Every little bit helps
It's not at Gabby Douglas levels, but the windfall coming to South Korea's first gymnast to win a gold medal include "limitless amount of instant noodles," says the company that makes Yang Hak-seon's favorite, Nongshim. But Yang will take anything he can get. He has been living with his parents in a polytunnel, a tunnel-like house made of thin wooden boards and plastic sheeting, in a rural area about 125 miles from Seoul. His father lost his factory job several years ago because of an injury, and the family has been living on Yang's modest gymnastics income and what his father makes farming part time. A construction company has said it will build the family an apartment, and a billionaire businessman is donating $444,000 to the family.
Readers ask us
Are Olympic team uniforms regulated? Does the American Olympic committee put restrictions on them?
Under International Olympic Committee sponsorship regulations, athletes are allowed to wear only uniforms and other apparel that are part of their country's sponsored apparel or from approved IOC sponsors. For example, Nike provides the competition uniforms and shoes for the U.S. track and field team, so the athletes can wear only Nike products. If a U.S. runner wanted to wear a big, gaudy watch in a race, for example, it would have to be from Nike or Omega, an IOC partner. The IOC was looking into a watch Jamaica's Yohan Blake wore in the men's 100 meters Sunday because it wasn't made by his team sponsor, Puma, or Omega, British media reported. Blake wore a custom $500,000 watch made in the green and yellow of the Jamaican flag by designer Richard Mille. Blake did not wear the watch in Thursday's 200 final. Some athletes have been campaigning on social media during the Games for reform of the sponsorship rules so they can advertise their personal sponsors, who often subsidize their training and competition travel, if those sponsors aren't Olympic partners.
New anthem, still queenlike
Britain's dream-scenario run of gold medals (25 and counting) has pushed some in the country to that jaded point where they wonder if they don't need a better national anthem than God Save the Queen. English musicologist Alisun Pawley, for one, isn't a big fan of God Save the Queen, saying it lacks a "climax where people feel compelled to join in or belt it out." She has conducted research in dozens of English pubs and clubs to identify the song most likely to inspire a sing-along. The winner was Queen's We Are the Champions.
The criers, the stoics, the lip biters, the anthem singers, the stoic lip biters, the criers while trying to sing the anthem — gold medal winners' behavior at their medal ceremony comes in many forms. The Wall Street Journal did a bit of behavior analysis by reviewing tape of the ceremonies of 129 gold winners through Tuesday.
• About 16 percent cried at some point during the ceremony.
• 25 percent of the women cried, compared to 8 percent of the men.
• 44 percent sang along with their anthem, sometimes through tears.
• Among the countries with the most golds at the point, Chinese athletes cried the least: 7 percent. More than 17 percent of American winners cried, and moved by the home crowd, 37.5 percent from Great Britain did.
• The Chinese also sang their anthem the most: 92 percent. The Brits did it 61 percent of the time, the Americans 44 percent.
• And though it seems like the most ubiquitous behavior around, only 16 percent either bit or kissed their medal on the podium
Readers ask us II
During weightlifting the competitors were sniffing from a small brown bottle. What is in it and why?
They were sniffing smelling salts, to create a stimulant effect to help them with their lifts.
Compiled by Times staff writer Sharon Fink, from Associated Press, Yahoo Sports, Wall Street Journal, CNN.