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.
London's Olympic games kick off tonight with an opening ceremony orchestrated by 'Slumdog Millionaire' director Danny Boyle. But what if the filmmaker directed every event?
As the Olympics kick off, mayor Boris Johnson pays tribute to the city’s athletic ancestors.
Of all the contributions the Victorians made to the world, the most culturally pervasive today is almost certainly sport. I remember hearing Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA, shocking the world when he announced that football had been invented in China—when he knows fine well that the game that unites humanity was codified in London in 1863. Whatever the attractions of cuju, a third-century B.C. game that involved kicking a leather object through a hole in a piece of silk cloth, it is not Association Football.
The symbol of this year’s games—personified drops of steel that look curiously like a male body part—is the latest in a rich tradition of quirky mascots. From tigers and bears to beavers and dolls, see more.
For inspiring tales of triumph, nothing beats the Olympics. From Mary Lou Retton’s shocking 10.0 to the grace of wounded warrior Kerri Strug, relive the most emotional events from past Games.
Don’t Call it a Comeback, Call it a Miracle Heading into the 1988 Calgary Olympics, American Dan Jansen was the veritable golden boy of speed-skating: after setting a junior world record at the age of 16 at his first international competition, he finished first in both the 500-meter and 1,000-meter races at the 1986 ISU Speed Skating World Cup and again at the 500-meter in 1988. But when the starting shot fired during his race at the Calgary Games, taking another title was the furthest thing from his mind.
Catharine Arnold, author of 'The Sexual History of London,' tells Kevin Canfield that the host of the Summer Olympics is the city of lust, and has had a particularly randy past—Londoners even believed that having sex kept them from the Black Death.
With thousands of performers, a pop-in from James Bond and an Oscar-winning director running the show, the opening ceremonies for this summer’s London Olympics will be a spectacle. But the city can handle it. London, after all, has witnessed a wild celebration or two.As Catharine Arnold writes in her new book, The Sexual History of London: From Roman Londinium to the Swinging City, there was a time, during Roman rule of the city then called Londinium, “when scores of Londoners thronged the streets in raucous festivities, parading alongside models of giant phalluses, while orgies took place in full public view.
Jesse Ellison reports on the IOC’s quest to determine whether female athletes are too masculine.
The person carrying the flag for South Africa at Friday’s opening ceremonies might be one of the most-famous athletes on the planet. But her notoriety has little to do with her talent on the track; nor does it stem from her hardscrabble personal story. Instead, this girl—who went from a village where few have running water to reigning world champion—is best known for the fact that three years ago, the whole world was openly speculating about what, exactly, was going on under her running shorts.
Display South Korea’s instead of North Korea.
This is not a good start to things. Olympic organizers in London apologized on Wednesday for mistakenly displaying the South Korean flag on a jumbo screen during a North Korean soccer match that day. During the introductions, a North Korean player was introduced with shot of the South Korean flag—North Korea’s enemy—and then the players refused to take the field for nearly an hour. Olympic officials apologized and insisted “steps will be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” But the statement included another gaffe: the Olympic committee referred to the country as North Korea, rather than its official name of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Over tweets mocking African immigrants.
Greek athlete Paraskevi Papachristou has been kicked off her country’s team on Wednesday after she tweeted comments that mocked African immigrants. Calling her comments “statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement,” the Hellenic Olympic Committee then banned all members of the team from using social media such as Twitter and Facebook for anything not related to their games. Papachristou’s comments “are the same as violating fair play,” said Isidoros Kouvelos, the head of Greece’s Olympic mission. “We are not here just to get medals, but to promote the Olympic ideals, to show our character.” Papachristou tweeted on Sunday that “with so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!” prompting thousands of negative comments. Although Papachristou originally stood by her comments, she later apologized.
Newsweek and The Daily Beast will be tracking the numbers behind the London Olympics—whether you’re there or afar. From hours in traffic to the cost of a pint, join the Number Games!
The 2012 Number Games: The Olympic Spectator Challenge is an ambitious effort to track the London Olympics by the numbers. How much are spectators paying for a pint? How long did spectators wait in traffic? Each day we’ll ask our readers at the Olympics and at home about various things they’re seeing and thinking about the Games, sending the questions out over Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook in the morning U.K. time and again just about when the U.
Two days before Opening Ceremony.
Women’s soccer had its own opening ceremony Wednesday, two days before the official Olympics kickoff is scheduled. U.S. women’s soccer coach Pia Sundhage sang “Have a Little Faith in Me” at a Hampden Park, the one Olympic venue in Scotland, marking the start of the London Games’ competitive portion. Soccer and archery start their games two days before everyone else in order to complete a sufficient amount of competitions without completely exhausting the athletes. And the players are eager to let the Games begin. “You can feel the tension start to rise,” said U.S. goalie Hope Solo. “It’s a good positive energy, and people are going into tackles harder. It’s like unleash the beast. We’re waiting for someone to unleash us.”
Michael Phelps and his fellow Proteans will commence Olympic aquatic competitions Saturday. But will they be able to break as many records as they did during the controversial 2009 World Championships? Scientist John D. Barrow explains exactly how a swimsuit contributed to the fastest swimming times the world has ever seen and why it had to be outlawed.
The author of Mathletics: A Scientist Explains 100 Amazing Things About the World of Sports, tells us exactly how polyurethane swimwear works and why it's not allowed at the 2012 London Olympics.The world of swimming has recently emerged out of a very difficult period in which it had to come to grips with the role of new technology in the sport. We are used to technical improvements in pieces of equipment like tennis racquets, fiberglass vaulters’ poles, and golf clubs changing performance levels, but the appearance of whole-body polyurethane swimsuits has taken the issue to another level.
As the 2012 Olympics kick off in London this week, both candidates will try to link their presidential campaigns to the image of America at its medal-winning best.
Finally, a respite for both the Mitt Romney and Barack Obama campaigns. The Olympics begin this weekend in London, and both sides will be granted a reprieve from swing-state campaign trips, surprise visits to local diners, and daily hammering on insta-issues. Television cameras will focus across the pond, and for 17 days, both candidates’ latest movement won’t lead every news broadcast or front page.But that doesn’t mean they’ll be taking time off.
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.
Stop the self-delusion about Oscar Pistorius. He won by breaking the rules, too. By Buzz Bissinger.
She lost her dad, had surgery, and tested positive for a banned substance. How Hope Solo survived—and put U.S. women's soccer in position to bring home gold.
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.