1. A Kiwi Kayaker Gets Dinged By His Mom | New Zealand
You've spent your whole life in practicing and preparing, traveled from your home country with bags and bags of equipment, and put countless hours of grueling work into this: a chance at gold and glory. And then your mom gives you a two-second penalty for touching a gate.
New Zealand's Stuff (unrelated to the US Stuff) has the story of slalom kayaker Mike Dawson, who is, along with every other slalom kayaker in Lodon, attempting to qualify for Wednesday's finals. Yesterday, Dawson made it through to the semifinals as one of 15. 10 rowers will ultimately compete for medals, and Dawson had the eighth fastest time through two rounds.
Dawson made it through despite hitting a gate during his run—a no-no for slalom kayakers. The official to mark Dawson down for that offense was none other than his mother, Kay Dawson, who is an experienced judge for the event both domestically and internationally. The elder Dawson told Stuff that there's no issue—she knows a lot of the competitors, and has practice putting her emotions on hold.
The IOC isn't concerned about a potential conflict conflict of interest either (frankly, they wouldn't have a leg to stand on if they were) saying, "If it were an issue, then the ICF technical committee would never have proposed Kay Dawson as a judge for the Olympic Games in the first place."
For his part, Dawson said of the infraction, "I hit it [gate 5] and she gave me my touch. I wasn't sure it was a touch, so we'll sort that one out later." Sounds like the family dinner will be a bit more animated than usual.
— Isaac Rauch
2. Germany Could Use A Few Medals | Germany
Imagine the employment listings surely being shorn apart this very moment at the University of Leipzig, whose researchers issued a tightly-braided medal prediction of 15 golds,19 silvers and 20 bronzes, with zero margin for error, as reported in The Local.
This week, however, Germany's major news outlets are indulging in a bit of self-flagellation on its front pages, bemoaning its to-date flat medal count as a national failure. "Medals, where are you?" asks Spiegel Online, in childlike yearning, of no one in particular. And both the Bild and Frankfurter Rundschau ran with "False Start" on its front page, chiding their Olympians for the paltry showing. "Man (and woman), are we bad," rues Bild, via translation in The Local.
"Even the Kazakhs are laughing at us," a cold knock which any proud Teutonic citizen will recognize as a supreme marker of embarrassment.
— Max Lakin
3. African Boxers Have A Gripe With The Olympics Judging | Kenya
Two of Africa's top Olympic Boxers, Botswana's Oteng Oteng and his main rival Benson Gicharu Njangiru of Kenya, were supposed to be on a collision course at this year's Olympics. Yet both were eliminated yesterday, and Kenya's Standard Digital claims nefarious judging played a role in the boxers' losses.
Oteng Oteng was the first to lose in a shocking fashion, as the judges scored his match 14-12 in favor of his opponent, Puerto Rico's Javier Ocasio. Oteng was so confident that he had dominated the match that he was celebrating in the ring before the decision was even announced. The crowd loudly voiced its disapproval of the judge's decision.
Njangiru lost to Egyptian Hesham Abdelaal by a score of 19-16. The crowd once again showered the arena with boos of disapproval, but Njangiru was gracious in defeat, refusing to allege any foul play. His coaches were a little less hesitant, though, as they said, "We cannot understand this decision because Benson was clearly on the lead."
One anonymous official from the Kenyan side went even further, telling Standard Media, "Both Botswana and Kenya have been robbed. This is serious and we must protest."
Oh Olympic boxing, will you ever change?
— Tom Ley
4. Olympics Fever Is An Actual Sickness In Asia | China
"Midnight soup" for the late-night Olympic viewer's soul. That concoction of herbal ingredients is what some private hospitals in China are recommending for crazed fans that fight the six-to-seven-hour time difference to watch the games live.
ChannelNewsAsia.com reports that many Chinese fans are using face masks at work to avoid looking like they have been up all night. Others simply roll into work bleary-eyed.
The article also reports that convenience stores and fast food restaurants in Australia are experiencing a spike in sales due to late night snacking, which has some worried about obesity. The president of the Australian Medical Association warned late night sports fans that eating too much junk food late at night is not good for their health. Dr. Obvious also cautioned fans that if they don't get enough sleep, they will be in serious danger of going "berserk."
"We don't want people to have car accidents because they're fatigued and fall asleep on the way home from work," he also said.
Obviously not everyone is sacrificing sleep for the Games. "I can watch it when I want and where I want. Hail to the Olympics on Youtube," Hafiz Noor Shams from Kuala Lampur said.
And there you have it, the first time YouTube ever helped someone be healthier and more productive at work.
— Kate Bennert
5. There's Got To Be A Gold Medalist In Here Somewhere | India
The country of India is historically terrible at sports. Despite the second-largest pool of potential athletes in the world, they've won exactly one gold medal in the last 32 years (Millionaire playboy Abhinav Bindra won the10m Air Rifle event in Beijing.)
That dearth of hardware prompted a famous ESPN article, None in a Billion" about Indian athletic futility" and the Indian government-sponsored Olympic Gold Quest program, which works with various sports programs in the country to identify and nurture 21 athletes that have potential medal-winning talent.
That investment, it seems, is already paying off: Hyderabadi sharpshooter Gagan Narang claimed a bronze in London in the same event that Bindra won last Olympiad.
It's not quite gold, but India will take it. In fact, the whole country seems to be going a bit overboard: DNA India reports that famous cricketers and Bollywood stars have tripped over themselves to declare Gagan the Pride of India and the Deccan Chronicle notes that a leading electronics manufacturer is creating a special edition of its tablet PCs called the "Narang" in honor of the now-most-famous athlete in India.
— David Goldenberg
For a handy master schedule of every Olympic event, click here.