Eyes on London

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


"There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!" — London Mayor Boris Johnson to a raucous crowd in London's Hyde Park after the arrival of the Olympic flame.

—Rob Harris — Twitter http:twitter.com/robharris


The teamwork continues even after the German gymnasts leave the floor.

Several English-speaking reporters wanted to talk to Oksana Chusovitina, who is competing in her sixth Olympics at 37 — unheard of for a female gymnast. There was just one problem: Chusovitina, who is originally from Uzbekistan, doesn't speak English, and there were no translators available.

A TV researcher who speaks Russian initially offered to help, only to realize he was needed for something else on the other side of the room. Elisabeth Seitz then leaned over and said, "If you need translating, I can try to help." She did better than that, translating about five minutes' worth of questions for Chusovitina.

Chusovitina competed for the Unified Team at the 1992 Olympics, then her native Uzbekistan in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens. She moved to Germany in 2002, so her son, Alisher, could be treated there for leukemia. She has lived there ever since, and switched nationalities in 2006 to express her appreciation for her adopted country.

—Nancy Armour — Twitter http:www.twitter.com/nrarmour


AP journalist and avid bicyclist Warren Levinson reports in from two wheels:

I am astonished at how much official support there is for bicycling in London, given how narrow the streets are. The "Boris Bikes" — London's popular bike-sharing program, named for its mayor — are just the beginning. There are bicyclists everywhere at all hours and of all levels, in numbers you can only imagine in New York.

That said, there is no way I would have attempted to ride here if I weren't used to city cycling.

One of my New York City rules: I don't tangle with buses. Here, they are impossible to avoid. You're moving along and gradually become aware of a double-deck whale, breathing quietly through its blowhole, just over your right shoulder. (Buses in London are much quieter than they are in New York.)

A newspaper, The Independent, ran a race to Olympic Park between a bicycle, a car, the Underground and a riverboat. The bike won by a big margin. So far, I am enjoying the ride.

—Warren Levinson — Twitter http:twitter.com/warrenlevinson


Roger Federer has been holding court, and he delivered up a secret: He can't play tennis "at all" with his left hand.

Other tidbits from the winner of 17 tennis majors at an entertaining news conference:

  • He is not a huge autograph hunter.
  • He is looking forward to chatting with other Olympians — "It doesn't matter if they are famous or not."
  • And he is in two minds about being able to wear colored kit at Wimbledon, where the usual etiquette requiring that players wear white is relaxed for the Olympics.

"I feel a bit awkward playing in a red shirt out at Wimbledon," he said. "But I don't dislike it."

Federer, 31 next month, wouldn't rule out another Olympic appearance — it would be his fifth — at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. "There's definitely a chance," he said.

—John Leicester — Twitter http:twitter.com/johnleicester


There are always a handful of athletes at the Olympics trying to win one for the aged, and Chris Horner is "that guy" for the U.S. men's road cycling team.

Horner, who will turn 41 in October, gives off a grandfatherly vibe surrounded by 20-something teammates Tejay van Garderen, Taylor Phinney, Tyler Farrar and Timmy Duggan.

Horner turned professional in 1995, but failed to make the U.S. team for the next four Summer Olympics. He figured that London was his final shot, and was nearly overcome with emotion when USA Cycling announced he had made the five-man team for Saturday's road race.

"Your whole life, you're always trying to get on the Olympic team," Horner said from the team's training base in the Surrey countryside.

—David Skretta — Twitter http:twitter.com/APdaveskretta

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