London Latest - 1st Doping Case, Praise for Ceremony, 1st Gold of London Olympics
Albania at the Opening Ceremony on Friday night. (Getty Images)
Albanian Athlete Busted for Doping
The International Olympic Committee says “we will catch you” to doping cheats after announcing that Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku has been excluded from London 2012.
IOC Communications director Mark Adams confirmed the news at a press conference in the main press center this morning.
An IOC press release says Hysen Pulaku, 20, tested positive on July 23 for stanozolo, and had therefore been sanctioned and excluded from the Games.
“He has had his part in Olympic Games taken away from him so he is being sent home” Adams said. “It’s always a sad day when a cheating athlete is caught out. If any athlete is doping, we are going to catch you.”
“Five thousand tests will be done during these games; every medal winning athlete will be tested so no-one can think they can get away and that’s a very good message to send. But it is very disappointing.”
Adams added that to date 1,001 total samples have been taken; 715 urine and 286 blood. Pulaku’s file will now be handed to the International Weightlifting Federation, which will decide whether to take any further action within its own jurisdiction.
Sir Danny Boyle?
Danny Boyle was the recipient of the major plaudits today for the eccentric opening ceremony.
Volunteers who took part in the ceremony were speaking to the media about the experience of working with the Oscar winning director.
Words such as “inspirational”, “brilliant” and “courageous” were flowing from the lips of those involved about Boyle who was hired to direct the show in June 2010. After the ceremony the hash tag #sirdannyboyle was trending on Twitter.
However, the spectacular cauldron which is made up of 204 flaming ‘petals’ has been questioned for its position during the Games as it will remain inside the Olympic Stadium – not visible to spectators standing outside.
Cauldron designer Thomas Hetherwick. (ATR)
The designer of the cauldron, Thomas Hetherwick, explained that the design of cauldron was to be different and not try and outsize previous Olympic cauldrons.
“The precedent was the 1948 cauldron which was in the stadium, set to one side with the spectators” he added. “With the technology we now have it can be shared with everyone in the park on the big screens. Sharing it on the screens reinforces the intimacy.”
“If we succumbed to the idea of it being visible it would then have to be bigger and then it wouldn’t have met with Danny’s idea of it being rooted in the stadium…the stadium represents some kind of temple and it’s the flame that sits in the heart of that temple.”
The cauldron has been moved from last night’s central position to the southern part of the stadium, so it will be clearly visible for spectators and athlete’s inside.
Hands Out First Gold Medal
Chinese shooter Yi Siling won the first gold medal of London 2012 after her victory this morning at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Yi Siling (left) won the first gold medal of the 2012 Olympics. (Getty Images)
Siling took the women’s 10m air rifle gold after managing a shot score of 10.5, sealing victory ahead of Poland’s Sylwia Bogacka and fellow Chinese national Yu Dan.
IOC president Jacques Rogge was there to perform his usual duty of bestowing the first gold medal of an Olympics. He was acoustically accompanied by the Chariots of Fire theme – though this time Mr Bean was nowhere to be seen. The music will be used throughout the Games for medal ceremonies.
“It was very well prepared,” Rogge said. “There was a lot of suspense at the end. The crowd was very well prepared and very knowledgeable. It's a very good start and a very encouraging start for China for what I think will be a very strong show.”
Empty Seats at Swimming -- Due to Late Night?
LOCOG have said that is is looking into why there appeared to be some empty seats at the first session of swimming Saturday – despite being sold out.
The empty seats were attributed to accredited tickets and not general public tickets LOCOG communications director Jackie Brock Doyle said.
Jackie Brock Doyle. (ATR)
However the reason for the no-shows could be down to the fact that many had a long night in getting back from the opening ceremony.
The ceremony ran over despite the best efforts by organizers for it to finish before 12:30am. Media shuttle buses were not running for an hour after the event and even at 2:15am, the Javelin trains running from Stratford International to St Pancras were beset with hundreds of tired and anxious visitors.
The London Underground ran a longer service as promised though not as frequent as it would be during normal hours. Many spectators, reporters and officials got to bed barely a few hours before they would have to return to the Park – so they may be forgiven for sleeping in.
Opening Ceremony Headlines
The British media is brimming with pride today after Boyle’s spectacular masterpiece. The sight of the giant Olympic rings dripping with fire is fast becoming the iconic image of the night with the major newspapers devoting their front pages to it.
Here are just some of the headlines greeting readers today:
Daily Mail: ‘BLAST OFF!’
The Guardian: ‘Night of Wonder’
The Times: ‘A Flying Start’
The Sun: ‘GOLDEN WONDER’
The Daily Telegraph: ‘GOING FOR GOLD’
Daily Express: ‘BRITAIN AT ITS BEST’
Reported by Christian Radnedge
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