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:
Take that, Glee
What would Gleeks make of this?
The Olympics are trouncing "Glee" in the popularity stakes with American teenage girls.
The IOC says NBC's ratings for the London Olympics among girls aged 12-17 is 89 percent higher than the figures for "Glee" — which just happens to be on rival network Fox.
IOC marketing director Timo Lumme cited the "Glee" comparison several times at a news conference Tuesday to illustrate that younger viewers are watching in big numbers.
"The younger demographic has come back," he said. "Teenage girl viewership is up 54 percent."
All that was missing was for Lumme to break into a verse of "Don't Stop Believing."
— Stephen Wilson — Twitter http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap
Rubbing it in
As if falling in an Olympic final isn't hard enough to take, China's Chenglong Zhang had to relive it over and over while waiting for his score in the parallel bars at Greenwich Arena.
Zhang's left hand slipped early in his routine and he had to bail out and start over again. He got through it on the second try, but the damage had been done.
While the judges tabulated his score, replays of Zhang's mishap played twice on the scoreboard video screen and were dissected by the announcer.
Zhang tried to look away. When his score of 13.808 was announced, he just shook his head.
— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski
Thanks - And take that
Wrestlers have funny ways of celebrating big wins, and Hungary's Tamas Lorincz just topped them all.
Lorincz beat Georgia's Manukhar Tskhadaia to reach the gold-medal finals for the first time. He then picked up one of his coaches, flipped him upside-down and slammed his back to the mat in a move straight out of pro wrestling.
The coach hit the mat with a thud that couldn't be faked. And the crowd went crazy.
— Luke Meredith — http://twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP
Gabby Douglas' chance for a third gold medal slipped away on the balance beam.
Douglas' right foot slid out from under her Tuesday, and she landed on the beam on her backside, clinging to it to stay on. The all-around champion was able to pull herself back up and finish the routine. She sat stone-faced as her score of 13.633 was announced.
Deng Linlin of China took the gold and Sui Lu, also of China, won silver.
— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/APKrawczynski
No free pass
Everyone entering an Olympic venue must have an accreditation and there are no exceptions — even if you parachute in.
The queen has one, although you won't see the purple-and-orange lanyard around her neck. One of her aides carries it for her.
French President Francois Hollande wore his when he visited and Prince William and his wife, Kate, have been seen sporting theirs at a number of events.
Official names on accreditations can be quite formal. No William or Kate, instead it is "HRH Duke of Cambridge" and "HRH Duchess of Cambridge."
Queen Elizabeth II needs no introduction — Buckingham Palace confirms hers simply reads "Head of State."
— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb
Usain's jump rope
Usain Bolt is not giving up on attempts to bring his banned jump rope into Olympic Stadium.
Bolt uses the jump rope before he races. He complained after winning the 100-meter dash on Sunday about the strict stadium policies that also prevented him from bringing in his iPad.
"There are a lot of rules, oh my God," Bolt said. "You can't do anything. I was coming and wanted to bring my tablets in and they said I couldn't. I asked why. It is just a rule. I had my skipping rope in my bag and they said I can't bring it in. Why? It is just a rule."
After cruising through his first heat in the 200 meters on Tuesday, Bolt said he is still determined to get that jump rope in.
"They took it from me again," Bolt said. "But I'm going to get it in tomorrow. I am going to put them at the bottom of my bag or something."
Games organizer Sebastian Coe says there will be an investigation into the jump rope issue.
— Jenna Fryer — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennafryer
Many athletes admit they have a superstitious routine before they go out and perform. And the British are no exceptions. Here's what's going on inside their minds:
— Gold-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis has a lucky tape measure that she uses to place her starting blocks precisely.
— Freestyle swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who won two bronzes for the UK, wears new goggles for every race and must crack her toes.
— Sprint cyclist Victoria Pendleton, who won a gold, wears a silver pixie charm given to her by a fan that she's worn both in Beijing and London.
— Beth Tweddle, Britain's most successful gymnast, always has her parents in the stands. And since 2003 they've always brought the same Union Jack flag to wave.
— Field hockey player Laura Unsworth says she must go to the loo at least three times before a match, and has banned her curly locked teammate Ashleigh Ball from using hair straighteners; teammate Alex Danson says she spins her stick 15 times in the huddle before a game and ties her left shoelace last.
— Shawn Pogatchnik — Twitter http://twitter.com/ShawnPogatchnik
The second-hottest spot for Australian sailors at the London Olympics, besides out on the water fighting for gold medals, is the Cove House Inn in Portland.
Although sailors from many countries drop by for pints, the Aussies have staked claim to the old stone pub that perches spectacularly atop wind-swept Chesil Beach, an enormous rocky berm that stretches for 18 miles along the English Channel.
The Aussies have set up a tent on the patio and decorated the pub with flags and inflatable Boxing Kangaroos, their national sporting symbol.
A rock band was playing Monday night and the place was jammed after Tom Slingsby won the gold medal in the Laser class and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen clinched the gold medal in the 49er skiff class ahead of Wednesday's medals race.
As Slingsby was being interviewed by a TV crew, a cop took a photo with his smartphone. He later asked to touch the medal.
With Australia threatening to win more sailing golds than the strong, well-funded British team, even the BBC dropped by.
A signpost lists the distance in kilometers to London, Sydney and Wangi Wangi in New South Wales, where Outteridge and Jensen live.
— Bernie Wilson — Twitter http://twitter.com/berniewilson
Table tennis officials can't play favorites. But there's no doubt they were relieved when South Korea's men reached Wednesday's gold-medal match against China.
The ITTF is always hopeful of someone challenging China's dominance. Chinese officials know they need strong rivals and they try to tutor foreign players and admit them to Chinese sports schools.
But a China vs. Hong Kong final would have amounted to China vs. China.
All three Hong Kong players were born in mainland China, but moved to Hong Kong after failing to make China's team. Nearly every nation playing pingpong at the Olympics has China-born players.
A reporter asked several Hong Kong players the other day if they were loyal to Hong Kong or China. "If it's China or Hong Kong, it's the same," Tang Peng said.
At least one Hong Kong player got upset with the question, saying foreigners ask "stupid questions."
— Stephen Wade — Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP
Win, train ... Twizzlers?
Winners over Argentina on Monday night, the U.S. men's basketball team had to hurry back to the hotel, since coach Mike Krzyzewski wanted an early practice Tuesday.
So they went the fastest way — by 'Javelin' train — right along with regular folks.
James Harden snapped a photo of the team on the train together — see it here, http://bit.ly/N093gT — and posted it to Instagram. And on Twitter, USA Basketball posted this shot — see it here — of the team waiting to board the train.
Word is that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James gave other riders a little present, too — rumors flew that the NBA stars were handing out Twizzlers.
— Tim Reynolds — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds
Deary the derny driver
Folks tuning into cycling may be a bit confused by the older chap dressed all in black chug-chug-chugging his way around the track on a scooter powered by a tiny two-stroke motor.
He's Peter Deary, the derny driver.
Deary's responsibility happens in an event called keirin, which involves six riders in each race. The motorized bike, called the derny, paces the field for the first 5 1/2 laps, gradually picking up speed before leaving the track so that the cyclists can contest a mad sprint to the finish.
The discipline originated in Japan, where it was popular among gamblers.
The 65-year-old Deary, one of the coaches at the velodrome in Manchester, England, has three dernys at his disposal: Faith, Hope and Charity. (Yes, they have names.) And he's become wildly popular, too. Every time Deary has scooted onto the track during the Olympics, the crowd has cheered his appearance.
Does he feel any pressure setting the pace for six riders seeking Olympic glory?
"I really try not to think about it," Deary said with a smile.
— Dave Skretta — Twitter http://twitter.com/APdaveskretta
Sing that tune
The ubiquitous playing of "God Save the Queen" at these Olympics has Britons questioning the worth of their anthem.
I've always found it a strong, effortlessly singable melody — and blessedly short compared to most countries' militaristic rambles — regardless of whether you go for the 18th-century royalist lyrics or Samuel Francis Smith's 19th-century adaptation into "America," or "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."
But some opinion-makers think Britain can do better, pointing to several beloved patriotic tunes such as Hubert Parry's "Jerusalem" or "I Vow to Thee, My Country" by Gustav Holst.
Other anthems more lustily sung include Edward Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory" and, though its Victorian celebration of empire is hopelessly outdated, the ferocious "Rule Britannia."
English musicologist Alisun Pawley finds "God Save the Queen" deficient as a crowd-pleaser because it lacks a "climax where people feel compelled to join in or belt it out."
She has conducted research in dozens of English pubs and clubs — tough job, that — to identify the song most likely to inspire a sing-along.
The winner? Queen's "We Are the Champions."
—Shawn Pogatchnik — Twitter http://twitter.com/ShawnPogatchnik
Hey, has she had her shoe fixed?
Brazilian top scorer Alexandra Nascimento, like several other handball players at the London Olympics, wears a huge piece of tape on the side of her shoe. However, it's not damaged gear that had to be repaired. The double-sided tape has resin on it, and Nascimento regularly touches her shoe to make her hand more sticky for better ball control.
The technique has helped Nascimento become the tournament's leading scorer with 37 goals but could not prevent Brazil from crashing out in the quarterfinals against defending champion Norway on Tuesday.
— Eric Willemsen — Twitter http://twitter.com/eWilmedia