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VIDEO: What If Danny Boyle Directed the Entire Olympics?

Adek Berry, AFP / Getty Images

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?

Photo Essay

Nearly at the Olympics

Charles Ommanney for Newsweek

For most East Londoners, the Olympics are something far off, only to be seen through a fence.Yet even in this hardscrabble neighborhood, excitement is building. Photographer Charles Ommanney captures the scenes.

Books

London’s Sporty Side

AP Photo

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.

Huh?

Wacky Olympic Mascots Over Time

Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty

The symbol of this year’s games is the latest in a rich tradition of quirky mascots.

Watch This!

6 Olympic Tearjerker Moments

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.

WITCH HUNT

Olympics Gender Bender

Stu Forster / Getty Images

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.

Sin City

London, Sex Capital?

Frank May, DPA / Corbis

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.

OOPS!

Olympics: Sorry for Flag Flap

Stanley Chou / Getty Images

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.

Read it at Associated Press

TIGHT SPOT

Greek Jumper Banned from Olympics

Getty Images

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.

Read it at Associated Press

article

The Number Games: Daily Beast Olympics Spectator Challenge

Miguel Medina, AFP / Getty Images

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.

HEAD START

Women's Soccer Starts Olympics Early

Graham Stuart, AFP / Getty Images

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.”

Read it at Detroit Free Press

Water Babies

Why Ban Full-Body Swimsuits?

Christophe Simon, AFP / Getty Images

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.

Gold-Medal Campaigning

Obama and Romney’s Olympic Dreams

Leslie E. Kossoff, Pool / Getty Images

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.

Foodies

Olympic Eats

Matt Dunham / AP Photo

Behind the scenes at the Olympics, a London food team has been plotting to serve 14 million fresh, local, and healthy meals to athletes and audiences—and to keep the culinary revolution going once the Games are over. By Katrina Heron.

Olympic training regimens are the stuff of legend, but here’s one you probably haven’t heard of: spend 18 hours a day for five years researching every fresh, healthy, comestible, and delicious recipe the host nation can muster—and then be ready to serve them all at lightning speed.It’s a new sport, launched by an intrepid group of food planners charged with feeding the athletes—and everyone else—at the London-based Games of the XXX Olympiad, which kick off officially on Friday.

WHAT HAPPENS IN LONDON ...

Olympic Athletes Crash Grindr

Gay dating app couldn’t handle the high demand.

When gay Olympic athletes arrived in London this weekend, they got themselves settled, took a look around the Olympic village—and some promptly signed into Grindr, hoping to find either a nearby athlete or a local to hook up with. The gay dating app—which locates other users in close proximity—was so overwhelmed, it crashed within the first few minutes athletes landed in London. Luckily for everyone dependent on Grindr for their “day-to-day personal life”—including its founder, Joel Simkhai, who said he felt “disconnected” during the outage—the app was up and running after 24 hours. “Our tech team worked around the clock to solve the problems and to whip Grindr back into shape,” Simkhai said. Thank God!

Read it at People U.K.

Plus

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

Plus

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

The Brilliance of Billy Crystal

The Brilliance of Billy Crystal

In his one-man show, ‘700 Sundays’, Crystal interweaves the bitter and sweet—growing up Jewish in Long Beach, being the token Munchkin on the school basketball team—and reminds us what great comedy is.

Changing Times

Senior Dem's Tough Re-Election

If You Dare

For Sale: The Scariest Island Ever

Legal Authority

Go It Alone, Obama, for Democracy

Fashion Cheat Sheet

The Duchess's DVF Dress Sells Out

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.