The 2012 Olympics (un)officially begin today with the first-round of matches in the women's
soccer football tournament. Since most of you are probably stuck at work, we'll have updates on the happenings in England all afternoon and throughout the next two weeks of the Games.
SPOILER POLICY: If you don't want know what's going in London during the day, then don't read this post! We'll be updating regularly with winners and scores and notable records, as they happen, so those who want to wait until they can watch the Games in front of a TV should avoid our updates. We won't give anything away in headlines or on the front page, though, so you don't have to avoid The Atlantic Wire altogether.
We also be updating this post with any other Olympic-related news that pops up today, of which we expect there will be a lot. As you read earlier, one athletes has already been sent home, kicked off the Greek team for some unfortunately racist tweets. All we have today games-wise is soccer, but there are several matches to fill up your afternoon. The first match of the whole shebang will be host nation Great Britain vs. New Zealand, in Cardiff, Wales. That begins at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. The U.S. will play France at noon. Here's a reminder of what happened the last time they met, during the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup.
With two days before the Opening Ceremony, everything is kicking into high gear and soon the whole world will come down with Olympic fever. Have you caught it yet?
All times Eastern
12:00: The U.S.A.-France match is getting underway now. The Wall Street Journal has a story about how the once dominant American squad has struggled since it's loss in the World Cup final last year.
12:05: In other unfortunate banning news, nine track and field athletes have been suspended by the sport's governing body just days before they were to join games. They were suspended for failed drug tests taken at the World Championships, though three were caught for re-tests of samples from 2011's world championships.
12:56: Great Britain has won the first match of the Olympics, 1-0 (in front of a less-than-sold out crowd.) The story is even more remarkable when you consider that Great Britain, technically doesn't have national soccer team. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each have their own federations and compete in international competitions separately — and typically don't send teams to the Olympics, for fear of jeopardizing that independence. Since they were the host nation in 2012, they felt pressure to send a team — which in the women's is actually the English team, with just two Scottish players.
1:16: If you're looking for something to read between now and the Opening Ceremony, Slate has compiled several excellent long reads from the history of the Olympics.
1:50: After being down 2-0 in the first 20 minutes of the match, the United States storms back to win, 4-2, against France. Their next game will be Saturday at noon against Colombia. In the other match today, Japan defeated Canada, 2-1. Cameroon and Brazil just got underway and later it will be Sweden vs. South Africa, and Colombia vs. North Korea.
1:58: Rumors are flying that Muhammad Ali, who was spotted in London this week, will play a part in the Opening Ceremony. Ali's surprise appearance at the Atlanta Games in 1996, brought our nation to tears, but it seems unlikely that America's greatest hero would be called upon to help celebrate's London's big triumph. Even if he did win a gold medal there in 1960.
2:20: Here's two more interesting stories from The New York Times. One, is a profile of Italian kayaker Josefa Idem, who will be competing in her eighth Olympic Games, a record for women. (Her first three were actually for West Germany, before she moved.) She has five medals, including one gold. The paper also has a depressing slide show of Athens' Olympic venues, abandoned and decrepit just eight years after hosting the Olympics.
3:44p.m.: Harry Potter star Rupert Grint carried the torch today.
(Photo via Associated Press.)
3:55p.m.: American gymnast McKayla Maroney injured her right foot. The gymnasts started training on the Olympic equipment Tuesday, and Marony hurt her toe. She's icing it and doing only conditioning exercises instead of big tricks to save herself for prelims, which start Saturday. Maroney is favored to win gold on the vault.
We won't get to see the gymnasts during the opening ceremonies, according to John Geddert, team coach and coach to gymnast Jordyn Wieber. Since gymnastics starts the next day, there wouldn't be enough time to recover from all the excitement and walking.
3:56p.m.: Here's Tobin Health in the American women's game against France earlier today.
(Photo via Associated Press.)
3:57p.m.: Oops. The North Korean soccer team was walked out with the South Korean flag. The game was scheduled to start at 7:45pm. British time but was delayed an hour because the team wouldn't take the field. The women are playing Colombia. Olympic officials have apologized. You can see the wrong flag on the scoreboard in this photo tweeted by