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EXPECTATIONS' WEIGHT

Published Jul. 27, 2012

Malaysia's medal-contending shooter Nur Suryani Mohamad Taibi says she feels "good," "normal," "relaxed" and "confident with my condition," which is more than eight months' pregnant. Nur Suryani, 29, needed special permission to board the plane to London but otherwise has not had problems, team leader Muzli Mustakim told Agence France Presse. Nur Suryani, competing in the 10-meter air rifle Saturday, said her scores have remained consistent in training. She has adjusted her stance slightly to accommodate the physical changes, but the extra weight has given her better stability, she said.

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Time to talk about me, guys

She is the daughter of two former Olympians - one a gold medalist - and she finally made the Olympics after missing the past two because her horse was injured. Yet what reporters mostly wanted to talk to Zara Phillips about at Britain's equestrian team news conference was the rest of her family: grandmother Queen Elizabeth, grandfather Prince Phillip, cousins Will and Harry, and Will's wife, cousin-in-law Kate.

Phillips, 31, is the daughter of Princess Anne (1976 equestrian Olympian) and Anne's ex-husband, Mark Phillips (1972 equestrian gold medalist).

Asked if she felt added pressure with her cousins scheduled to watch her compete, Phillips smiled resignedly and shook her head: "Obviously, they're my family, so why should it be weird?"

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"I just felt it was important to give someone else a chance, particularly in Switzerland. We do believe other people should also have chances."

Magnanimous Roger Federer, who turned down a chance to carry Switzerland's flag at the opening ceremony for a third straight Olympics. He told Swiss officials to pick someone else. They choose Stan Wawrinka, with whom Federer won the doubles gold medal in 2008 .

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He is still Penn State

Along with their countries, athletes represent other things at the Olympics, too. Many carry with them ties to their colleges. That tie is a little sharper at these Games for 18 current and former Penn State athletes representing eight countries. One of the four current Nittany Lions is U.S. fencer Miles Chamley-Watson. He took last semester off to train with his coach in New York, and he has watched from a distance as the campus and culture he knew and enjoyed have undergone seismic changes because of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. "Last time I was there, JoePa (Joe Paterno) was at our (team) dinner," he told the Chicago Tribune. "It's terrible." In April, when Chamley-Watson was named to the Olympic team, among the congratulatory phone calls he received were from fired university president Graham Spanier and deposed AD Tim Curley, who is facing charges related to the case. "Obviously, they're going through a tough time, so for them to reach out and support me, that's amazing," Chamley-Watson said. "My coaches, my athletic adviser also reached out to me. They tell me I'm going to make Penn State proud, so hopefully I will. Hopefully I'll come back with some hardware. Maybe I can shine some light."

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Fast or feast & pay up

With the Games falling during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Islamic athletes have had to decide whether to adhere to the protocol of abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk. British rower Mohamed Sbihi decided he couldn't do that and remain competitive. To compensate, he donated money to feed 1,800 people via the British charity Walou, which works with kids in Morocco.

"It's written in the Koran that those unable to fast have to feed 60 people or fast for 30 days for every day they miss intentionally," Sbihi said. "So it worked out 1,800 people or five years' fasting."

On the other side, two Moroccan soccer players who decided to fast found it "more or less impossible" to provide a urine sample after the team's 2-2 draw with Honduras on Thursday in Glasgow, coach Pim Verbeek said. After about 21/2 hours, the players were able to fulfill their drug test requirement.

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All bets are off

Bookmaker William Hill closed its betting on who will light the Olympic torch in the opening ceremony after an influx of money on Roger Bannister, the first to run a sub-4-minute mile, got his odds slashed from 6-1 to 1-1. Meanwhile, London Games CEO Paul Deighton told the BBC when the choice is revealed, ÒEverybody É will understand why we made it.Ó