Tuesday 10: Olympics Countdown

The Olympics are coming! And as I confessed in my previous Tuesday 10 devoted to the Olympics — which you can read right here — it’s practically a holiday around our house. Or a quarantine ward because we catch serious Olympics Fever. Dave, Smudge, and I have a date to watch the opening ceremonies on Friday, and we’re having a British food viewing party. (Recipes coming this week in case you want to have a British dinner, too).

Oh! The Opening ceremonies! Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, is the creative director of the 15,000 staff and crew that are putting on the 3-hour opening. First, Her Majesty the Queen will be welcomed by the IOC President Jacques Rogge at Olympic Stadium. Then the best part begins: the athletes parade. (Seriously, I just typed “athletes parade” and got tears in my eyes. Yeesh.) The uniforms and smiles and fit bodies and healthy skin and pride and joy and… whew. Then a bunch of serious, ceremonial stuff happens: speeches; the official declaration that the Games are beginning; the hoisting of the Olympic flag, the Union Jack, and flags that represent each nation. Then the bestest best part: the lighting of the Olympic Flame.

Friends, THE OLYMPICS ARE COMING! (At the time I’m posting this, they’re just 2 days, 22 hours, and 17 minutes away.)

Here are 10 more doses of words and images to afflict you with Olympics Fever, too.

1. The Olympic Rings

The New York Times Magazine explains how the iconic design came to be. [Read it.]

2. Saudi Arabian Women Athletes To Compete
Ending its status as the only holdout nation to refuse to send women athletes to the Olympics, Saudi Arabia will be represented by Sarah Attar in the 800-meter race and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo. “With Saudi Arabian female athletes now joining their fellow female competitors from Qatar and Brunei, it means that by London 2012 every national Olympic committee will have sent women to the Olympic Games,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. [More]

3. The Big Picture: Athletes in Training
Ten thousand athletes will compete for medals in 26 sports, and each of them has trained countless hours to get there to be among the best in the world. These photos capture the determination, camaraderie, and loneliness of training. [See all the photos.]
Weightlifter Ilya Ilyin of Kazakhstan, three-time world champion and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games gold medallist trains in Almaty on March 20. Ilyin is among Kazakhstan’s best hopes for gold at the Olympics. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)
Britain’s Nick Robinson-Baker (left) and Chris Mears practice their synchronized diving during a training session at the Aquatics Center in the Olympic Park in east London on July 16. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)


4. Athletes Parade: Better Than the Red Carpet
Mental Floss has a gallery of Olympic Uniforms for a dozen countries and The Week takes a look at the US uniforms throughout history.
(Need more? Here’s a gallery of uniforms from 2008.)

5. Bringing Sexy Back
Dave and I always surmised that there was probably some serious hanky-panky going on in the Olympic Village. It’s populated by good looking, healthy, excited young adults at the peak of their athletic powers… who are either celebrating awesome victories or looking for ways to ease their disappointments. I mean, who could resist? PopWatch serves up Olympic Village sex: Top 10 quotes from ESPN The Magazine’s investigative report.

6. Look Back at 1948
The Miami Herald explains how the Olympics helped broaden the mulitculturalism of London. “Historians describe the summer of 1948 as a transformative time for London – not just because of those Olympic Games, which built faith that the city would recover, but also because of a remarkable piece of legislation approved that July that allowed any subject of the British Commonwealth to come to the United Kingdom and enjoy full citizenship rights.” [More]

7. Wenlock and Mandeville
Wenlock and Mandeville are the official 2012 Olypic mascots, and they’ve stirred up a little controversy. Their back story is that they were created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium. Hmmm. The Guardian offers up a gallery of previous mascots for comparison. (If I had to choose my favorite, I think it would be Beijing’s ‘Fuwa’ mascots.)

The 2012 Olympic mascot Wenlock (left) and the Paralympic mascot Mandeville. (Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters)

8. Nadia Comaneci
Oh, man! I was eight years old when she scored her perfect 10 on the uneven bars at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and I wanted her to be my best friend. It was the first time EVER that a 10 had been awarded,  and the scoreboard was only able to display a 1.00. NBC.com has a fun look back at the 14-year-old Romanian gymnast’s triumph, including that pesky scoreboard

9. The Flame! On the London Eye!
The Olympic Torch arrived in London and took a ride on the London Eye. Check out the pics.

10. Some Athletes to Watch
Let’s be real: every athlete at the Olympics is a total badass. Having said that, here are just a few roundups of some of the athletes the “people in the know” say we should keep an eye on…

11 Team USA Storylines to Follow in London
Britain’s Five Best Olympic Medal Hopefuls
Top Five Athletes to Watch from Italy
Five Australian Athletes to Watc

Turn it up to 11: History and Highlights of the Opening Ceremony

Oooh! Trivia! Like this: The first Olympic Oath was recited at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. ” It is a symbolic gesture where one chosen athlete from the host country will promise on behalf of all the athletes to engage in sportsmanship during the Games.” Read all the goodies here.

Bonus: Banksy Oympics Graffiti

Are you watching the opening ceremonies on Friday?

Let the Games Begin!

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