08/07/2012 11:15 EDT | Updated 10/07/2012 05:12 EDT

EYES ON LONDON: Athletics, bumpiness of the balance beam, more words from Usain Bolt

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:



No, the money that Team USA coach Mihai Brestyan handed to the judges on Tuesday wasn't a bribe. It's the cost of appealing a scoring decision.

When Aly Raisman was given a 14.966 on her balance beam routine, Brestyan had to make a snap decision.

Under FIG rules, a coach can challenge a score if he or she thinks the difficulty mark of the routine was calculated incorrectly. But to prevent coaches from filing an inquiry on everything, FIG requires an upfront payment. The first inquiry costs $300, the second $500 and the third costs $1,000.

If the initial score is upheld, the coach loses that money and it goes to the FIG Foundation. If the inquiry results in a scoring change, like it did for Raisman in propelling her to a bronze medal, the coach gets that money back.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter:



"It was the will of God. Yesterday I was out and today I was in. I dedicate this to all the people of Algeria and the Arab world." Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi after winning the men's 1,500-meter race on Tuesday, only a day after being reinstated to the final.

Makhloufi was disqualified from the London games after track and field officials ruled he didn't try hard enough during a heat in the 800. But that was overturned after a review by a medical officer of evidence about Makhloufi's left knee problem.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



Golf is coming to the Olympics in 2016, and England native Luke Donald is looking forward to it.

"Watching these Olympics has certainly inspired me a lot in terms of having that wish to be there in four years, to have an opportunity to win a gold medal," Donald said while preparing for the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, S.C.

Like tennis players, golfers will have to come to their own conclusions about how much an Olympic medal means compared to the sport's other top events. Donald seemed excited about the possibility of competing in Rio in 2016, but he wasn't necessarily putting an Olympic gold on par with, say, a green jacket at the Masters.

"That's the tough part about the Olympics. Is it the greatest thing that you could win in your sport? And I'm not sure how to answer that question," Donald said. "Obviously, I'd probably still put a major above that right now. I've never experienced an Olympics. But I know how highly regarded majors are."

— Noah Trister — Twitter



Michael Phelps was willing to talk about a lot of subjects in one of his final media functions before he departs from London.

One thing he wouldn't talk about: his girlfriend, Megan Rossee, who's been very prominent on the arm of the most decorated Olympian in history since the end of swimming at the London Games.

I broached the subject as he was leaving the room, and Phelps gave one of his classic non-answers.

"It's great to have a lot of support from my family and friends," he said, breaking into a big smile.

Then, just before leaving the room, he stopped and shouted my way.

"Hey, Paul, you knew that was the answer you were going to get," he said, grinning even more.

Then he was gone.

— Paul Newberry — Twitter —



At the start of the London Olympics, American sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross said all her focus was on one race.

Her goal was to win the 400 metres, which she did Sunday. She said anything she accomplished in the 200 would be the icing on the cake.

She hasn't changed her outlook.

"This is gravy. Definitely gravy," she said after winning her 200-meter semifinal heat. "I don't feel any pressure when I come out here. This is just a lot of fun for me. I really, really want to grab a medal, but either way, I'm still an Olympic champion."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



"It was the best second place I've ever had in my life. I still don't like losing. I almost cried over there. I'm not a crier. I don't cry. But it was tough." — Erik Kynard of the United States, silver medallist in the high jump



China's women gave the country its third gold medal in table tennis on Tuesday. The job done, the players hit their coach with a request: Time off to be tourists in London.

"I arrived in London more than 10 days ago, but I have not been to any famous places like Big Ben," said Li Xiaoxia, who won singles gold a few days ago.

On Tuesday, she teamed with silver-medallist Ding Ning and Guo Yue to win the team event, defeating Japan 3-0 in a sport that China dominates like no other.

"I hope tomorrow I can do something like a city tour," Li added. "But it will depend on the coach, if he will agree with that or not."

That put coach Shi Zhihao on the spot.

"The last thing Li Xiaoxia said is wrong," he replied. "After the Olympics, they can do whatever they want."

— Stephen Wade — Twitter:



Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani is already having an impact back home in Saudi Arabia.

Just days after the judo athlete became was one of the first women to compete in the Olympics for the Gulf kingdom, Saudi martial arts star Ali al-Atiq said he plans to create a women's team to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Al-Atiq told the Saudi newspaper al-Sarq on Tuesday that he will coach and train the women.

Al-Atiq also called Wojdan's debut a "historic achievement" even though she lost her only match in just over a minute to Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica in a preliminary match Aug. 3.

Saudi Arabia, which had never sent female athletes to the Olympics before, brought two to London on condition they adhere to the kingdom's Islamic traditions, including wearing a headscarf. Shahrkhani's debut was almost scuttled after the International Judo Federation said she couldn't do that for safety reasons. But a compromise allowed Shahrkhani to wear a modified headscarf.

Hard-liners say the 18-year-old is dishonouring herself and her family by competing in front of men in form-fitting clothes. Several have told her not to jeopardize her place in the afterlife for a fleeting bit of fame.

— Michael Casey in Dubai — Twitter



"It's my season best, so it's the best I could do. But obviously I'm crushed." — Lolo Jones of the United States after finishing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



"I don't know if I will continue sports. I will go back home take some time off and think through the situation. My parents say everything is OK, but I don't feel so." — A crestfallen Victoria Komova of Russia, the reigning world silver medallist who fell off the balance beam on Tuesday.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter



A good moment for Australia just now, and Sally Pearson is celebrating.

Pearson earned the country's fourth gold medal by edging defending champion Dawn Harper of the U.S. to win the 100-meter hurdles in an Olympics-record 12.35 seconds.

Under a steady rain, Pearson barely crossed the line ahead of Harper, who was clocked in 12.37. The U.S. also took the bronze, with Kellie Wells finishing in 12.48.

Lolo Jones, the favourite who fell at the ninth of 10 hurdles four years ago, was fourth Tuesday in 12.58.

It took several seconds for the scoreboard at Olympic Stadium to display the final results, with Pearson and Harper both staring and waiting. When Pearson's named appeared first, she let out a yell, then dropped to her knees and fell on her back.

— Howard Fendrich — Twitter



For many Olympic athletes, their competitions are over and party time has arrived.

British rower Mark Hunter was quoted as saying "it's time to have fun and socialize."

London's Metro paper said U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte caused a commotion when he appeared at the city's Chinawhite nightclub, long a favourite haunt of young royals. The headline said it all: "Lochte's tally: It's gold, silver ...and blonde."

— Sheila Norman-Culp — Twitter



How many medals do Olympic authorities have lying around at venues? Enough, I guess.

At the London Velodrome, they had to rustle up an extra bronze when Teun Mulder of the Netherlands and Simon van Velthoven of New Zealand crossed the line in a dead heat for third in the keirin. I don't know if there was any behind-the-scenes scrambling, but by the time the medal presentation came around, both men got theirs.

— Mike Corder — Twitter



The beam isn't the only balancing act for gymnasts. And it may not even be the most difficult one.

Jordyn Wieber is proving that in these Olympics. Wieber will take home the gold medal for the team competition, the first one for the Americans since 1996. But she came up empty in her pursuit of individual medals, a huge disappointment.

"She probably feels unfulfilled," coach John Geddert says. "I know her well enough that that's probably at the top of her list. Disappointment and unfulfillment."

Wieber was expected to be one of the big stars of this competition, but she did not qualify for the all-around and failed to medal in the floor exercise. She's the first world champion to leave without an individual medal since Kim Zmeskal in 1992.

"It's a little bit of disappointment overall," Wieber says. "But at the same time, leaving with a gold medal is more than I could ask for and it's so cool to be a part of that team."

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter




Well, he's not bad with his feet.

Everyone wants to know what the world's fastest man is going to do after the London Olympics. How about playing a little soccer for Manchester United?

Usain Bolt, who won a gold medal in the 100 metres Sunday, said afterward that he would like to play for one of the Premier League's heavyweights.

"People think I am joking, but if (United coach) Alex Ferguson called me up and said, 'OK, let's do this, come and have a trial,' it would be impossible for me to say no," Bolt said.

But the Jamaican sprinter said he wouldn't do it unless he believed he had the skills to be a factor on the field.

"I would not take up the challenge if I didn't think I was good enough," Bolt said. "I am in Britain for a few more days. If Alex Ferguson wants to give me a call, he knows where I am."

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



The gold medal barely had time to settle on Aly Raisman's neck when workers at North Greenwich Arena started ripping out the gymnastics staging.

They have little time to change this place over from the home for Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman into the new pad for LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The men's basketball tournament held pool play in the basketball arena in the Olympic Park.

Now that we've advanced to the knockout rounds, the tourney is being shifted over here to accommodate the larger crowds.

Here's a twitpic of the work:

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter



British cyclist Laura Trott was royally surprised after winning her first individual gold medal.

She was winding down her press obligations, smiling ear-to-ear after winning the omnium Tuesday, when she was told that Prince William was here to meet 20-year-old.

"Who?" she asked, puzzled.

Then Trott went pale, her smile vanished and her jaw fell agape.

"He's here to meet me?" she said stunned.

As she was ushered off to meet the prince, Trott stopped to watch the closing laps of the men's keirin, jumping up and down to cheer teammate Chris Hoy's gold medal ride.

Trott may have had a second surprise. Prince Harry — the most eligible bachelor in Britain — was at the Velodrome on Tuesday, not his married brother Prince William, according to the palace.

— Jenna Fryer — Twitter



"This has really turned into a golden summer for Team GB and for the whole of the U.K. ... That is going to leave people with some very, very happy memories." — Prime Minister David Cameron, as Britain racked up its 22nd gold of the Summer Games.

— David Stringer - Twitter



U.S. women have qualified for the final of the beach volleyball — and a chance to win their third Olympic gold.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings beat China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi 22-20, 22-20 on Tuesday.

The 2004 and '08 champions will play the winner of the late semifinal between Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross and the top-seeded Brazilians, Juliana and Larissa.

It was the 20th straight Olympic victory for May-Treanor and Walsh.

— Jimmy Golen — Twitter



Chris Hoy was cheered by British fans some 270 kilometres (170 miles) away from the Olympic Velodrome in London as he went for cycling gold in the men's keirin race.

The race Tuesday was shown on the big screen at the Old Trafford in Manchester. Fans waiting for the men's soccer semifinal between Brazil and South Korea erupted in cheers when Hoy crossed the line first to set the British record with his sixth Olympic gold medal.

— Tales Azzoni — Twitter



How did American Aly Raisman go from the outside looking in to the bronze medal on the balance beam?

Raisman was initially awarded a score of 14.966, which was good for fourth. But her coach is allowed to appeal one aspect of her score, so an inquiry was issued to challenge the degree of difficulty score.

After careful review, the judges decided to increase Raisman's difficulty score to give her a total of 15.066, which moved her into a tie with Romania's Catalina Ponor.

The tie-breaker is the judges' score on execution, and Raisman's was higher than Ponor's, pushing her to the bronze medal.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter



USA Gymnastics coach Martha Karolyi says she thinks all the attention heaped upon Gabby Douglas after her victory in the all-around contributed to her struggles on the balance beam and uneven bars.

"It was overwhelming," Karolyi said Tuesday after the 16-year-old Douglas stumbled on the beam. "She's a young girl. She wasn't put in the limelight before and it was too much, too quick."

Douglas also says the mental part of the competition was much more difficult than the physical side of things. She says her body feels great after the grueling training and competing, but she's looking forward to some time off to recharge.

"I just want to visit my dogs and go to the beach," she says.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter



If a barbell had emotions, how confused it would be after a weightlifting competition.

When the competitors walk in, they stare and shout at the bar, as if it were their worst enemy. When they complete a lift successfully, some kneel down to kiss the weights.

The super heavyweights seem particularly fond of this practice.

Frederic Fokejou Tefot of Cameroon, Hungary's Peter Nagy and Yauheni Zharnasek of Belarus were among the strongmen who planted their lips on the weights after successful lifts Tuesday.

— Karl Ritter - 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.