08/05/2012 08:29 EDT | Updated 10/05/2012 05:12 EDT

EYES ON LONDON: Coe hears final lap bell, UK elated over golds, Cyprus gets first medal

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:



Games chief Sebastian Coe, a gold-medal runner himself, says he's hearing the final lap bell as the London Olympics hit their halfway point.

In a column written for The Associated Press, Coe muses on the seven years he has spent heading the London organizing committee.

"The first half of the London Games has been a spectacular success that has transformed a naturally cautious British public into a nation of delirious cheerleaders," he writes. "Traditional British reserve has crumbled as strangers exchange Olympic news and watch each other's portable screens to catch the latest action."

He says the crowds have "prompted some to call these the People's Games." But he disagrees, saying "these are the Athletes' Games."

—Fergus Bell — Twitter



It's equal opportunity on the court in Olympic mixed doubles.

Finalist Laura Robson of Britain said she expects male opponents to hit the ball hard at her and she also expects partner Andy Murray not to hold back when he hits it at a female opponent.

"He's not going to hit it as hard as he can!" she said.

"I might," Murray said, smiling. "If it means winning a gold medal or losing one."

Robson said: "Sometimes I'd like him to hit it harder at the girl, but he's too nice."

Murray and Robson play Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi of Belarus for Olympic gold later Sunday.

— Christopher Torchia



Jill Lawless of AP's London bureau has this to say about Sunday morning in the Olympic Games' host nation:

"Britain awoke, afraid it might all have been a dream. It wasn't."

Six gold medals, including three in track and field within the space of an hour, had given the country its best day at an Olympic Games since 1908. A country accustomed to sporting disappointment could scarcely contain its disbelief.

"Don't choke on your cornflakes," said a BBC morning TV presenter, before telling viewers that Britain, population 63 million, lay third in the medal table, behind the United States (population 310 million) and China (population 1.3 billion).

Sunday British newspapers tried to outdo one another in front-page superlatives.

The Observer declared it "Britain's greatest day," and the Sunday Times — reaching for wartime resonances — said it was "Our finest Olympic hour."

"The six pack," said The Sun — referring, in true tabloid style, both to the gold medallists and to the washboard abs of heptathlon champ Jessica Ennis.

— Jill Lawless — Twitter



For the first time at an Olympics, there's a medal for the country of Cyprus — and a new hero who will carry it home.

Sailing champion Pavlos Kontides has earned the small island nation's first-ever Olympic medal. The 22-year-old Kontides has assured himself at least a silver medal in the Laser class and has a slim chance at clinching the gold in Monday's final race.

Cypriot media are praising his achievement as the "brightest page in Cyprus' sporting history." It's certainly a milestone for the island: While Cyprus is said to have fielded some Olympic champions in antiquity, Kontides' medal is its first since the island started taking part in the modern-day Olympics in the 1980 Moscow Games.

The medal offers some cheer to ethnically-split Cyprus roiling under an economic crisis that in June saw it become the fifth country to seek an economic rescue package from its partners in the group of nations that use the euro as their currency.

It's fitting that Cyprus' first Olympic medal comes in sailing, since the seafaring nation's sailing heritage stretches back millennia. Its current shipping registry ranks 10th in the world.

— Menelaos Hadijcostis in Nicosia, Cyprus



The wrestlers have waited long enough. It's time to hit the mat.

Wrestling begins on Sunday with the 55- and 74-kilogram Greco-Roman events. Iran enters hoping to win its first wrestling gold medal, and with plenty of talent to make that happen.

Hamid Soryan, Omid Noroozi and Saeid Morad Abdvali are all considered favourites in their divisions. Soryan will get the first crack at it in the 55-kilogram event. He got knocked out in the quarterfinals in Beijing and finished fifth.

— Luke Meredith — Twitter


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.