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EYES ON LONDON: A day's images, a quiet romance

Katie Bell of the United States dives during the women's 10-meter platform diving semifinal at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LONDON (AP) -- Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:

IMPACTFUL IMAGES

We pause for a moment to draw your attention to a powerful collection of AP images from venues across London.

In their pursuit of personal bests, athletes are captured soaring through the air, crashing through water and suffering the highs and lows of intense competition. After more than 10 days of Olympic competition, the extraordinary moments are still coming fast and furious.

WONDERFUL WEMBLEY

Rolling up to Wembley Stadium, one of the most famous soccer pitches in the world, I was immediately struck by how big it is.

Soccer teams in the U.S. generally don't play in 90,000-seat stadiums, much less have a 437-foot (133-meter) arch stretching majestically into the sky above that supports much of the retractable roof.

Wembley feels a bit like Yankee Stadium to me. It opened in 2007, replacing an icon, but some of the ghosts that haunted the old place seem to have moved through the new doors.

The American women face Japan in the gold medal game here Thursday night, and eager fans were settling in than an hour before the start.

Here's a shot from the outside: http://yfrog.com/mok57quj

- Jon Krawczynski - Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

BOXX IN

Just in the nick of time, Shannon Boxx is back for the American women in the gold medal game against Japan.

Boxx missed four games with an injured right hamstring, but U.S. coach Pia Sundhage didn't hesitate to throw her right back in the starting lineup for the final. Carli Lloyd had taken Boxx's place in the starting lineup and she remains there.

Lauren Cheney will begin the game on the bench for the first time this tournament.

- Jon Krawczynski - Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

AMERICAN DECATHLON

The Americans are poised to go 1-2 in the decathlon for the first time since 1956.

Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee lead the field heading into the final two events Thursday night.

The two have had a solid hold since the opening event Wednesday.

Eaton, the world record holder, leads by 222 points. Rico Freimuth of Germany is third, 454 points behind Eaton.

The last Americans to go 1-2 in the decathlon were Milton Gray Campbell and Rafer Lewis Johnson.

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

STICKING WITH IT

Talk about a gutsy performance.

Manteo Mitchell was running the first leg of the 4x400-meter relay preliminaries Thursday when he heard and felt a pop in his left leg.

The American knew it was bad. Tests later showed how bad: a broken fibula.

But he never stopped running and his effort helped the U.S. tie for first and advance to the next round.

"I figured it's what almost any person would've done in that situation," Mitchell tells the AP.

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

BRITISH BOXING

Did even Britain's prime minister struggle to win a coveted ticket to see local boxer Nicola Adams compete in a gold-medal fight?

After Adams beat China's Ren Cancan to claim the first-ever Olympic title in women's boxing on Thursday, David Cameron's office posted a photo of the British leader watching the contest at home on television.

Cameron at least wore a Team GB (Great Britain) shirt in support.

Here's the pic: http://twitter.com/z8RNUFMF .

-David Stringer - Twitter http://twitter.com/david-stringer

YORKSHIRE GOLD

If Yorkshire were a country, and not a county, it would be riding high on the Olympic medal table.

With boxer Nicola Adams' victory Thursday, the northern English region - whose residents proudly declare it "God's own county " - can claim six gold medal winners, as well as a handful of silver and bronze medalists.

That's more hardware than Spain, population 47 million, and South Africa, population 50 million.

Former British sports minister Richard Caborn says he'll urge the British Olympic Association to hold an Olympic victory parade in Yorkshire, rather than London, because the county has contributed so much to the nation's success.

ANTHONY'S PAIN

It appeared painful live, and sure looked like it hurt in print, too.

Carmelo Anthony got a reminder of that punch in the groin Thursday at U.S. men's basketball practice when he was shown a copy of Tuesday's Daily News of New York. There was a large photo of Anthony lying on the court in pain along with the words "SCREAM TEAM."

Anthony was punched by Argentina's Facundo Campazzo during the Americans' victory on Monday night, a blow he called a "cheap shot" that angered the U.S. players. The teams meet again Friday in the Olympic semifinals, but Anthony isn't expecting anything similar.

"I don't think they're stupid enough to do it again," Anthony says.

His wasn't even the most painful below-the-belt shot of the tournament. In the closing seconds of a quarterfinal loss to Spain on Wednesday, France's Nicolas Batum drew his arm back in frustration and delivered a forceful blow to Juan Carlos Navarro, a punch that quickly spread across the internet and was seen by Anthony.

"That one right there, it makes mine look like nothing," Anthony says. "You start thinking differently when that happens to you right there."

- Brian Mahoney - Twitter http://twitter.com/briancmahoney

WHEELY IN LOVE

They captured their gold medals with ease - but British cyclists Laura Trott and Jason Kenny won't be winning prizes for discretion.

Trott, 20, who won two cycling golds, and 24-year-old Kenny, champion in the men's individual sprint, were pictured canoodling Wednesday as they watched the women's beach volleyball final.

In a message posted to Twitter (http://bit.ly/MCyBkq ), Trott acknowledged they'd failed dramatically in efforts to keep their budding romance low key.

Pictures showed that not even the presence of David Beckham in a neighboring row could tear Trott's gaze away from her new partner.

- David Stringer - Twitter http://twitter.com/david-stringer

IRISH GOLD FORETOLD

Katie Taylor's boxing gold for Ireland was by far the most enthusiastically anticipated result of the entire Olympics in her homeland. How inevitable was it?

Ireland's prolific bookmakers, who take bets on almost anything, offered prohibitively poor odds on anyone wanting to make money off a Katie victory.

And a mere minute after Taylor's win, as she had just started to dance around the ring with the Irish flag held aloft over her shoulders, Prime Minister Enda Kenny issued his congratulations from Dublin, lauding the 26-year-old's "pioneering spirit."

"Katie Taylor is not only an Olympic champion, she is a force of nature ... She has won the hearts and minds of the Irish people who admire her greatly and love her to bits. Amidst it all Katie's warmth and humility shine through," Kenny's statement declared.

- Shawn Pogatchnik - Twitter http://twitter.com/ShawnPogatchnik

BRITAIN'S UNEXPECTED `GOLD'

A gold medal for Jessica Ennis? Saw that one coming. Gold for Bradley Wiggins? Not surprised at all. Alistair Brownlee? Predicted it long ago.

But a gold medal for Britain's handball team? Never in my wildest dreams!

Britain was announced as the new Olympic champion, and "God Save the Queen" was played during a "medal" "ceremony" at the London Olympics handball arena on Thursday afternoon.

Unfortunately for the host nation, it was just the rehearsal for the actual ceremonies after the handball finals this weekend, with volunteers replacing the players on the podium. For the record, Denmark "won" silver and Norway "took" bronze.

In reality, both Britain and Denmark failed to reach the semifinals of either the men's or the women's competition.

- Eric Willemsen - Twitter http://twitter.com/eWilmedia

UNCLE STAN, MEDALIST

Canada's women's soccer team beat France 1-0 on Thursday at the London Games for the bronze medal. It was Canada's first medal of any color in an official Olympic team sport since 1936 in Berlin, when its men's basketball team, represented by the Windsor Fords club team. won the silver.

My Uncle Stan - Stanley "Red" Nantais - was a member of that team. The last time I saw him, shortly before he died in 2004, he showed me the silver medal that was presented to the Canadian team by no less than James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.

He also recalled the gold medal final itself: The United States beat Canada 19-8 on an outdoor clay-style court, and pouring rain during the final made it nearly impossible to dribble. That was the first time that basketball was played as an official medal sport at the Olympics, and the last time it was played outdoors.

And there's this. As he looked back upon his brush with history five years before the United States entered World War II, my Uncle Stan mentioned that, when he got his medal, there was someone else on the platform alongside him, a fierce advocate of German sport: the leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler.

Dennis Passa - Twitter: http://twitter.com/DennisPassa

IN A RAGE

Luguelin Santos lost the plot.

The Dominican silver medalist was so angry at his team's disqualification in the 400-meter relay after a clumsy baton changeover that he threw his running shoes onto the track and repeatedly kicked the railings in the media mixed zone.

"I don't want to talk," he shouted.

- Jorge Sainz - Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sainz-Jorge

FELIX: ANOTHER GAMES

Sprinting at 30? Allyson Felix says: Why not?

With a gold medal already won in the 200 meters, and two more possible in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, Felix doesn't appear ready to sprint off into the sunset just yet.

She'll turn 27 in November, and she seems intent on trying to return for the Rio Games in 2016.

"I think I have one more games left in me," Felix says.

Making it to Rio would be her fourth Olympic Games. She won silver in the 200 in Athens and Beijing and grabbed gold in the 4x400 in Beijing.

- Jon Krawczynski - Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

ONE MORE OPPORTUNITY

One more chance for Oscar Pistorius at these Olympics.

South Africa has won an appeal to advance to the 4x400-meter relay final despite a crash in the heat. The double-amputee runner was on the track but didn't get to run in the heat Thursday because a teammate tumbled out after a collision with a Kenyan runner.

The Kenyan team was later disqualified for impeding Ofentse Mogawane. South Africa, the silver medalists at the last world championships, filed an appeal to be restored to the final.

The IAAF says the South Africans will run in Lane 9 after the jury met and "agreed to advance the South African team, even though they did not finish the race, considering that they had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya."

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



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