the Games’ effect on daily life.

Golden Style

Ryan Lochte’s Best Fashion

Whether he's wearing a five piece suit or jeans and a t-shirt, America's new favorite Olympian is a strong fashion force. See pictures.

Olympic Stamina

Queen Gets Into Fun Packed Olympic Spirit


Is the Queen Having Fun?

There are not many 86-year-olds who would be comfortable being the centre of a billion people’s attention, but when Queen Elizabeth II chose to star in a short film with James Bond (aka Daniel Craig) which saw her climb into a Union Jack chopper and then have a body double parachute into the Olympic stadium, she undoubtedly became just that.The Queen did not leave the Olympic stadium until 1am on Saturday night, and then on Sunday morning, at 10am, she was back on site, touring the national aquatic centre and climbing the Orbit tower at the Olympic Village.


Upsets Open London Games

Al Bello / Getty Images

Lochte beats Phelps in 400 IM.

The first day of Olympic competition in London’s Summer Games kicked off Saturday with an array of upsets. American Ryan Lochte bested teammate Michael Phelps and took the gold in the 400-meter individual medley. It was the first time Phelps, who finished fourth, didn’t medal in an event since 2000. Defending champ Norway lost to France in women’s handball in its opening game by a score of 24-23. Men’s cycling saw one of the most dramatic upsets of the day as 38-year-old Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan beat out the heavily favored British team. Vinokourov had nearly retired last year when he broke his leg during the Tour de France. In tennis, American Serena Williams advanced to the second round of the singles draw with a straight-set win over Jelena Jankovic.

Read it at Yahoo Sports


NBC Olympic Opener Breaks TV Records

Pool / Getty Images

Close to 41 million tune in.

NBC has struck Olympic gold. Roughly 40.7 million people tuned in to the opening ceremonies on Friday night, making it the most-watched of any Summer or Winter Games, the Nielsen Company revealed Saturday. London beat out the previous champ: the 1996 Atlanta Games, which was watched by 39.8 million people. It was also the most-watched television event in the U.S. since this past winter, when 39.9 million people watched the Grammys.

Read it at NPR


Lochte Prevails in Swimming Final

David J. Phillip / AP Photo

Defeating Michael Phelps.

One of the biggest finals of the Olympics ended with a bang on Saturday. Ryan Lochte claimed gold in the 400m individual swimming medley, leaving Michael Phelps without any medal at all. As early as the first turn it was a head-to-head matchup between the two American teammates and friends. By the third turn, Lochte was well ahead. Phelps finished fourth. Michael Phelps, thought to be the greatest swimmer of all time, has 14 medals to his name; Lochte now has 4. But so far, Phelps has floundered this Olympics, only qualifying for the final by 7/100ths of a second. The medley is one of the most challenging races. Phelps won the event at the 2004 and 2008 Games, while Lochte won the event at last year’s World Championship.

Read it at USA Today


U.S. Women Beat Colombia

Graham Stuart, AFP / Getty Images


The U.S. women’s soccer team went home with a 3-0 win over Colombia on Saturday, the team’s second win of the day. A goal from Megan Rapinoe put the Americans in the lead in the first half of the game, and they hung on to it from there. Goalkeeper Hope Solo was left mostly idle during the game. Goals by teammates Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd bolstered the American win, which likely means the team will move on to a spot in the quarterfinals. The women will face off against North Korea on Tuesday.

Read it at Associated Press


Phelps Almost Misses Final Cut-Off

Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo

Will face off against Ryan Lochte.

Last Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps earned a record eight gold medals. This time around, the road ahead might be steeper. Phelps just barely qualified for the 400m individual medley final on Saturday after scoring the eighth fastest time in the heats –one rank lower, and he wouldn't have made it. Tonight's final will also feature Ryan Lochte, who has beaten Phelps in the past, and qualified today in third place. Due to his slower time, Phelps won't get to swim in an inside lane.

Read it at CNN


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.

The call came during his last practice before the Beijing Olympics.The men of Coach Hugh McCutcheon’s U.S. volleyball team had scorched through the summer, winning their first World League championship and sweeping the qualifying matches for the 2008 games. After two decades without an Olympic medal, the squad was peaking, exactly as McCutcheon had planned. And then the call, like a plot twist in a bad novel: he learned that his father-in-law had been stabbed to death and his mother-in-law critically wounded as they walked the Chinese capital.


11 Olympians to Follow on Twitter

The Games are under way! When fan favorites like Ryan Lochte, Oscar Pistorius, and Lolo Jones aren’t competing, they’re tweeting the details of Olympic life. Here are the 11 Olympians you should be following on Twitter.

Game Time

London Goes Wild

Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images

The Olympics host held back nothing for tonight’s opening ceremony, which featured cameos from the Queen, James Bond, and Mr. Bean. Tom Sykes reviews the spectacle. Plus, photos.

The Queen and James Bond jumped out of a helicopter in Union Jack parachutes! Mr. Bean played “Chariots of Fire!” There were UFOs!It was a quirky and bizarre opening ceremony for London’s Olympic Games tonight, taking the form of a visually spectacular if at times uneven odyssey through British history and culture.There were some early cringe-worthy scenes of pre-industrial Britain: maypole dancers, thatched cottages, mustachioed beekeepers, and a hirsute Kenneth Branagh dressed up as British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel orating from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.


Game Time!

London kicked off the 2012 Olympics with a lavish ceremony featuring everyone from Will & Kate to Duran Duran and a flock of sheep. See photos.

TV Guide

10 Must-See Olympic Events

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

The London Games officially kick off Friday with a lavish opening ceremony. From Michael Phelps’s showdown with Ryan Lochte to an underdog female weightlifter, The Daily Beast singles out the most anticipated moments.

From the time the opening ceremony begins Friday night to the final note of the closing festivities August 12, NBC plans to air more than 5,500 hours of Olympic coverage, split across seven channels and its website.Since sports fans, shockingly, don’t have 5,500 hours (the equivalent of 229 days) to devote to watching the Games, we’ve created a guide for Olympic enthusiasts on a time budget. Here are 10 of what are sure to be the most exciting, headline-grabbing, or at least unusual events, from Michael Phelps to LeBron James to the Spice Girls.


More From Olympics Beast

U.S. Women's Soccer Wins Gold

Call it the ultimate redemption. After Japan defeated the U.S. women's team in the world cup, the Americans came back to win the gold medal against the team.

  1. Becks Brings in the Torch Play

    Becks Brings in the Torch

  2. Boris Johnson's Zipline Fail Play

    Boris Johnson's Zipline Fail

  3. An Olympic 'Call Me Maybe' Lip Dub Play

    An Olympic 'Call Me Maybe' Lip Dub


Latest Olympics News & Views

How Tokyo Won the Games

How Tokyo Won the Games

Japan managed to beat historic Turkey for the 2020 Olympics.

Money Pit

The Curse of the Olympics

Call Your Bookie

The Race for the Olympics

Not Gold Medal

Sex, Bribes & Rhythmic Gymnastics

South Africa Tragedy

The Blade Runner’s BS

Go Team

Athletes to Watch

White folks Can Talk About Race

White folks Can Talk About Race

Brit Hume is wrong. Of course white people can talk about race, without being called racist. They just need to be smarter about it.

Straight Talk

Dishing With a Takedown Artist

Coming Home

Divided in the Wake of Fort Hood


Matisse: Innovator Until the End


The Rise of the Stealth Drone

Behind the Bench

All Eyes on the Coach

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.