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Volume 24 No. 160
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Olympics Names In The News

In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote, "For the next two weeks, these will be the Olympics of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt and Team USA men’s basketball," but when "history remembers these games, it will be about the women. ... Lots and lots of women." The London Games are "the Title IX Olympics." U.S. Gold Medal-winning fencer Mariel Zagunis said, "The development of women in sports is huge. I am where I am today because of the women who paved the way.” Mellinger: "We’ve never seen this many women pushing athletic limits at the Olympics -- an important symbol at the world’s most high-profile sporting event." For the "first time, every participating country has a woman athlete competing" (K.C. STAR, 7/29).

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD: The AP's Jill Lawless noted about 500 people "critical of the economic impact and corporate flavor of the London Olympics marched Saturday near the Olympic Park, determined to send a message that Britain is not united in backing the games." The protest march "came hours after police arrested more than 130 bicyclists who had defied an order to avoid cycling in groups around the stadium during Friday night's opening ceremony." The protest, the "largest so far against the games, drew a mix of left-wing and green activists who decry the Olympics as a corporate juggernaut rolling over residents and their civil rights" (AP, 7/29).

NOTHING FOR FREE: In London, Beard & Aizelwood report, "Stars taking part in the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies have been paid a token fee" of US$1.57 for their performances. While Paul McCartney, Mike Oldfield, Dizzee Rascal, Frank Turner, Underworld and Emeli Sande "all agreed to play for free," the musical acts "had to be charged a token fee to create a contract" with LOCOG (London INDEPENDENT, 7/30). 

FLIP THE SCRIPT: In Seattle, Blythe Lawrence wrote USA Gymnastics President & CEO Steve Penny "has emerged as an outgoing presence in a reserved sport." Though nobody "would mistake Penny for a gymnast, it doesn't stop him from trying out a few moves." USA Gymnastics COO Ron Galimore said that Penny "has been keen to master a handstand -- no doubt to impress officials at Olympic functions." Galimore: "He's not afraid to step out and do something that just cracks everybody up that you'd think is out of character. I have to give him credit for it" (SEATTLE TIMES, 7/29).

NAMES: Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday "returned to Olympic Park" and visited with "fawning British Olympians in the athletes village and rode to the top of the 377-foot Orbit tower beside the stadium" (AP, 7/29)....Actress Nicole Kidman "was the first to arrive at Omega House in Soho on Saturday night, chaperoned by her husband" musician Keith Urban (London INDEPENDENT, 7/30).