SPORTS

EYES ON LONDON: A big Olympic night for Britain, Phelps calls it a career - and Pistorius

08/04/2012 06:09 EDT | Updated 10/04/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavour and details of the games to you:

___

ENNIS' GOLD

She grinned, blew kisses, and jumped up and down. Then Jessica Ennis leaned in for her gold medal, grinning ear to ear as the crowd roared and the music played — "God Save the Queen."

Before the medal ceremony, Ennis said of how she felt: "Massive relief. To come into this event with all that pressure with everyone just saying 'Oh, you are going to win gold. You are going to win gold.' I know how hard it has been to win it. Yeah, I just can't believe I've done it. All that pressure is off me now. It's so nice."

For Britain, this is a moment to remember.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer

___

JAMAICAN GOLD

Gold for Jamaica in the 100-meter — by the same runner for the second consecutive time.

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica won the 100 metres final in 10.75 seconds. The last woman to win the dash twice in a row was Gail Devers of the U.S. in 1992 and 1996.

Carmelita Jeter of the United States took the silver in 10.78. Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica earned the bronze.

—Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski

___

THEY ROAR FOR MO

Olympic Stadium is roaring for Mo Farah, and for the rest of his family.

The British distance runner turned on the jets on the final lap to run away with the men's 10,000 metres on Saturday night. Farah collapsed to the track in tears, then made the shape of a heart to tell 80,000 adoring fans that the feeling was mutual.

Minutes later, Farah's wife and stepdaughter met him on the track, and he scooped up his little girl in a warm embrace.

The family posed for pictures as the cheers continued, a family portrait that will be difficult to top.

—Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski

___

BRITAIN: WHAT A NIGHT

Quite a night for the host country at track and field.

First, Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon. Then, Greg Rutherford won the long jump. And to top it all off, Mo Farah won the 10,000 metres.

Three gold medals for Britain, one right after the other.

The 80,000 or so spectators crammed into Olympic Stadium — including Prince William and Prime Minister David Cameron — are loving every minute of it.

— Howard Fendrich — Twitter http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

___

QUICKQUOTE: BRITISH PM ON ENNIS

"Awe-inspiring win for Jessica Ennis. Proud to be cheering her on with the home crowd." — British Prime Minister David Cameron after Ennis won gold in the women's heptathlon.

— David Stringer - Twitter http://twitter.com/david_stringer

___

PARTING GIFT

One last ovation, one last trophy, one last ceremony for Michael Phelps.

FINA president Julio Maglione honoured Phelps with a special individual ceremony on the final night of his record-breaking Olympic career. Phelps finishes his career with a record 22 career medals and 18 golds.

Maglione handed Phelps a silver trophy to commemorate his brilliant career, and the touching gesture leaves just one question unanswered:

Shouldn't the trophy have been gold, too?

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski

___

TAKEN BY SURPRISE

They weren't expecting that one. The home crowd just went wild as Britain's Greg Rutherford took gold in the men's long jump.

From the surprised look on Rutherford's face, he couldn't quite believe it either.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb

___

CELEBRATING ENNIS

It might very well end up being one of the defining images of the London Olympics — for British fans, certainly: Jessica Ennis, head tilted back, eyes closed, arms spread open, as she crossed the finish line in the 800 metres, the last event of the heptathlon, which she won for the host country's first 2012 gold medal in track and field.

She then lied on her back, chest heaving, covering her face.

Ennis went over to collect a red-white-and-blue Union Jack flag emblazoned with the prescient wording: "Jessica Ennis. London 2012. Olympic champion."

Ennis carried that flag like a cape for a prolonged victory lap, trailed by the other heptathletes, to a soundtrack of the Beatles' song "Twist and Shout." As she waved to roaring spectators, thousands of them waved right back and shook their own flags. Some took photos, the lights sparkling in the night.

— Howard Fendrich — Twitter http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

___

PHELPS' LAST PODIUM

First he climbed out of the Olympic pool. For the last time. Now, with tears in his eyes and his teammates by his side, Michael Phelps has stepped to the top of the Olympic podium one more time. For the last time.

Phelps hopped up on the podium with teammates Nathan Adrian, Brendan Hansen and Matt Grevers, then clasped hands and raised their arms in celebration of their 4x100 medley relay gold medals.

It's the 18th gold medal for Phelps, who is calling it an Olympic career. He smiled while holding back tears as "The Star Spangled Banner" played at the Aquatic Center. Then he posed with the medal and an American flag before taking one last victory lap.

He tossed his flowers up to his mother, who dropped them on the first try. It's about the only thing that has gone wrong for Phelps on his final night at the pool.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski

___

JESS TAKES GOLD

British fan favourite Jessica Ennis has made another indelible Olympic mark — a gold medal in the women's heptathlon.

She finished robustly ahead of the pack Saturday night in the 800-meter run and crossed the finish line with her face transforming from strain into overwhelming emotion and, finally, a broad grin. She's now basking in the crowd's adoration as she wraps herself in the British flag and waves to a jam-packed Olympic Stadium. In the stands, flashbulbs are popping by the thousands.

Ennis went into the last of her seven events with a lead of 188 points over Austra Skujyte of Lithuania and extended her margin by winning the last race Saturday in 2 minutes, 08.65 seconds.

Ennis, it's safe to say, is one of the most popular women in Britain at this moment — far beyond the confines of the jam-packed, 80,000-seat stadium.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb

___

GLITTER FACE

American sprinter DeeDee Trotter took her game face to another level Saturday night.

She plans to raise the bar in Sunday's 400-meter final.

"There's an explosion on my face," she says. "Tomorrow I am bringing it bigger, better."

Trotter paints patriotic designs next to her right eye before she competes. In Saturday's semifinals she had a burst of red, white and blue and said it makes her tougher.

"I keep saying it's like that Mike Tyson-type thing. You know when he came back with the tat, he was crazy, crazy maniac," Trotter says. "He just got in there and did whatever it took, and that's the attitude I'm tying to bring tomorrow. My glitter face just showed that: war paint time, time to get the grind on."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer

___

PHELPS: ENDING IN STYLE

Michael Phelps definitely earned the last gold medal of his incredible Olympic career.

Team USA trailed after two legs in the 4x100 medley relay on Saturday, but Phelps put them back in front and Nathan Adrian blew away the rest of the field as the anchor in the freestyle leg to give the Americans their 30th swimming medal of the London Games. Matt Grevers and Brendan Hansen rounded out the relay squad.

Phelps was stone-faced as he walked into the pool for the final race of his career. He needed every bit of that focus to chase down Japan, which was leading the relay after two legs.

That's 22 medals, 18 of them gold for Phelps in his career. Soon he'll be stepping on the Olympic podium for the final time.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APkrawczynski

___

SWIMMING DOMINATION

Missy Franklin and her Team USA swimming pals are hugging and smiling as they walk out of the pool. They sure have this whole celebration thing down pat.

Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt set a new world record of 3:52.05 in the 4x100 medley relay on Saturday night, beating rival Australia by nearly two seconds.

The Americans have dominated in the pool in these Olympics, racking up 29 medals so far. That's as many as any other three nations combined.

The four stars embraced after their record swim, laughing and raising their arms in another victory. There was never any doubt in this race, as the Americans jumped out to a big lead early and blazed to a convincing victory.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APkrawczynski

___

THE BIGGER PICTURE

"You have some athletes out there who have a lot of talent, but they don't have the heart. I have a little bit of talent and a lot of heart. I think you learn a lot more when you are down then when you are up." — Jamaica's Kerron Stewart, the co-silver medallist in women's 100 metres at the Beijing Games, after failing to make the final Saturday night.

— Pat Graham — Twitter http://twitter.com/pgraham34

___

QUICKQUOTE: HURTFUL HURDLE

"I'm going to have a few rubbish days ahead. Obviously this is not the happiest day of my life." — British hurdler Jack Green after falling in the 400-meter semifinals.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer

___

DEVASTATED

The crowd at Olympic Stadium went silent when British hurdler Jack Green fell early in Saturday night's semifinals.

Green was in tears after failing to advance to the 400-meter hurdle finals.

"I hit hurdle three because I'm an idiot," says Green, who bloodied his knees.

It was a humbling moment for the young sprinter, who is now hopeful he'll still be considered for Britain's relay team.

"I'm not good enough on this level like I thought I was," he says. "I need to get on that relay team and show people what I can really do with a baton in my hand."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer

___

GRUELING RACE

Olympic gold medals are often decided by tiny margins. Just not normally in a two-hour-long triathlon over nearly 34 miles (55 kms).

After a swimming, cycling and running slog, Nicola Spirig held off Lisa Norden in one of the best finishes in any sport at the London Games. Norden's desperate late sprint following a lung-bursting, long-distance effort took the Swede across the line in exactly the same time as Switzerland's Spirig: 1 hour 59 minutes, 49 seconds.

Only Spirig was awarded gold on a photo finish and Norden was pushed back to silver.

Agonizing.

"I'm always a little bit too late, hey?" Sweden's Norden joked after arriving at the press conference a few minutes after the other two medallists .

Track runners and swimmers are used to close calls — ask Michael Phelps after he was nipped by Chad le Clos by five-hundredths of a second in the 200-meter butterfly. But that race lasted less than two minutes.

At Hyde Park, the clock incredibly couldn't separate Spirig and Norden at the end. Both fell to the ground, exhausted, after breaking the tape together. Both then celebrated, but only one got gold.

— Gerald Imray — Twitter http://twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP

___

NORTH VS. SOUTH, PEACEABLY

Sports met politics Saturday at the Olympics: North Korea took on South Korea in table tennis.

South Korea won 3-1 and, as usual, players from one of the most secretive countries in the world wouldn't speak to reporters.

The two are technically at war, but Saturday they played a game that's often brought them together. South Korean Ryu Seung-min defeated North Korean Kim Hyok Bong in the fourth match to seal the victory. The two played as a team last year in Qatar in an exhibition match to promote world peace.

But, says Ryu, "On the court we are at war — table tennis war."

Despite the political overtones, the atmosphere at the 6,000-seat sellout was sporting, with warm applause for each side.

South Korean coach Yoo Nam-kyu — he won gold in Seoul in 1988 — says players chat in the players village, but there's tension on the court.

"We are the same people and speak the same language, but politically we are not very friendly at the moment," Yoo says. "From the history we felt we have to win against North Korea — because it's North Korea. ... When we talk, it's about everyday life. We don't talk political stuff."

— Stephen Wade — Twitter http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

___

'WE LOADED'

LaShawn Merritt pulled up early in the 400 metre semifinals, and his status for the men's 4x400 relay is uncertain.

But the Americans aren't worried about possibly not having him on the relay team.

"We loaded. We've got the best 400 metre runners in the world," said Angelo Taylor.

The defending 400 hurdle champion said it reminds him of the 1996 Olympic Games.

"Michael Johnson, he goes out, breaks the world record in the 200, gets cramped and he's not ready to go run the relay. But guess what? The guys stepped up and we still won the gold. So I'm not worried at all."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer

___

WILLS AND KATE

Among the loudest roars at Olympic Stadium in the early going of track and field Saturday night came when Prince William and his wife, Kate, were shown on the scoreboard.

The royal couple was sitting in the stands, with "Wills" looking rather like any average sports fan, a red baseball cap atop his head.

Seated next to the prince: Prime Minister David Cameron. No word on who bought the hot dogs.

— Howard Fendrich — Twitter http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

___

TICKET TO RIDE

He saw them claim their own record, then Paul McCartney serenaded Britain's female cyclists with one of his: leading a mass sing along of "Hey Jude" to celebrate the team's gold medal ride in the women's team pursuit final.

The three riders smashed the world record as they won the event — drawing whoops of delight from McCartney, daughter Stella and wife Nancy Shevell, watching on in the velodrome stands.

McCartney, who appeared at the Olympics opening ceremony, joined in with a jubilant crowd as the Beatles hit was played out through the public address system.

— David Stringer - Twitter http://twitter.com/david_stringer

___

EDITOR'S NOTE — "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

MORE:cpSports