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PARKER'S NEW LOOK AT THE WORLD

Published Jul. 30, 2012

Tony Parker has a new look for the Olympics. Not by choice. The France and Spurs guard is wearing protective glasses after almost losing his left eye when he was caught in a bottle-throwing melee between R&B singer Chris Brown and rapper Drake's entourage and wound up with a piece of glass embedded in the cornea. Doctors told him he came within "2 millimeters away of losing my eye," Parker says. "You don't want to dramatize too much, but it still puts it all in perspective." Parker won't give details of the fight in the early hours of June 15 at the New York club Greenhouse, now closed. He does say, "It was almost like you were in a movie." Parker is suing the club for $20 million.

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ONLY A PUBLICITY THREAT

Indian officials are mystified - and miffed - that a young woman they say they don't know managed to march with their team in the opening ceremony. Images from the ceremony show a young woman in turquoise jeans and a red jacket marching alongside flag bearer Sushil Kumar. Indian officials say they have no idea who the woman is and are concerned about Games security. London organizing chief Sebastian Coe says the woman was a cast member for the ceremony "who clearly got slightly overexcited" but she had been properly screened and wasn't a security threat.

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STAY UPDATED

Gary Shelton is in London to cover his 10th Olympic Games for the Times. Follow his experiences on Twitter at @Gary_Shelton, through his photo feed #londongary on Instagram, and through his daily columns in the Times.

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NBC'S RATINGS > YOUR GRIPES

Bashing NBC for its event coverage is a sport with a longer association with the Games than a few legitimate ones. But the growth of social media outlets and the number of people using them has taken it to a record level of vitriol, so much so that NBC's executive producer of the Games, Jim Bell, has taken to Twitter to answer critics. (Communicate with him at @jfb.)

The latest subject of ire: the U.S. men's basketball team's opening game against France on Sunday being on - gasp - CABLE (the NBC Sports Network) while women's cycling was on the mothership, NBC. Complainers on Twitter have even set up a hashtag - a way to keep track of topics on a subject - #nbcfail. And Sunday a parody Twitter account surfaced to mock the network for its delayed coverage of events, @NBCDelayed (its tweets included "BREAKING: American colonists announce independence, King to respond").

NBC isn't wavering from its plan to save big events for prime time. It maintains that is when most viewers are available to watch them. It's also when the network makes most of its advertising revenue. And these Games' early ratings aren't going to make NBC think again. After the opening ceremony drew more than 40 million people, the most for one of those Olympic events, Saturday drew 28.7 million, the most for the first night of a Summer Olympics on record, the Nielsen company said.

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MAYBE DELAYED TV ISN'T SO BAD

Meanwhile, NBC likes to keep reminding us that it is streaming every second of every event on NBCOlympics.com. Except that through the first days, that feed was more likely to make your computer melt down worse than a hungry, cranky 2-year-old, based on an unscientific survey.

Our Tampa Bay Times Olympic crew encountered herky-jerky feeds that kept causing our computers to shut down. The New York Times' Richard Sandomir blogged on the paper's website he had similar problems and people reported troubles to him anecdotally on Twitter and in emails.

Rick Cordella, vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Digital Media, told the New York Times that troubleshooting suggested the problems might have been with the bandwidth provided by cable operators or users' computers or devices. He said he hoped the problems would be resolved Sunday.

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READERS ASK US

In major cycling tours, racing is a team sport. Medalists in the road races were given to individuals. Do others on the team receive a medal as well, like relay races? Hard to see how the team comes together to cooperate if it's an individual event.

Medals are awarded only to the first three riders across the finish line. If Britain's Bradley Wiggins is representative of riders, they don't mind. This year's Tour de France winner was a member of his country's five-man team Saturday (women's teams are limited to four), and before the race, won by Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan, he sounded dedicated to getting the gold medal for teammate Mark Cavendish, also his Sky teammate who helped him win the Tour. "Our job is pretty simple," Wiggins said. "It's been no secret made that 'Cav' wants to win it. He's got four incredible guys to help him doing that."

How deep is the Olympic pool? The pool at London's Aquatics Centre, built for the Games, is almost 10 feet deep.

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U.S. GYMNASTS HAVE DAY OF EXTREMES

On a day the U.S. women's gymnastics team showed it was good enough and deep enough to win the gold medal by leading the qualifiers for the final, there was a loss for words. Jordyn Wieber, the reigning world all-around champion and a favorite to win the gold medal, finished third among the U.S. women Sunday, meaning she wouldn't advance to the final. Only two from each team advance. Americans Aly Raisman, Wieber's close friend and Olympic roommate, and Gabby Douglas will compete in the all-around final. Wieber's consolation is that she qualified for the floor exercise final. Wieber did not have major mistakes in her four routines but was not as sharp as usual, and Raisman gave one her best performances. When Wieber, 17, learned she was the odd woman out, she burst into tears. "It was hard because, of course, I wanted that spot," she said in a statement (she gave a TV interview but left the arena before talking to other reporters). "In the end, it is what it is." Russia, runnerup to the United States at last year's world, was second in team qualifying, followed by China, Romania, Britain, Japan, Italy and Canada. The team final is Tuesday; the scoring starts from scratch.

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ROUGH SAILING START FOR CLEARWATER'S ZACH RAILEY

Clearwater 2008 silver medalist Zach Railey had a rough first day on the course off Weymouth, finishing 10th and 15th in his first two Finn races to sit 15th overall. "The second race I made two major mistakes on the first upwind and never got into it," he told U.S. Sailing. "I felt fine, but didn't execute well." In Star, St. Petersburg native Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih of Miami started fifth and 14th to sit 10th overall. The courses were shifty, Fatih said. "We were able to fight back in the first race," he said. "In the second race, it was even more difficult." Anna Tunnicliffe of Plantation, Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi started with a win and a loss in match racing.

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STUNNING LOSS OUSTS SPAIN; BRITAIN GETS WIN

Spain was eliminated from the men's soccer tournament, losing 1-0 to Honduras for a second straight defeat that left it with no chance of advancing from the group stage. This is the first time Spain lost its first two group matches at a World Cup, Euro tournament, Confederations Cup or Olympics. Britain got its campaign back on track with a 3-1 victory over United Arab Emirates that knocked the Middle Eastern team out of the tournament. It was Britain's first Olympic victory in 52 years. Britain's Ryan Giggs became the oldest player to score at an Olympics at 38 years, 243 days, breaking an 88-year-old record. Giggs is playing in his first major international tournament.

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U.S. GETS FIRST MEDAL IN DIVING IN 12 YEARS

The medals were silver, but the smiles of Abby Johnston and Kelci Bryant showed they meant much, much more than that. Johnston and Bryant finished second in the women's synchronized 3-meter competition, claiming the first U.S. diving medal since 2000. Their final dive, a backward 21/2 somersault, might have been their best. "My heart rate was going, but I knew Abby was going to do a great dive," said Bryant, who acknowledged she was scoreboard-watching on the final dive in 2008, a mental error that led to an agonizing fourth-place finish. This time, she said, she never peeked. Canada's Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel took the bronze, but they and the Americans were far behind China's Wu Minxia and He Zi. Wu's gold was her third in a row in the event.

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RHODE WINS SKEET TO SET RECORD

Kimberly Rhode became the first American with individual medals in five straight Olympics, tying a world record in women's skeet shooting and setting the Olympic mark with 99 points, meaning she missed once in 100 shots. She was eight targets better than silver medalist Wei Ning of China. "It's just been an incredible journey," said Rhode, 33. Track stars Carl Lewis, Al Oerter and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and wrestler Bruce Baumgartner are the other Americans recognized as individual medal-winners in four straight Summer Olympics. Rhode becomes the eighth U.S. woman with at least five individual medals.

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OTHER SPORTS

- Russia's Maria Sharapova won her Olympic debut, playing under Wimbledon's retractable roof on Centre Court because of rain, beating Israel's Shahar Peer. Britain's Andy Murray returned to the court where he lost this month's Wimbledon final and beat Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka. Serbia's Novak Djokovic also won.

- The defending champion U.S. men's volleyball team opened play by sweeping Serbia 25-17, 25-22, 25-21.

- The South Koreans stayed perfect in women's team archery, winning their seventh straight gold medal. The Americans, second in the ranking round Friday, lost to the Chinese in the quarterfinals.

Compiled by Times staff writer Sharon Fink from information from the Associated Press, New York Times, NBCOlympics.com, Times staff.