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EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS

Published Aug. 10, 2012

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.

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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.

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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.

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GOLD-MEDAL BEHAVIOR

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

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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.

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U.S. WOMEN GET FIRST WATER POLO GOLD

The United States won its first gold medal in women's water polo, getting five goals from Maggie Steffens and a sterling performance from goalkeeper Betsey Armstrong to cruise to an 8-5 win over Spain on Thursday. "I am speechless. It still hasn't sunk in," U.S. captain Brenda Villa said. "I can't describe it. It's the end of a journey, and I got my fairy-tale ending." The United States has long been a power, but it had never translated its success at other major competitions to the Olympics, taking bronze in 2004 and silver in 2000 and 2008. Villa and Heather Petri played on all three of those Olympic teams. They came back this year, along with five other veterans from 2008, and were joined by a talented batch of new players, chief among them Steffens, 19, who led all scorers in London with 21 goals. Her five-goal effort in the final came as a bookend to her seven-goal Olympic debut to open the Games. Steffens' sister Jessica was on the 2008 team, and Maggie was in the stands to see the loss. "I felt that passion of the loss," she said. "I wanted this for Brenda and 'Peti' - to be able to retire and go out with the happiness of having gold, and for the '08 girls, to fill that void, to get the gold medal." Jessica said she knew Maggie eventually would play for the national team. "It was just a matter of when," she said. "(Coach Adam Krikorian) saw something in her and wanted to bring her under the wing of this team. And she totally rocked it."

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SHIELDS WINS WOMEN'S GOLD FOR U.S.

Claressa Shields ducked one punch, deftly leaned away from another, and stuck her tongue out at her Russian opponent. Shields had to laugh at any boxer trying to get between her and a historic gold medal. The 17-year-old middleweight from Flint, Mich., beat 33-year-old Nadezda Torlopova 19-12, capping her rapid ascent through women's boxing with a title in its Olympic debut. "I haven't been home a lot. I know I must have a lot of publicity. I might go in history books," she said. "People are going to look at me as an inspiration. ... I'll be able to help my family out. And then I got a gold medal I can wear every day." Shields won the 12-member American team's only gold medal, but the winningest nation in Olympic boxing history got no medals from its men's team for the first time. "I don't think anybody would feel bad about me representing them," Shields said. "I think I did a pretty good job."

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CHINA BACK ON TOP OF WOMEN'S PLATFORM

Chen Ruolin won the platform, joining Americans Dorothy Poynton-Hill and Patty McCormick, and countrywoman Fu Mingxia as the only women to win platform titles at successive Games. "She's unbelievable," said Australian silver medalist Brittany Broben, 16 and in her first Olympics. Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia won the bronze, the country's first medal in diving and first in any sport besides badminton. Americans Brittany Viola of Orlando and the University of Miami, daughter of 1988 Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola, and Katie Bell didn't make the final.

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U.S. WOMEN GET GOLD REMATCH VS. BRAZIL

Coach Hugh McCutcheon made a special point of seeking out captain Lindsey Berg for a hug after the U.S. women's volleyball team advanced to the gold-medal match. The Americans got an emotional boost from Berg, who returned for a straight-set semifinal victory over South Korea after missing the last match with a strained left Achilles. "It's game time, and I feel great, and I don't care how I feel after Saturday," Berg said, referring to the final, a rematch of the 2008 Olympic finale against Brazil, which the Americans lost. The United States is undefeated in London, dropping only two sets.

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U.S. WOMEN IN BASKETBALL FINAL

Now this was something new. The U.S. women's basketball team faced its first Olympic halftime deficit in 12 years as it tried to reach the gold-medal game for the fifth straight time. Not to worry. The Americans took a deep breath at the break, then used a pivotal 16-6 run sparked by defensive pressure to rally for an 86-73 win over Australia. The Americans play France for the gold on Saturday. "We came out in the second half, and once we got control of the game, it took off from there," coach Geno Auriemma said. Tina Charles and Diana Taurasi each scored 14 for the United States.

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MORE SPORTS

- American Haley Anderson got silver in the women's 10-kilometer marathon swim, finishing four-tenths of a second behind Hungary's Eva Risztov.

- Japan's Saori Yoshida won the 55-kilogram gold, her third gold in a row in the weight class. She became the third person to accomplish that feat, a day after teammate Kaori Icho. The third is Russian legend Alexander Karelin.

- Terrence Jennings of the United States got bronze in taekwondo at men's 68kg. Diana Lopez, a 2008 bronze medalist, lost her opening-round match at women's 57kg to two-time world champion Hou Yuzhuo. Lopez's brother, two-time Olympic champion Steven Lopez, fights today.

Compiled by Times staff writer Sharon Fink, from Associated Press, Yahoo Sports, Wall Street Journal, CNN.