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The lighter side of the Olympic Games
20:54 AEST Wed Jul 18 2012

A look at the lighter side of the Olympic Games:

China's Liu leaves 'cold' London for Germany

BEIJING - Hurdler Liu Xiang has gone to train in Germany because London is too cold.

The official China Daily quoted coach Sun Haiping as saying Liu, China's biggest hope for an athletics gold at London, will train in Germany to get away from the wet and cold weather. The Olympic track competition begins on August 3.

Sun says, "Other Chinese teams have also chosen to move their (training) base thanks to London's cold weather, so Liu Xiang is not the only one."

Liu, who won in 2004 at Athens to become the first Chinese man to claim an Olympic athletics gold medal, will compete in London after shocking the home crowd in Beijing four years ago when he had to withdraw before his heat because of an injury.

London has suffered one of its wettest summers on record in the run-up to the Olympics, and weather forecasters are predicting at least some downpours during the event.

AP

Red white and blue dominate the Games

LONDON - The biggest delegation at the London Olympics will be in red, white and blue.

The Union Jack variety, though.

The United States will only have the second biggest squad in London, with 530 competitors, while the British will have 542 athletes.

The hosts are fielding competitors in all 26 sports as the Olympics return to the British capital for the third time.

Britain's chef de mission Andy Hunt says "to have the largest delegation of all 204 competing nations at the London 2012 Olympic Games is a fantastic achievement."

Russia will have the third largest delegation followed by China.

AP

Olympic Park to become a race track?

LONDON - A Formula One circuit in and around Olympic Stadium is one of four plans being considered for the future of the London Games' centrepiece.

The London Legacy Development Corporation, which will decide the future tenants of the stadium, announced Tuesday that a possible F1 circuit from "Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One" was one of the bids.

The others are from newly promoted Premier League football club West Ham, fellow east London club Leyton Orient and a pitch from the UCFB College of Football Business.

LLDC said the four bids "will now be assessed to ensure they are compliant, before being evaluated ahead of negotiations."

The Olympic Stadium is already set to be the new home of British athletics and will host the 2017 world championships.

AP

BBC defends Olympic staff numbers

LONDON - The man masterminding the BBC's coverage of the Olympics has defended accrediting 765 staff to cover the Games.

The corporation, having recently relocated to BBC Sport's new home in Salford, has been criticised for putting some staff up in London hotels to cover the event.

BBC staff numbers have increased from the 493 that worked on the Beijing Games in 2008.

Dave Gordon, BBC Sport's head of major events, told the Radio Times: "Don't forget, NBC is flying 2,700 over from the USA. So we're pretty lean and mean."

BBC1 and BBC3 will be the flagship Olympics channels, with BBC1 showing continuous coverage of events except to switch to the news.

Audiences will also be able to watch "wherever and whenever they want" on PC, mobile, tablet and connected TVs.

The BBC has lined up presenters including Gary Lineker, Sue Barker, Clare Balding, Chris Hollins, Gabby Logan, Matt Baker and Sian Williams to front more than 2,500 hours of live coverage.

PA

Olympics opening ceremony shortened

LONDON - A section from the opening ceremony of the London Olympics has been removed to ensure the event finishes on time.

A spokesman for organising committee LOCOG said a sequence involving stunt bikes would not take place to allow spectators to get home by public transport from the Olympic Stadium.

He said: "Performers are rehearsing sections and transitions to ensure they are as tight as possible. This is normal in any production, whether it be theatre or ceremonies.

"We need to make sure the show comes in on time to make sure spectators can get home on public transport, so we have taken the tough decision to cut a small stunt bike sequence of the show.

"We will be paying contracts in full and giving full credit in the program. The show is set to finish between 12am and 12.30am."

An audience of about 62,000 in the stadium in Stratford, east London, and one billion people watching worldwide will see the arena turned into a meadow complete with real animals, grass and clouds that will rain down for the official opening of the Games.

Artistic director Danny Boyle said the 27 million spectacular, which will start at 9pm on July 27, will display a traditional view of the British countryside, featuring horses, cows and sheep.

PA

Keeping up with the Kardashians in London

NEW YORK - The E! Entertainment network didn't have to look hard to find a Kardashian connection for its upcoming Olympics coverage.

"Keeping Up With the Kardashians" family patriarch Bruce Jenner, the 1976 decathlon gold medallist, will head to London to be part of the E! team later this month.

E! became one of NBC Universal's stable of networks a year and a half ago, so this is the first time it will take advantage of NBC's status as Olympic television rights holder.

The company is building a studio for E! so celebrities and athletes can stop by for interviews.

An older generation may think Olympic champion first when Jenner's name comes up.

That's not the case for fans of the Kardashians, E!'s First Family, the bulk of whom are women not even born when Jenner ran, jumped and shot-putted his way to fame in Montreal.

"They just know you as Kim, Kourtney and Khloe's dad, and Kendall and Kylie's dad," he said. "To me, I think that's great. I have a lot of fun. They don't know what your past is. And that's fine."

The gold medallist turned reality TV star even seemed a little ambivalent about his assignment.

"They asked if I would go over and obviously E! has been good to my family, so it looks like I've got to go," he said.

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Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
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