london olympics 2012

...the ceremony was an entertaining celebration of British culture.  London had a tough act to follow after Beijing’s stunning ceremony in 2008. Yet, not only did London surpass expectations, but its display of self-confidence and soft power made a more powerful statement than Beijing’s mighty effort.

Science has played an increasingly important — if at times ambiguous — role in sport. Some contributions, such as the development of performance-enhancing drugs, fall squarely into the negative category. Conversely, where adequate funds are made available for local capacity building both science and sport can make important contributions to international development.

LONDON -- It has been a long road for former middle distance runner, Lord Sebastian Coe, who won gold medals in the Moscow and Los Angeles Olympics and has gone on to become the driving force behind the London Olympic Games. Those Games officially began with the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium on Friday night. "We are about to embark on the greatest sport we have ever seen and most of us will ever see in our lifetimes," said Lord Coe, who was the head of the bid which brought the Games to London.

What do the Olympics mean to you? Is it about men and women who have trained and persevered for long years - indeed most of their lives - to reach the peak and a brief moment of glory? When an athlete achieves a superhuman result, do you wonder whether he or she took a shortcut, courtesy of the anabolic steroid industry, as Ben Johnson did in that infamous 100-meters final at the 1988 Seoul Games?

In London, two Saudi women are set to participate in the Olympics today. But back in Saudi Arabia, millions of women and girls are effectively banned from practicing sports inside the Kingdom. Also, they aren't allowed to drive, although there is no law stipulating that.

As a young person asking the International Olympic Committee to commemorate the lives of 11 athletes massacred in Munich in 1972, I have been asked why I care to fight for the world to remember an event that has been repeatedly ignored by the IOC and, until recently, the rest of the world.

London 2012 organisers have apologised and blamed human error for Wednesday's wrong flag mix-up when South Korea's flag appeared alongside North Korea's women's football team on stadium screens as players warmed up before their opening match. The team left the pitch in protest at the blunder and initially refused to play but the game with Colombia at Hampden Park, Glasgow, eventually kicked off more than an hour late after hurried corrections to the video rectified the spectacular mistake.

The London Olympics have been dubbed the first "social media Games" with sports fans and athletes heavy users of Facebook, Twitter and the video-sharing site YouTube to talk about events as they happen and show them immediately.