The Brazilian men's soccer team is so focused on trying to win the country's first gold medal in the sport that it is staying at a secluded hotel in order to avoid the "temptations" of the Olympic Village.
"Some of the players like Neymar and the others have already been the focus of attention from so many other athletes when we've been here and we have serious work to do at these Games," he said.
Neymar is 20 and the star of the mostly under-23 team. Even older athletes have trouble controlling themselves during the Olympics because of the once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you can only imagine what it would be like for a team full of young men.
Brazil may be depriving some of its athletes of the opportunity to experience a sexual awakening, but they'll have plenty of chances in life to enjoy themselves. They may only have one crack at winning a gold medal. And something tells me the parties will be there if they return to Brazil as gold medalists anyhow, so I understand the coach's decision.
The 2012 Olympic Games mark the 40th anniversary of one of the most tragic events in the history of international competition. At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes were killed by a Palestinian terrorist organization known as Black September. Two athletes were killed initially and nine others were later killed after being taken hostage. Shortly after the hostages were taken, the Palestinians demanded that the 234 prisoners being held in Israeli jails be released. The nine hostages — along with five of the eight members in Black September — were killed during a failed rescue attempt.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected Israel’s initial request to pay tribute to the athletes during the Opening Ceremony and has rejected several appeals since. IOC President Jacques Rogge simply explained that “the IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions.”
This has not pleased Bob Costas, who is planning to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of the tragic event when the Israeli national team enters the Olympic Stadium on Friday. Costas, who has never been shy about speaking his mind, described his plans to The Hollywood Reporter and called the IOC’s decision “baffling.”
“I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he explained. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.”
It will be interesting to see how NBC reacts to the somewhat controversial move by Costas, but it certainly sounds like he is doing the right thing. A political disagreement cost 11 athletes their lives 40 years ago at the same event that is about to take place. It’s tough to imagine what the harm would be in acknowledging those victims.
The Olympics have almost arrived, and as is the case every two years people are anxiously awaiting Friday’s Opening Ceremony. English film director Danny Boyle is in charge of the ceremony, and he has been adamant about keeping the production a secret from all outsiders — including the media. Any performers or other people working on the event have signed contracts legally forbidding them to discuss their role with anyone. However, The Sunday Telegraph has gathered enough information to feel as though they have a good grasp of what Friday will bring.
The Opening Ceremony is expected to be watched by roughly 4 billion people and Boyle has gone on record as saying it will “make a few jaws drop.” At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Opening Ceremony included a breathtaking scene of 2,008 drummers playing in unison. TheTelegraph anticipates that the 2012 Opening Ceremony will be divided into three acts that tell the story of Great Britain as a nation from its beginning.
Act one is entitled “Green and Pleasant,” they say, and will begin with “James Bond” star Daniel Craig (or a stunt double) flying into the stadium in a helicopter and ringing a bell to signal the start of the ceremony. The stage will be set up in a way that showcases Britain’s rural past, with live animals and villages that include milkmaids, families who are picnicking and others dancing. Artificial rain clouds may also somehow be incorporated.
Act two, or “Dark Satanic Mills,” will feature a scene from the industrial revolution with performers dressed as mill workers, miners, steel workers and engineers. This act will signify a time in which Great Britain led the world in the Industrial Revolution and is expected to feature music from the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols.
Act three, “Toward the Future,” will represent more recent history as well as the present day. It will include a tribute to The Beatles as well as references to political events such as anti-bomb marches and some of Britain’s most notorious landmarks like the Big Ben clock. None other than Sir Paul McCartney is expected to end the Opening Ceremony, with standard events such as the marching of the athletes, speeches and lighting of the cauldron to follow. Some of the world’s most well-known celebrities, including Michelle Obama and her daughters, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and David Beckham, are expected to be a part of the Opening Ceremony guest list.
As you can see, Boyle has extremely big plans for Friday evening. At this point all we can do is hope the reaction to his production is more postitive than the one Great Britain gave when their athletes’ uniforms were unveiled and that there are no malfunctions with the torch.
Ronda Rousey is rapidly developing a reputation for being unafraid to say what's on her mind. The current Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion and former Olympics bronze medalist recently made headlines when she said she wanted to beat the crap out of Kim Kardashian. Rousey is back at it again, only this time she's taking aim at Michael Phelps.
In an interview with reporter Elie Seckbach (seen above), Rousey discussed her experience as a judo fighter at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Rousey advised athletes to use lots of condoms while they're in London (the secret about the Olympic Village has been exposed!), talked about athletes gone wild with partying, and she suggested they pack lightly. She also dished on one of the athletes who she felt was stuck up.
"Michael Phelps kind of annoyed me a little bit," Rousey told Seckbach. "We had this club thing for the US team and all the Olympians are hanging out together, all the NBA players are hanging out, and Michael Phelps needed his own private section of the club," she ranted.
"All these NBA players are a bigger deal than this guy and they're hanging out with the rest of us. We're like, 'Hello, we're your teammates! We're not a bunch of groupies! Come hang out with us! Who are you?'"
Rousey also shared a story about the time several US medalists visited "The Oprah Winfrey Show." She says all the NBA players including Kobe Bryant were hanging out with everyone else, but Phelps wasn't.
"Michael Phelps had to be kept separate in a different backstage area so he wouldn't be harassed by the other Olympians," Rousey said.
"I don't like being somebody's teammate and being treated like I'm their groupie. I didn't even want to go out of my way to go and say hi to that guy. Just get over yourself," she said of Phelps. "All you do is swim. If somebody slapped you every single time you jumped in the pool, then I'd have a little bit more respect. But I was a swimmer before, so you can't tell me that swimming is 'oh my god' because it's not."
Yikes! Tell us how you really feel about him, Ronda. And between Rousey's criticism and teammate Tyler Clary's harsh words, it sure seems like "Bash Michael Phelps Month."
Phelps won eight gold medals in Beijing and was the standout athlete at the Olympics. He arguably was the biggest story in Beijing. But does that mean he should have been big-timing his Olympic teammates? Definitely not, though given the way his reputation was tarnished when his privacy was violated in the past, it's understandable why he might be inclined to keep to himself.
You think Kobe Bryant has backed off his widely discussed and controversial belief that the current U.S. Olympic hoops team would beat the 1992 Dream Team? Think again. C'mon, this is Kobe Bryant we're talking about, after all.
The debate that seemingly doesn't want to go away was revived again on Saturday in Spain when Kobe was asked if he's reconsidered his stance.
"People who think we can't beat that team for one game, they're crazy," Bryant told reporters. "To sit there and say we can't, it's ludicrous."
He was then asked if he plans to bring this up with Michael Jordan, who led the Dream Team, the next time the two legendary players (and trash talkers) come face to face.
"He knows," Kobe said. "They got beaten by a college select team once. Doesn't mean we're a better team than them, but s***, we can beat them one time."
Kobe is referencing the once-closely held secret that the Dream Team lost a scrimmage to a team of college stars prior to the 1992 Olympics, a story was that exposed in detail in NBA TV's Dream Team documentary last month.
Since Kobe's initial remarks, he's received plenty of backlash through the media from nearly every single Dream Team member, particularly Jordan, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen.
But I side with Kobe here. Not a seven-game series, or even a three-game series. One game. Anything can happen. Example: Brazil almost eeked out a win over Team USA last week. Oh wait, that really doesn't help Kobe's case.
Yelena Isinbayeva is widely considered to be the best female pole vaulter in the world. The 29-year-old holds 27 world records and is a gold medal favorite heading into the London Olympics. Because of her infamous routine during competition, many of Isinbayeva’s opponents do not think very highly of her.
During the early rounds of pole vaulting competitions, Isinbayeva does not watch her opponents. Instead, she remains off to the side of the competition area and wraps herself in blankets and towels, completely ignoring the rest of the vaulters and resting until it is her turn. British vaulter Holley Bleasdale, who broke the British pole vaulting record at the Olympic trials, recently had some harsh words for Isinbayeva when discussing her routine.
“I’ve seen Isinbayeva do that, looks like a tramp on a street corner,” Bleasdale told the Daily Express. “I do think it’s disrespectful to us. She keeps herself to herself. I try to ignore her, just do my own stuff, concentrate on me.
“Isinbayeva comes into a competition really late, tries to psyche everyone out. It’s her plan. She wants us to say, ‘Oh, look, she’s not bothered’, but it doesn’t work with me. If you want to lie there and have a towel on your head, it’s all right. It is a bit weird.”
Bleasdale said she tries to chat with the other vaulters and learn something while she awaits her turn, but Isinbayeva seems bored and disinterested with her fellow competitors. Not only is Bleasdale not intimidated by the world champion, she is very confident she can take her down in London.
“I really want to jump against Isinbayeva,” she said. “I’m in better shape than when I’ve competed against her before and I could challenge her and win. I’d be silly not to seize the opportunity and beat Isinbayeva now. I don’t see why not. I am really confident that women can jump much higher than (she) ever has.”
For those who enjoy a good controversy heading into the Olympic Games, we have had plenty of that this year. Between Bleasdale’s comments about Isinbayeva and the unfriendly things Tyler Clary had to say about Michael Phelps, there has been no shortage of Olympic smack talk leading up to London.
Bad news for NBA fans from days of yore. According to Sports Media Watch, NBC, for unknown reasons, has decided to not bring back its popular NBA on NBC theme for its coverage of basketball at the Olympics.
The song, officially known as "Roundball Rock," debuted in 1990 but was sent to the vault after NBC's broadcasting partnership with the league ended in 2002. However, the network dusted off the timeless, upbeat song for basketball at the 2008 Olympics, leaving many to hope the same would be done for the upcoming London games.
Former TV personality John Tesh created the New Age tune, which has become more synonymous with the Peacock's coverage of the Association than Bob Costas or Ahmad Rashad or any of Marv Albert's classic calls are. To this day, it remains one of the most beloved sports themes. We're sad to hear NBC decided to snub it in favor of what's maybe going to be some Rihanna or LMFAO song.
Alas, as a consolation, please enjoy this video of Tesh discussing the background of the song and performing it live:
The Spice Girls haven't performed together since 2008, but reports say they are likely to reunite for the London Olympics closing ceremony.
According to The Telegraph, which cites a source in confirming the news, the pop group will perform two songs at the ceremony including the 1996 hit "Wannabe."
The Olympics organizers apparently have been chasing the Spice Girls for two years, but the London Daily Mail says four of the group's singers -- Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice) and Melanie Brown (Scary Spice) -- were interested in performing, while Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) was not.
Beckham's tune recently changed, allowing the group to commit to the appearance.
"We are so proud to be English and we are very excited about the Olympics," she told the John Murray Show on Thursday, per the Daily Mail.
"I don’t know about a comeback tour but I loved being back with the girls. There was a lot of fun, we did so much together and we’ll see. If they’re up for something then I certainly am," said Beckham.
The Spice Girls will join George Michael, The Who, Take That and Jessie J for the ceremony on August 12. The Spice Girls are also working on a new musical called "Viva Forever" which is set to open in December.
This is a big coup for the ceremony organizers, especially after their previous embarrassing debacle. The Spice Girls have legions of fans who will no doubt be thrilled with this news.
Whenever the Olympics come around, we are always treated to a number of stories about the craziness that goes on in the Olympic Village. The athletes’ dormitories are filled with competitors who have trained their entire lives to get to this point, but that doesn’t mean they are afraid to have a little fun and enjoy the experience. However, Australian shooters Russell and Lauryn Mark may be prevented from having as much fun as they would like in London.
Teams in the Olympic Village are divided into male and female for sleeping arrangements, meaning the married couple will not be allowed to share a room during the Games. Russell and Lauryn requested to share a room, but apparently rules are rules. While neither of them are happy about it, Russell said he’ll just have to resort to sneaking around.
“I’ll probably walk across the corridor into Lauryn’s room some nights,” he said with a laugh while his wife sat next to him. “As far as I know that’s not illegal, still. It’s just I’ve got to get out of there before the sun gets up.”
As Hope Solo shared with us earlier this week, much worse things have gone on in the Olympic Village than a married couple trying to share a bed together. They didn’t ship an emergency supply of protection to the athletes’ digs in Vancouver two years ago for no reason.
While the Marks are understandably upset that they have to sleep in separate rooms, it’s unlikely they would have been sharing the actual bed even if they were rooming together. I don’t think it would even be physically possible for two adults to fit into the tiny beds they provide Olympic athletes with.
The Birmingham City Council recently presented Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt with the ultimate honor — a statue. The wicker statue stands six feet high and cost roughly $23,000 to construct. It shows the three-time Olympic gold medalist striking his famous pointing pose. The only problem is that the statue points the wrong way.
Bolt points upward and to the left with his left arm fully extended. The statue, which can be seen in the photo above on the right from The Sun, shows the sprinter doing the exact opposite.
“Next you’ll say the face doesn’t look like him,” the council said according to The Sun.
That would be a bit different. It’s extremely difficult to make a statue’s face look exactly like the person it is created for. Having it point the correct way is not that complicated of a task.