US sprinter Manteo Mitchell revealed he broke his leg half way round the track but still managed to finish the men’s 4×400 meter Olympic relay final.
Manteo Mitchell, a 25-year-old 200 and 400 meter 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 200-meter mark, I felt it break. I heard it.
“I even put out a little war cry, but the crowd was so loud you couldn’t hear it,” Manteo Mitchell said.
“I knew if I finished strong we could still get it (the baton) around. I saw Josh Mance motioning me in for me to hand it off to him, which lifted me.
“I didn’t want to let those three guys down, or the team down, so I just ran on it. It hurt so bad.”
Manteo Mitchell revealed he broke his leg half way round the track but still managed to finish the men's 4x400 meter Olympic relay final
Manteo Mitchell’s decision to go through the pain barrier allowed his U.S. team mates to sprint to a joint finish with the Bahamas in identical times of 2 minutes 58.87 seconds, the fastest ever run in the first round of the relay at the Olympic Games.
Manteo Mitchell, who ran his leg in 46.1 seconds, said that he had slipped on a stairway this week in the Olympic village but had completed workouts since, including a warm-up for Thursday’s race.
After the race an x-ray revealed he had broken his left fibula bone.
The U.S. team was already without 2008 Olympic 400m champion LaShawn Merritt, whose title defense lasted only moments last Saturday when he pulled up with hamstring problems.
The U.S., one of the favorites for gold, will name their final line-up on Friday.
London’s Olympic Stadium will welcome the athletics events later in the day, ensuring the Olympic Park’s busiest day since the Games opened a week ago.
More than 200,000 people will be at the park, prompting warnings for those not attending the Games to avoid the area.
The Central Line, which serves the Olympic Park in Stratford, is suspended from Liverpool Street to Leytonstone.
It follows a signal failure at Bethnal Green station, London Underground said. Tickets are being accepted on National Rail services in the area.
Friday’s events at the 80,000-capacity Olympic stadium will bring thousands more people pouring into the east London park and mean access to the neighboring Westfield shopping centre will be restricted for the next two days.
London's Olympic Stadium will welcome the athletics events later in the day
Only staff and Olympic ticket holders will be able to go into the centre between 10:30 BST and 17:00 as organizers seek to minimize congestion.
Transport for London (TFL) said public transport services and roads to the Olympic Park would be exceptionally busy on Friday and urged anyone not going to the site to avoid the area.
The Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee and Central lines are expected to be busier than usual, especially in the morning, evening and late-evening peaks and driving in central London should be avoided where possible, TFL said.
London’s transport commissioner Peter Hendy said: “This Friday and Saturday will be the busiest days of the Games so far as the Olympic Stadium opens its doors and sporting events continue to take place across the capital.
“Westfield Stratford City may not be open to shoppers without a ticket during these times but London has a rich and vast array of other attractions to offer during the Games.”
Li Yongbo, China’s Olympic badminton head coach, has apologized for his role after his two top players were disqualified for not playing to win.
Li Yongbo said: “It’s me to blame”, while disqualified player Yu Yang declared she was quitting the sport.
Yu Yang and partner Wang Xiaoli were among eight players disqualified for trying to lose games in an attempt to secure a better draw for the knockout stage.
Li Yongbo said: “As head coach, I owe the supporters of Chinese badminton and the Chinese TV audiences an apology,” according to official Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Yu Yang and partner Wang Xiaoli were among eight badminton players disqualified for trying to lose games in an attempt to secure a better draw for the knockout stage
After the outcome of the disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, Yu Yang wrote on the Weibo micro-blogging site: “This is my last time competing. Goodbye Badminton World Federation; goodbye beloved badminton.”
Apart from Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, South Korean badminton pairs Jung Kyung-Eun and Kim Ha-Na, and Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung, along with Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari of Indonesia were disqualified from the women’s doubles competition.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has charged eight female Olympic badminton players with “not using one’s best efforts to win a match”.
Four pairs of players – two from South Korea, one from China and one from Indonesia – could be disciplined.
Spectators booed the two badminton matches played at Wembley Arena on Tuesday, in which the four accused pairs of players were appearing.
China’s Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and South Koreans Jung Kyung-Eun and Kim Ha-Na are among those facing charges.
The longest rally in their game lasted four shots, with match referee Thorsten Berg coming on to court at one point to warn the players. The players also appeared to deliberately serve into the net and hit the shuttlecock out of the court.
Both pairs were already through to the quarter-finals. Reports have suggested they both wanted to lose to secure an easier draw.
The Badminton World Federation has charged eight female Olympic badminton players with not using one's best efforts to win a match
The unseeded South Koreans eventually won their match, meaning they would next play China’s Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei.
The South Korean pair did not comment, but Yu Yang said she and Wang Xiaoli were saving energy for the knockout stages.
Meanwhile, China’s Olympic sports delegation launched an investigation into the alleged “deliberate losing” by its badminton players, saying it opposed any behavior violating “sporting spirit and morality”, as reported by state media.
A later match between South Korean third seeds Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung and Indonesian pair Meiliana Juahari and Greysia Polii is also under scrutiny by the Badminton World Federation.
Both pairs of those teams had also already qualified for the knockout stages, with the winner of Group C to play Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and the Korean pairs to face each other if Kim Ha-Na and Kim Min-Jung lost.
At one point the referee, Thorsten Berg, again intervened and brandished a black card to disqualify the players. However, he then rescinded his decision following protests from the two teams.
Both teams appeared keen to lose and therefore not play the Chinese in the next round, but the Koreans eventually won by two sets to one.
A statement from the BWF confirmed that all four pairs would face charges of “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.
Chinese Olympic swimmer Ye Shiwen has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, after smashing a world record at the London Olympics.
Ye Shiwen, 16, won gold in the 400 m individual medley after breaking her personal best by at least five seconds.
She swam the last 50 m quicker than the men’s champion, prompting leading US coach John Leonard to describe her performance as “disturbing”.
There is no evidence against her and all medal winners are drug-tested.
She is due to race in the final of the 200m individual medley later on Tuesday.
Coach John Leonard, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, said her performance reminded him of the East German women swimmers in the 1980s who were doping on a systematic basis.
“History in our sport will tell you that every time we see something, and I will put quotation marks around this, unbelievable, history shows us that it turns out later on there was doping involved,” John Leonard told the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
Chinese Olympic swimmer Ye Shiwen has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, after smashing a world record at the London Olympics
China’s swimming team was repeatedly hit by doping scandals in the 1990s.
Seven swimmers tested positive for drugs in the 1994 Asian Games, and four years later four Chinese swimmers failed pre-tournament drug tests before swimming world championships in Australia.
But Ye Shiwen denied the allegations, telling reporters: “My results come from hard work and training and I would never use any banned drugs. The Chinese people have clean hands.”
The accusations have sparked an angry reaction from Chinese internet users, who have accused other nations of jealousy.
Chinese swimming team leader Xu Qi told China’s state-run Xinhua news agency that Ye Shiwen’s result had been expected.
“To compare Ye’s result with Lochte’s is meaningless,” he said.
“Ye was behind after 300m and she needed to try her best to win the race, but Lochte had already established the lead before the freestyle and didn’t need to do his upmost.”
Arne Ljungqvist, medical commission chairman for the International Olympic Committee, called the speculation sad.
“To raise suspicion immediately when you see an extraordinary performance – to me it is against the fascination of sport,” he said.
All medal winners at the Olympics are drug tested. In addition, any athlete whose performance is far better than anything they have achieved before can be targeted for extra tests.
China’s anti-doping chief has said that Chinese athletes have undergone nearly 100 drugs tests since arriving in London, and that not a single Chinese athlete had tested positive.
Who is Ye Shiwen?
• Born in 1996 in eastern city of Hangzhou
• Started swimming in 2003, reportedly after her teacher noticed she had large hands
• Joined the national team in 2008
• Won the 200m and 400m individual medley at the 2010 Asian Games
A number of Olympic swimmers are walking out to the pool wearing headphones – and keeping them on right up until the last seconds before they climb onto the blocks.
Athletes are said to favor them because they allow them to stay focused on the race in the moments before they take them off to swim and not be distracted by the crowd.
But the practice has divided opinion, with a number of people criticizing the swimmers for ignoring the fans, as the headphones block out their cheers.
Sun Yang, who went on to win a gold medal, was one of several seen wearing the “Beats by Dr. Dre” headphones at the swimming finals on Saturday night.
They are designed to block out all background noise.
A number of Olympic swimmers at London Games are walking out to the pool wearing headphones
US swimming star Michael Phelps – who has 14 Olympic gold medals – keeps his headphones firmly in place until the last minute as he stays focused.
But fans expressed dismay on Twitter, with Ella McSweeney writing: “If I was a fan who travelled to support a swimmer who then appeared with headphones on, I’d feel like being a bit quiet.”
Another wrote: “Why are these swimmers coming out wearing headphones? Take them off and soak up the atmosphere you idiots.”
But they did find some support. Spectator Mari Fotherby told the Independent: “Why shouldn’t they wear them? They train hard 364 days of the year. If they want to use music to stay calm as they get ready to race then they should.”
As well as disappointing the fans, the swimmers who wore the headphones are likely to have left Samsung, the official technology sponsor of the games, somewhat miffed.
Beats by Dre headphones are owned by one of their fiercest corporate rivals, HTC.
Last night a LOCOG spokesperson confirmed that Beats by Dre were not an official sponsor.
“It must be that the athletes just like them,” a spokesman said.
Nobody at the company Beats by Dre was available to comment on whether the headphones had been given to athletes for free.
Organizers LOCOG announce that more Olympic tickets will go back on sale after the row over empty seats.
It said an initial 3,000 tickets – including 600 gymnastics tickets – were “put back into the pot” and sold on the London 2012 website on Sunday night.
More tickets returned by sports federations would be released the night before events, LOCOG added.
Transport chiefs say London’s morning rush hour went well on the first full working day of the Games.
More Olympic tickets will go back on sale after the row over empty seats
Prime Minister David Cameron, meanwhile, said the empty seats were “disappointing” but not “a unique episode” with other previous Games facing similar problems.
At some venues, seats in the accredited “Olympic family” areas – reserved for groups including officials, sports federations, athletes, journalists and sponsors – have remained empty.
LOCOG communications director Jackie Brock-Doyle said organizers were doing everything they could to fix the problem.
“We’re doing this session by session, talking to the accredited groups – including obviously broadcast media and everybody else – and asking whether we can release, for the different sessions, tickets back into the public pot,” she said.
And she said accredited seating for London 2012 was down 15% on previous Games.
Lord Sebastian Coe – who has said Olympics venues are “stuffed” with sports fans – had earlier said that some empty seats would be filled by servicemen and women, as well as local students and teachers.
And shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said unused tickets should also be given to police officers and their families.
Queen Elizabeth II has declared the London Olympics officially open, before seven young athletes were given the honor of lighting the ceremonial flame.
The show featured British celebrities and sportspeople, including David Beckham and Bradley Wiggins, and screen characters Mr. Bean and James Bond.
In a speech watched around the world, Games chief Jacques Rogge said: “The Olympic Games are coming home tonight.”
Flag-bearer Sir Chris Hoy earlier led out Team GB to cheers and applause.
The identity of who was to light the symbolic flame was shrouded in secrecy ahead of the ceremony.
The group of seven, chosen by British Olympic champions, each lit a single tiny flame on the ground, igniting 205 petals, one for each competing nation or territory.
Long stems then rose towards each other to form a cauldron, signifying unity.
The flame made a dramatic arrival via the Thames on a speedboat carrying Beckham, who handed the torch to Sir Steve Redgrave.
The show, billed as a quirky take on UK life, started with iconic images of London and Britain being beamed to the world, and all four countries of the UK being represented in song.
Queen Elizabeth II has declared the London Olympics officially open, before seven young athletes were given the honor of lighting the ceremonial flame
The field at the stadium in Stratford, east London, was turned into a green meadow, with sheep, horses, chickens, ducks and geese among the cast.
The show took the watching world through “great revolutions in British society”, from an agricultural setting through to the Industrial Revolution itself.
Steelworkers began forging material that transformed into golden Olympic rings, which appeared to float into the air to be suspended above the performers.
There were cheers too as the crowd saw a film featuring an unlikely meeting between the Queen and agent 007 James Bond.
“Good evening Mr. Bond,” the Queen said in the clip, before they left together, apparently heading towards the Olympic Stadium in a helicopter.
The aircraft then flew over the stadium to the sound of the Bond theme tune, as two figures parachuted down, one dressed as the monarch.
As if by magic, the Queen appeared in the stands – part of a crowd of about 80,000 – amid cheers.
James Bond was not the only much-loved British character to take part. Mr. Bean prompted laughter when he appeared as part of the orchestra playing the Chariots of Fire theme.
The ceremony also celebrated the National Health Service by featuring a cast of more than 1,000 volunteers recruited from hospitals across the country, including Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London.
All the action was played out to a soundtrack of some of Britain’s most iconic bands – including the Clash, the Rolling Stones, Queen, the Sex Pistols and David Bowie – with Sir Paul McCartney performing live at the show’s close.
The athletes taking part in the Games – led by Greece, the Olympics’ spiritual home – made laps of the stadium bearing their nations’ flags.
A Red Arrows fly-past marked the start of the pre-show at the symbolic time of 20:12 BST.
And Bradley Wiggins, wearing a yellow jersey, rang the world’s largest harmonically-tuned bell to launch the opening ceremony.
As the “Isles of Wonder” show began, artistic director Danny Boyle pledged a ceremony with a theme of “this is for everyone”.
The Oscar-winning film director later tweeted: “Thank you, everyone, for your kind words! Means the world to me.”
Earlier, crowds of people, many of them dressed in their nation’s colours, streamed into the Olympic Park for the show.
Transport ran smoothly and the crowds moved quickly through security.
The day of celebration began at 08:12 BST with a mass bell ringing. Big Ben rang for three minutes for the first time since King George VI’s funeral in 1952.
The three-and-a-half hour show was rehearsed more than 200 times, with each of the 7,500 volunteers spending on average 150 hours practicing during the build-up.
The event used 12,956 props and boasted a million-watt PA system using more than 500 speakers.
Thousands of fans also gathered at other outdoor locations across the capital to watch the show on big screens.
Greek Olympian triple jumper Voula Papachristou has been expelled from her country’s Olympic team over comments she posted on Twitter which were deemed racist.
Voula Papachristou was due to compete in the London 2012 Games, which officially start this Friday.
But the Hellenic Olympic Committee said her posts mocking African immigrants and expressing support for a far-right party went against the Olympic spirit.
Voula Papachristou has apologized for the “unfortunate and tasteless joke”.
As well as the comment on Sunday referring to the West Nile virus and Africans living in Greece, Voula Papachristou had also reposted a tweet by Ilias Kasidiaris, a politician with the far-right Golden Dawn party, criticizing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s stance on immigration.
She had previously retweeted several links to videos promoting the views of Golden Dawn, which won 7% of the vote in Greece’s recent elections, and had directly communicated online with Ilias Kasidiaris.
Ilias Kasidiaris gained notoriety for slapping one left-wing woman politician and throwing water over another, during a heated debate on a television show.
Triple jumper Voula Papachristou has been expelled from Greek's Olympic team over racist comments she posted on Twitter
Voula Papachristou tweeted him on his name day last week: “Many happy years, be always strong and true!!!”
The athlete’s remarks had prompted calls from the public and within the Greek government for her to be thrown out of the team.
The head of the Greek committee, Isidoros Kouvelos, said the 23-year-old had “showed no respect for the basic Olympian value”.
“She made a mistake and in life we pay for our mistakes,” he told Skai TV.
Earlier in the week, Voula Papachristou had responded online, saying “that’s how I am” and that she was not like a stuck CD: “If I make mistakes, I don’t press the replay! I press Play and move on!”
But in a statement on her Facebook page and Twitter on Wednesday, Voula Papachristou said she was “very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights”.
She apologized to her friends, family, fellow athletes and the national team, but said it would not have been possible for her to compete if she did not support the values of the Games.
“Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races.”
The Greek committee said she had been “placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement”.
However, her coach George Pomaski said the punishment had been too harsh and she had already apologized.
“This is a big disappointment not only for her but for her family and for myself, and anyone involved in the Greek team,” he said.
George Pomaski said he had been unable to contact Voula Papachristou for several hours.
Greece is experiencing a sharp rise in racism, with the popularity of right-wing parties such as Golden Dawn soaring.
The government has come under pressure to crack down on racism in all domains, including sport.
The Olympic Charter
The Olympic Charter, established by Baron Pierre de Coubertin the founder of the modern competition, states that: “The practice of sport is a human right.”
Everyone should be able to play sport “without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”
The spirit of the games is about the power of sport over politics, where perseverance and hard work are paid off with medals; where ordinary people can become national heroes.
This ideology has been expanded over the years. In the words of the London2012 official education programme, Get Set: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games are about much more than sporting excellence.”
Women’s football is the first event of the Olympics and is to kick off later, two days before the official opening ceremony.
The Team GB women’s football side will get 18 days of sport under way at 16:00 BST against New Zealand at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
Designated Games Lanes, covering about 30 miles of roads and off limits to the public, have begun operating in London.
And government lawyers will go to court to try to stop a public sector workers’ strike on the eve of the Games.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will join Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan in Cardiff for the first event of the 2012 Games.
Women’s football is the first event of the Olympics and is to kick off later, two days before the official opening ceremony
Team GB coach Hope Powell said opening the Games was a “great honour” and would hopefully give people “a greater appreciation of how good women’s football actually is”.
And captain Casey Stoney said she hoped the fixture could “raise the profile of women’s football”.
“It’s a global thing, not just for our nation, and hopefully we can put on a good show – but we are just focused on getting the job done.”
Team GB drew 0-0 against Sweden in their final warm-up fixture at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium last Friday.
Relative unknowns Cameroon and heavily fancied Brazil will take each other on at the stadium after the GB game, and four other matches in the same competition are also taking place later in the day at Hampden Park in Glasgow and the City of Coventry Stadium.
The Olympic Route Network (ORN), made up of 175 miles of roads connecting up the main Olympic venues across the country, comes into force on Wednesday.
It is designed to make it easier for athletes and officials to get around the Games and has seen junctions blocked off, bus stops moved and parking bays suspended.
As part of the ORN, the designated Games Lanes in London will be in operation between 06:00 BST and midnight and only open to VIPs, athletes and accredited media.
Ordinary motorists going into the lanes face fines of £130 ($205).
Mark Evers, Transport for London’s (TfL) director of Games transport, said commuters must leave more time for their journeys.
“The worst case scenario for us is that people try to chance it and, those first few days of the Games, that they try to do what they ordinarily do – and I can guarantee all people that travel around London, those first few days of the Games are going to be really busy,” Mark Evers said.
“It’s vitally important that they come up with a plan that takes into account the busy parts of the network.”
TfL commissioner Peter Hendy said the early signs were positive: “We’ve seen a marked reduction in road traffic in the last 10 days, which is along the lines of what we asked Londoners and people who work in London to do.”
In the High Court, the government is to argue for an injunction to prevent public sector workers, including immigration and passport workers at Heathrow and other airports, taking strike action on Thursday.
Thousands of spectators are expected to arrive at Heathrow Airport on that day.
The Home Office says it believes there was a “procedural error” in the ballot of members of the Public and Commercial Services union.
But the PCS said it was “confident” the strike was legal and would happen.
The government insists contingency plans are in place in the event of industrial action.
Triple jumper Phillips Idowu, former gymnast Nadia Comaneci and ex-basketball star John Amaechi will carry the flame on day 64 of the torch relay between Greenwich and Waltham Forest.
Nadia Comaneci and John Amaechi will meet on the roof of the North Greenwich Arena.
Pop star Dizzee Rascal and footballer Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match in March, will also carry the flame.
Saturday’s 36-mile relay is the first full day in London.
Highlights will include visits to the Cutty Sark and the 2012 Games Equestrian Arena in Greenwich.
The day will begin at Greenwich Park at 07:22 BST and the first of 143 torches will be lit outside the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
It will be carried by 15-year-old Natasha Sinha, who was her nominated for her dedication to swimming and cross country running, and she will take the flame through Greenwich Park into the Games equestrian arena.
There it will be passed to another 15-year-old, Ella Statham, who was chosen for her volunteer work with the London Football Association.
Ella’s route will take her past Queen’s House and the Old Royal Naval College.
At about 07:43 BST the flame will be carried on a lap around the restored Cutty Sark ship, which was one of the last tea clippers to be built and was one of the fastest of its kind.
Triple jumper Phillips Idowu, former gymnast Nadia Comaneci and ex-basketball star John Amaechi will carry the flame on day 64 of the torch relay
The torchbearer at the Cutty Sark will be Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, who was the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world.
He also founded the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 1995 and has been a Cutty Sark Trustee since 2011.
Two hours later the relay will arrive at the Woolwich Live Site where Jaco Van Gass, a soldier with the First Parachute Regiment, will carry the flame.
The 25-year-old was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while serving in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of his left arm, a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, loss of muscle and tissue from the upper left thigh, multiple shrapnel wounds and a fractured knee, fibula and tibia.
In 2011, Jaco Van Gass was one of four injured servicemen in the Walking With The Wounded team who set a world record by walking to the North Pole.
At about 09:52 BST legendary gymnast Nadia Comaneci – winner of five Olympic gold medals and the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 – will meet ex-basketball star John Amaechi on the roof of the North Greenwich Arena, where they will exchange the flame.
The arena is the venue for the London 2012 gymnastics events and basketball finals.
In Newham, British javelin legend Tessa Sanderson-White will carry the flame. She won gold at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and is the only British woman to have done so in an Olympic throwing event.
Saturday’s relay will also include stints from London’s youngest and oldest torchbearers.
Chester Chambers, 12, was nominated for representing his classmates on the Thomas Tallis School Council, fundraising and helping to develop an anti-bullying. He will carry the flame in Greenwich.
At the other end of the age spectrum, centenarian Fauja Singh will carry his torch in Newham. The 101-year-old started his career as a marathon runner at the age of 89 and has now completed nine marathons.
His personal best time of 5 hours and 40 minutes was set at the 2003 Toronto Waterfront Marathon and is a world record for the over-90s. This year he completed the London Marathon in 7 hours and 49 minutes.
At about 14:20 BST Tahmina Begum will carry the flame at Stepney Green Park. The 19-year-old was the first qualified Bangladeshi female football referee and has been officiating local league football matches in east London since 2010.
Visits to Clissold Park, Hackney Town Hall and Leyton Cricket Ground will follow before Muamba carries the flame as the last torchbearer of the day.
The 24-year-old was playing for Bolton against Tottenham on 17 March when he had a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch. It was later revealed that his heart stopped beating for more than an hour.
He was discharged from hospital on 16 April, having been fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, and has not ruled out the possibility of playing professional football again.
An evening celebration, featuring entertainment from Rizzle Kicks and Twist and Pulse, will be held at Chestnuts Field in Waltham Forest.
The flame will be carried by a total of 8,000 people during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.
Nick Buckles, the chief executive of security firm G4S, will go before MPs later to explain why his company was unable to provide the Olympics staff it promised.
Nick Buckles has already apologized after 3,500 extra troops had to be deployed to meet the firm’s shortfall.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was no time for a “witch-hunt” but “contingency plans” were in place if G4S further failed to deliver.
It has emerged police have also helped fill gaps left by the company.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the national Olympic security co-ordinator, said that the “basic plan” for the Games remained “exactly the same”, albeit with “a different mix of people”.
“I’m satisfied that we have got a very strong partnership – a group of people – who are working together with one goal, and that is to make sure the Olympics pass off safely and securely,” he said.
“In the event of a major incident happening, everybody understands that the police will take over and run that major incident while supported by everybody else,” he added.
Nick Buckles, G4S chief executive, will go before MPs to explain why his company was unable to provide the Olympics staff it promised
Theresa May told the Commons on Monday that G4S had “repeatedly” promised they would exceed targets.
Nick Buckles, who is due to appear before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, has said he is “bitterly disappointed” at his company’s failure to meet the terms of its contract.
The company, by its own admission, stands to lose up to £50 million ($80 million) on the contract, worth a total of about £280 million ($445 million), after being unable to provide the 10,000 staff it had been contracted to deliver.
Labour MP David Winnick, who sits on the MPs’ committee, said he wanted to know why G4S had not told the authorities earlier what was going on.
“It’s a shambles and it’s unfortunate to say the least,” he said.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government had “moved very quickly” when it learned of the company’s staffing issues.
“We would have been failing in our job as ministers if a contract had gone wrong and we didn’t have a back-up plan that worked.”
He said they would continue to monitor the contract.
Asked if it might be necessary to call on further troops, he replied: “Of course if G4S don’t deliver what they now say they can provide, we have contingency plans.”
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed army officials have met G4S over security.
But a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Olympic security remains a civilian and police-led operation which has not changed.
“For many months the MoD has been working closely with G4S with military personnel embedded as Olympic security plans have developed. As you would expect, the level of liaison has increased as the Games has drawn closer and the military contribution has increased.”
Police meanwhile have had to deploy extra officers at short notice from eight UK forces to do Olympic security work after the company’s staff failed to turn up to venues.
G4S said security was tightened at venues before staff was assigned, but that this was being rectified over the “coming days” and should lead to the withdrawal of police from roles assigned to private security.
Greater Manchester Police had to deploy officers to provide security at a hotel in Salford where four Olympic football teams will stay – after only 17 of an expected 56 G4S staff turned up for work.
In the Commons on Monday the home secretary reiterated the government only knew on Wednesday that there would not be enough G4S security guards and had reacted quickly.
In her statement to MPs, Theresa May denied the company had “deliberately deceived” the government, insisting the firm’s problem was “workforce supply and scheduling”.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said David Cameron was involved in the decision to deploy extra soldiers.
Heathrow airport had its busiest day ever on Monday as Olympic athletes and officials started arriving from 50 countries. The airport handled nearly a quarter of a million passengers.
Those arriving were the first to use dedicated Games Lanes on the M4.
The Kazakh Olympic team is hoping to boost its chances of sporting success at London 2012 with horsemeat sausages.
Sports officials in Kazakhstan say that the traditional dish may help the athletes’ performance.
But it is unclear whether the sausages will be allowed into the UK, because of strict import controls on meat.
Kazakhstan is fielding 114 athletes at the London games, which begin in two weeks.
The Kazakh Olympic team is hoping to boost its chances of sporting success at London 2012 with horsemeat sausages
Horsemeat is an indispensable part of the traditional Kazakh diet, and a dried horsemeat sausage known as “kazy” is particularly cherished.
The Kazakh team is made up mainly of boxers, wrestlers and weightlifters, all sports associated with a protein-rich diet.
“We’ll bring horse meat and caviar for each team,” sports official Elsiyar Kanagatov said, adding that athletes could achieve “outstanding results” if fed properly.
Oil-rich Kazakhstan is fiercely ambitious and there is also the promise of hard cash should athletes succeed – $200,000 for a gold medal, $150,000 for silver and $75,000 for bronze, our correspondent says.
The team has won 39 medals including nine gold since its debut at the Olympics in 1996.
Danny Boyle, artistic director of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, has apologized to volunteers over “spoilers” appearing in the press.
In an email sent to the 10,000 members of the public participating in the 27 July event, Danny Boyle asked them to “stay virtuous” and “protect the show”.
“Many of you have been dismayed by the media scrutiny on the show,” he wrote.
“I am sorry that, despite our best efforts, we appear to be unable to stop these stories appearing in the press.”
At a media briefing last month, the Oscar-winning director revealed the ceremony would feature a recreation of the “British countryside” featuring country scenes and farmyard animals.
Danny Boyle, artistic director of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, has apologized to volunteers over "spoilers" appearing in the press
In the weeks that followed, several newspapers published follow-up stories revealing additional, unsanctioned information about the event.
“Some of you have asked why we agreed to the two media briefings we have done when <<open season>> continues on trying to reveal every aspect of our work to the public ahead of 27 July,” wrote Danny Boyle in his email.
“We thought they would be a good way to satisfy the media’s curiosity about our show but, in the case of certain papers, it hasn’t quenched their desire to be the first to reveal every detail possible.”
London 2012 organizing committee chairman Lord Coe made similar comments on Twitter at the weekend asking for details to be kept secret.
“Share the frustration of volunteer performers and the public at Opening Ceremony being unofficially trailed. Let’s #savethesurprise,” he said.
One billion people worldwide are expected to watch the opening ceremony, which will feature music by electronic duo Underworld and a “harmonically-tuned” bell weighing 23 tons.
Cast rehearsals continue at the Olympic stadium in east London, which has been fitted with a million-watt sound system.
Cast members have been asked to sign and abide by a non-disclosure agreement.
Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter, will not only look the part at the upcoming London Olympic Games, she will be living like her fellow competitors, too.
Zara Phillips, Princess Anne’s daughter, is to be given no special treatment, it has emerged, staying in the Olympic village and sharing the same security and transport as other athletes.
On Monday, Zara Phillips, 31, told of her excitement at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Usain Bolt during her stay.
Zara Phillips, who missed out on two previous Olympics due to injuries to her horse, promised to give her “best performance” in front of a home crowd in London.
Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter, will not only look the part at the upcoming London Olympic Games, she will be living like her fellow competitors, too
She said: “Obviously it will be great to be part of the Olympics and get the atmosphere and the buzz of being a part of it.
“A lot of the time, the equestrian is quite far out so they’ve made a really big effort this time to try and have us part of the Olympics and benefit from that.”
Zara Phillips, who will ride as part of the five-strong eventing team at Greenwich Park, around six miles from the main Olympic park, said Her Majesty had been delighted when she told her that she had made the Olympic team.
The former sports personality of the year missed out on Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 after her then horse, Toytown, suffered late injuries.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed because we’ve still got a few weeks to go and we all know what horses are like,” she said.
Equestrian performance director Will Connell said the eventing team would stay in the Olympic village – and was adamant their royal member would be well protected by the security put in place by Olympics organizers.
A torchbearer has proposed to his eight-month pregnant girlfriend during day 31 of the Olympic torch relay from Middlesbrough to Hull.
David State, 25, from Redcar, who works with the Scout movement and raises money for charity, knelt as he asked Christine Langham, 27, to marry him.
She accepted and David State then had to carry on his stint in Loftus, Teesside.
He described the moment as “absolutely amazing” and Christine Langham joked: “I nearly had my baby there and then.”
David State said it had all been pre-arranged with relay organizers LOCOG, who gave him 300m to run before stopping to propose.
“Then I had to keep running with the torch for 300 m after that, so the words <<I’ve got to go>> came out of my mouth as soon as I’d proposed,” he said.
He added he was told afterwards that Christine Langham was “surprised” and in “floods of tears”.
David State, 25, from Redcar, who works with the Scout movement and raises money for charity, knelt as he asked Christine Langham, 27, to marry him
She said: “I saw him running up the hill and I was pretty proud at that. I was trying not to cry. And then he gave his torch to somebody and then he got down on one knee and I nearly passed out!”
Some of the biggest cheers of the day were reserved for Margaret “Jean” Bishop, who at 90 is one of the oldest torchbearers of the relay.
She is known as the “Bee Lady of Hull” as she collects money for charity dressed as a bee in the city’s shopping centre.
She carried the torch amid huge support in the early evening sunshine in her home city.
The relay started with the Olympic flame being carried across Middlesbrough’s landmark Transporter Bridge.
Crowds gathered to watch as James Coupland, 17, came down from the top of the 225 ft (69 m) high bridge, which is celebrating its 100th birthday.
James Coupland helps out with sport at several local primary schools.
Earlier in the day’s 109-mile journey, the flame was carried on a steam engine on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
After arriving in Whitby, the flame was taken on board locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley, which holds the world record for being the fastest steam engine since World War II, achieving a speed of 112mph in 1959.
Kelly Williams carried the flame as they travelled to Pickering.
The 25-year-old from Scarborough is a PE teacher who has raised more than £20,000 ($32,000) to help underprivileged children in Zambia.
The relay travelled through Middlesbrough, Redcar, Marske-by-the-Sea, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Brotton, Carlin How, Loftus, Hinderwell, Lythe, Sandsend, Pickering, Filey, Bridlington, Beverley and Hull.
Other torchbearers among the 133 people who will carried the flame on Monday included Great Britain rower Tom Ransley, 26, who took up the flame in Pickering. Ransley was part of the crew that won silver at the 2010 World Championships.
During the morning the relay passed through the Victorian coastal resorts of Redcar and Scarborough, the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast.
The evening celebration is taking place in West Park, Hull, where rock indie trio Little Comets and dance act Twist and Pulse are performing.
Amy Hopkin, from Hull, was the last torchbearer of the day, carrying the flame into the evening celebration at West Park, where a cauldron was lit during the festivities.
The 31-year-old, who has Down’s Syndrome, travels the world as part of a British gymnastic display team.
On Sunday, the day’s events started with England cricketer Paul Collingwood carrying the torch through Durham and ended with a party in Middlesbrough.
A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.
Angelina Jolie has invited the Duchess of Cambridge to the Olympics party she is throwing alongside fiancé Brad Pitt.
The Hollywood couple has hired out London’s Victoria and Albert and are hosting an Olympics-themed Night At The Museum.
The party, to take place on 25 July, two days before the official Olympics party, is to be held in honor of sporting heavyweight Muhammad Ali.
The glamorous soiree is intended to raise funds for the couple’s chosen charity, Sports for Peace.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who are currently renting in London while Angelina is filming for her movie, Maleficient (and rumored to be moving to the UK on a more permanent basis) plan to throw open the doors to their $30 million townhouse for the mother of all after-parties.
Angelina Jolie has invited the Duchess of Cambridge to the Olympics party she is throwing alongside fiancé Brad Pitt
A source told the Daily Mirror: “The who’s who of British and American celebrity will be in attendance, and invitees have been ordered not to take any photos from their phones.”
Other invited A-listers include David and Victoria Beckham, Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Prince Harry.
Whether Kate Middleton and Prince William accept the invitation remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure, if Kate does make an appearance, all eyes will be on the wardrobe choices of the event’s two leading ladies.
The Olympic Stadium will be transformed “into the British countryside” for the opening ceremony of the Games on 27 July, which has a £27 million ($43.2 million) budget.
A cast of 10,000 volunteers will help recreate country scenes, against a backdrop featuring farmyard animals and landmarks like Glastonbury Tor.
The opening scene will be called Green and Pleasant, artistic director Danny Boyle revealed.
He added the ceremony would create “a picture of ourselves as a nation.”
The Olympic Stadium will be transformed "into the British countryside" for the opening ceremony of the Games on 27 July
“The best way to tell that story is through working with real people,” said Danny Boyle, who has reserved a role for NHS nurses in proceedings.
There have already been 157 cast rehearsals and Danny Boyle added: “I’ve been astounded by the selfless dedication of the volunteers, they are the pure embodiment of the Olympic spirit and represent the best of who we are as a nation.”
Europe’s largest bell will ring inside the stadium to start the Shakespeare-inspired spectacle, featuring 900 children.
One billion people are expected to watch the opening ceremony.
Danny Boyle, best known for directing Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, said the show was inspired by The Tempest and would be about a land recovering from its industrial legacy.
The Stadium’s 27-ton bell was cast at London’s Whitechapel Foundry, where 13.5-ton Big Ben was cast in 1856, and is inscribed with a quote from The Tempest’s Caliban: “Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises.”
It will hang at one end of the stadium, and Danny Boyle said he wanted people to hear it “for hundreds of years”.
A full dress rehearsal will be held for a capacity crowd of 80,000 in the Olympic Stadium, which will be fitted with a million-watt sound system.