Before the Olympics began, the British were in a funk. The Times of London predicted the games would be a disaster, and many Britons agreed. Now, nearly two weeks later, they've forgotten all that and pretty much everything else that's gone wrong. As we hear from NPR's Philip Reeves, the Olympics have temporarily transformed a nation.
PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: What on Earth is happening to the British?
The Olympics are winding down, and for some nations, they're already over. Among them, the small Pacific island nation of Nauru. With roughly 9,300 people, it is the least populous country competing in these games. NPR's Mike Pesca says for the Nauruvians that's a point of pride.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Nauru is small. How small? Remember this song?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMALL TOWN")
JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP: (Singing) But I've seen it all in a small town. Had myself a ball in a small town.
Now to the case of the missing Olympians. Seven competitors from Cameroon have gone missing in London - five boxers, a swimmer and a soccer goalie - six men and one woman. It's presumed they may seek asylum in England. And if so, they'll join a long list of athletes who've defected during the Olympic Games. For more on who has defected and why, I'm joined by Olympic historian, David Wallechinsky. He's at the games in London. David, welcome to the program.
In Olympic women's soccer, the U.S. team has beaten Japan, 2-1, in the gold medal match at London's Wembley Stadium, a game that set a new attendance record with more than 80,000 spectators. Carli Lloyd scored both of the American goals, while U.S. stars Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach weren't able to finish their chances. But they were very active, and both players kept the Japanese defenders occupied around the goal.
She's still in high school, but boxer Claressa Shields, 17, is also an Olympic gold medalist, after she won her middleweight final Thursday. She defeated Russia's Nadezda Torlopova by a score of 19-12.
It may not be an Olympic sport, but Wisconsin teen Austin Wierschke was just named the fastest texter in America. The texting champion was awarded $50,000. Wierschke speaks with host Michel Martin about how he keeps his thumbs in shape.
Credit Alexander Hassenstein / Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Why do the best weightlifters have short arms? What's the biggest physical challenge that marathon runners face? What kind of advantages do athletes from West Africa — and from Asia — enjoy? Those questions are answered in a great post over at our sister blog, Shots.
Our colleague Adam Cole analyzed information from a range of sources to come up with conclusions about the bodies of Olympic sprinters and rowers, as well as weightlifters and marathon runners.
Good morning. It's Day 13 of the London Games, and the overall medal tally stands at 82 for the United States, 77 for China, and 48 for Great Britain. Here's a roundup of the news that caught our eye this morning:
Canada has won the bronze medal match over France in women's soccer, as midfielder Diana Matheson scored a golden... er, bronze goal in the 92nd minute to break a 0-0 tie. Obviously, the match featured lots of good defense.
In the London Olympics, 23 medal events will take place in 19 sports today. The big event for many Americans is the women's soccer final, a rematch of last year's World Cup match with Japan. The country is also down to its final hope for a gold medal in boxing, in the form of 17-year-old Claressa Shields.
Here are some highlights of the action. All times refer to the Eastern time zone:
2:45p Women's Soccer Gold Medal Match: USA vs. Japan