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London Olympics news and notes

A referee warns a South Korean badminton team in a match it will be tossed for lack of effort. It later was.

Associated Press

A referee warns a South Korean badminton team in a match it will be tossed for lack of effort. It later was.

Gary Shelton said in his column ("The 'cheer' in 'cheerio' " July 26) this year's mascot was the ugliest he had seen. I have not seen photos of it. Is it being hidden?

Here they are, one for the Olympics and one for the Paralympics, Wenlock, top, and Mandeville, respectively. They are named after Much Wenlock, the village that hosted a precursor to the Olympics in the 19th century, and Stoke Mandeville hospital, the birthplace of the Paralympic Games. Each mascot has a yellow light atop its head, as a reference to London's black cabs.

Compiled by staff writer Sharon Fink from the Associated Press, the New York Times, the BBC, the Albany, Ore., Democrat-Herald.

what?! no shakes or pies?!

Ricky Berens will never have to pay for a meal at McDonald's again — if he ever wants to eat there again — after showing the world on Twitter what he was doing to celebrate the end of his Olympics. After helping Michael Phelps become history's most decorated Olympian with the 800-meter freestyle relay win, he headed to the McDonald's at the athletes village and loaded up a tray of celebratory junk food. "Finally!!!! The end of season celebration dinner! mcdonalds!! Yes all for me!" he wrote on Twitter with this picture. That's two Quarter Pounders with cheese, one Big Mac, one six-piece nuggets, two medium fries, and a medium McFlurry with something on top. Total estimated calorie count, by Yahoo Sports: 3,330. Total fat grams: 160. (Berens later said on the Today show he didn't eat it all.)

say it ain't so, Ha Jung-eun

The 1919 Black Sox. College basketball point shaving. Pete Rose bets on baseball. The 2012 Olympic badminton tournament. The list of greatest sports scandals grew Wednesday when badminton officials tossed out four women's doubles teams for deliberately trying to lose. The teams — two from South Korea, one each from China and Indonesia — had already qualified for the quarterfinals and tried to lose so they could face easier opponents in the next round. Thomas Lund, secretary-general of the Badminton World Federation, said the teams violated the Players' Code of Conduct for "not using one's best efforts" to win and performing in a way that was "clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport." The federation determined at a hearing the players in the Tuesday matches tried to serve into the net and hit shots out of bounds (unlike the rest of us, who do that without trying). Their play led to hoots and catcalls from the packed house at Wembley Arena, with some fans yelling, "Off, off, off." But as much as many decried the performances as disgraceful, embarrassing, etc., some in the sport said they should have been expected. This is the first Olympics to include preliminary rounds where four teams played one another once to determine which advanced to the knockout stage. Because the ejected pairs had won quarterfinal spots, jockeying for an opponent was their priority. "If you can win a medal by losing, but not by winning, that's not a good situation to be put in," Australian coach Lasse Bundgaard said.

a tax break for every class, including the teenage

Marco Rubio has Olympic fever. Or maybe his election year fever is getting worse. In any case, Florida's Republican U.S. senator said Wednesday he has introduced a bill that would exempt medal winners from paying taxes on any money they get for their accomplishments. For example, the U.S. Olympic Committee awards $25,000 for each gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze; some national sports federations also give money for medals. "Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness," Rubio said in a news release. "Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn't have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home."

readers ask us

What are the markings on the backs and sometimes legs of the divers?

It's Kinesio tape, which has been around since the 1970s but has been showing up a lot on athletes in many sports only over the past few years. Its Japanese developer, Dr. Kenzo Kase, says it lifts the skin to aid drainage of the lymph nodes, which reduces pain and swelling. But he admits there is no scientific evidence to back his claim. "We have many people researching, but the society of Kinesio taping therapy itself — the International Kinesio Taping Association — is only 5 years old," he told the British Broadcasting Corp. "We need more evidence. We do not have research reports. Part of the reason people are using Kinesio tape is to find the science."

London Olympics news and notes 08/01/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 2:01pm]
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