AUSTRALIA shooter Russell Mark arrived in Britain an angry man after being told he won't be allowed to sleep with his wife during the London Olympics. Mark and his wife Lauryn, a fellow competitor who is also on the Australian shooting team, have been told to room separately during the Games. The 48-year-old Mark, competing at his sixth Olympics, said Australian officials had enforced the ban as a result of Lauryn's contentious appearance in 'lads magazine' Zoo, where she has been photographed holding a shotgun over her back dressed only in a green and gold bikini. Mark said he and his wife were being punished for being a married couple.
THE Olympic Athletes' Village opened its doors yesterday to the first competitors as the logistical operation to handle the arrival of thousands of athletes and officials shifted into a higher gear. London's Heathrow Airport was expecting to handle a record number of passengers, with the Olympics arrivals swelling numbers to almost 237 000 at the west London hub, compared to 190 000 on an ordinary day. The first priority "Games Lane" went into operation on the M4 motorway leading from Heathrow, to allow athletes and officials to be whisked to their destinations without being delayed by London traffic.
KENYA'S world 800m record holder David Rudisha will bid to go one better than his father 44 years ago and win the Olympic gold medal. The 23-year-old — whose father Daniel won silver in the 4x400m relay at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City — would also become the first runner from the Masai tribe to win an Olympic gold medal. "Becoming the world record holder and winning the world title. All these I have achieved, now it's the Olympic title which I am aiming for. It is the dream of every athlete to win the Olympics," Rudisha said.
THE US men's basketball team eased past Brazil 80-69 in an exhibition game yesterday, but their sluggish play and spotty shooting should banish any thoughts they will waltz to another Olympic gold medal in London. LeBron James scored 30 to lead the Americans, who trailed by 10 after the first period and were out-rebounded (38-30) and out-hustled by their less-heralded counterparts. "Our defense won the game," said US coach Mike Krzyzewski. "It was outstanding for three quarters, especially because we didn't hit shots. And we missed dunks. "I liked the mental toughness of our team. We kept reminding them: 'We're not doing it on offense. Don't let it affect defense.' And I thought it didn't."
BRAZILIAN Olympic officials are hoping that the country's athletes can use the London Games as a launch pad for success before preparing to host the 2016 edition in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil are keen to improve on the 15 medals won at Beijing in 2008 and, with the country's economy buoyant, have set up camp at Crystal Palace, south London, enjoying the backing of politicians and sponsors alike. There is even a robot among their entourage, already called upon to help out when gymnast Lais da Souza suffered a recent injury.