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South African athlete Oscar Pistorius made history at London Games 2012 by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics.
Oscar, Pistorius, a four-time Paralympic champion, 25, whose legs were amputated below the knee as a baby, finished second in his 400 m heat in a time of 45.44 seconds to reach Sunday’s semi-final.
“I didn’t know if I should cry or be happy. It was such a mix of emotions,” Oscar Pistorius said.
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius made history at London Games 2012 by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics
Defending champion LaShawn Merritt of the United States pulled up injured.
The 26-year-old, who failed a drugs test in 2009, appeared to be still suffering with an Achilles tendon problem that affected him earlier in the season.
He stopped running after 250m and crossed the line at walking pace.
“It’s Olympic year – I tried to go for it, and it just didn’t happen,” he said.
Oscar Pistorius was impressive in his heat, coasting over the line behind Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, who won in 45.04.
“Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me. Thank you so much to my family – I saw my gran in the crowd. It was the most amazing experience.
“This crowd is amazing. I’ve run so many times in the UK and it feels like a second home to me.
“I’ve got to thank my team, they trust me, I trust them. We’ve been together for nine years.”
Oscar Pistorius ran in the individual 400 m at the 2011 World Championships but did not progress beyond the semi-finals.
He also ran in the relay but, after running in the heats, he was omitted from the team which raced in the final as South Africa went on to claim silver.
Oscar Pistorius is also due to run in the 4×400 m relay at London 2012.
Madhura Nagendra, the woman who appeared in India’s Olympic contingent in the opening ceremony, has apologized for an “error of judgement”.
Madhura Nagendra told the NDTV news channel she was a cast member at the event, and had not gatecrashed it.
Indian team officials were angered by the woman’s presence and had sought an apology.
The head of the London 2012 organizing committee, Lord Sebastian Coe, said she was a cast member who got “slightly over-excited” and joined the ceremony.
Madhura Nagendra became known as “the woman in red” because of the color of the top she was wearing.
She said she had entered the cast after “rounds of audition” and did not walk into the stadium “off the streets”.
Madhura Nagendra, the woman who appeared in India's Olympic contingent in the opening ceremony, has apologized for an "error of judgement
“[It was an] error of judgement [that] I landed up walking with the athletes. I think I have hurt the sentiments of my people. I apologize,” Madhura Nagendra said.
“There was chaos. Thousands of people were walking. I was blinded and as a result there was an error of judgement.”
Madhura Nagendra said she was “hurt” by the criticism of her act on social media outlets.
“I am a proud woman of India with a lot of enthusiasm. I was taken aback by the criticism. I hope this incident will be forgiven and I want to move forward.”
India is fielding 81 athletes at the London Games.
Thousands of people awaits the spectacular opening of the London Games, as a fly-past by the Red Arrows marked the start of the pre-show.
The nine RAF jets flew over the Olympic Stadium at the symbolic time of 20:12 BST, amid cheers.
The three-hour spectacle will be viewed by a TV audience of one billion people.
Details of the ceremony remain a closely-guarded secret. Its artistic director, Danny Boyle, has dedicated it to the 15,000 volunteers taking part.
Danny Boyle has spoken of his “excitement” for the ceremony, which is named the Isles of Wonder, as well as feeling “nervousness” for all the volunteers.
Thousands of people awaits the spectacular opening of the London Games, as a fly-past by the Red Arrows marked the start of the pre-show
The Oscar-winning film director said the ceremony “might surprise people… it’s spectacular, but also inclusive – it has a warmth”.
The chairman of London 2012, Lord Sebastian Coe, said he was “as excited as hell”.
Crowds of people, many of them dressed up in their nation’s colors, are gathering in large numbers at the Olympic Park.
Transport to the stadium appears to be running smoothly and the crowds are moving quickly through security.
Rain has started to fall over the stadium, despite forecasters predicting dry weather ahead of the ceremony.
The day of celebration began at 08:12 BST with a mass bell ringing. Big Ben rang for three minutes for the first time since King George VI’s funeral in 1952.
The Olympic torch has been welcomed to Buckingham Palace by members of the royal family, including Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Large crowds gathered across London to see the flame on the penultimate day of its journey around the British Isles.
The torch relay also passed through Downing Street, where it was greeted by Prime Minister David Cameron.
David Cameron earlier said the London Games would show the world “beyond doubt that Britain can deliver”.
The flame ended the day in Hyde Park where the final torchbearer lit a cauldron in front of 60,000 people who have gathered for a celebratory concert.
London Mayor Boris Johnson wished the crowds a “wonderful” Olympics, and thanked them for their support.
“Are we ready? Yes we are,” Boris Johnson said, in a rallying cry to the audience.
The Olympic torch has been welcomed to Buckingham Palace by members of the royal family, including Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge
Meanwhile, Great Britain’s men’s football team is taking on Senegal at Manchester’s Old Trafford ground.
On Friday, the Olympics will be officially opened by the Queen and the torch’s journey will come to an end during the opening ceremony.
A unanimous decision has been made over who will light the Olympic Stadium’s cauldron, LOCOG said, but it will be kept secret until the ceremony.
Earlier, David Cameron told reporters during a news conference at the Olympic Park: “This is a great moment for us. Let’s seize it.”
And he said security was his main concern ahead of the Games – an area he said he takes “personal responsibility for”.
David Cameron described a blunder in which North Korean footballers’ images were shown next to the South Korean flag as an “honest mistake”.
The prime minister called the eve of the Games “a truly momentous day for our country”.
“Seven years of waiting, planning, building, dreaming, are almost over – tomorrow, the curtain comes up, the spectators arrive, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 can officially begin.”
David Cameron also met the Republican candidate for the US presidency, Mitt Romney, during his campaigning and fundraising visit to London.
Mitt Romney had earlier expressed concerns about “disconcerting” signs of a lack of readiness for the Games.
“The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials – that obviously is not something which is encouraging,” Mitt Romney told a US television station.
It is “hard to know just how well it will turn out”, said Mitt Romney, who managed the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.
David Cameron responded by saying: “Of course, this is a time of some economic difficulty for the UK. Everybody knows that.
“But look at what we’re capable of achieving as a nation, even at a difficult economic time.”
Mitt Romney, who also met Labour leader Ed Miliband, later said outside Number 10: “I expect the Games to be highly successful.”
In other developments:
• Long queues outside St James’s Park in Newcastle meant some football fans missed the start of Mexico v South Korea
• The PM met David Beckham at Downing Street to discuss how to tackle world hunger. It came ahead of a “hunger summit” on the final day of the Games, Sunday 12 August
• A planned strike by East Midlands Trains (EMT) during the Games was called off after a pensions dispute was settled
• LOCOG apologized after an official football programme listed Welsh footballer Joe Allen as English. It said the error would be corrected for Team GB’s next match
• A global investment conference in London kicked off a series of business summits intended to showcase the UK and attract investment during the Games
• A new record for arrivals at Heathrow is expected to be set on Thursday, with up to 125,000 incoming passengers
Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel creative head, last night joined in with the countdown to London Games as he launched a new collection at Selfridges with a glittering bash.
He unveiled three collections under the Karl Lagerfeld brand: Karl and the premium line Karl Lagerfeld Paris, and a pop-up store selling unique designs created especially for Selfridges customers in honor of the Olympics under the moniker Team Karl.
But despite opening a store in time for the Games, Karl Lagerfeld said he would not be one of the billions from around the world tuning in to the event when it kicks off this week.
“I like the idea, I like the people, but the performances, they are something of a little unhuman now,” he said last night.
“I like the image and the idea better than to watch it.”
Highlights of the collection include gold, silver and bronze logos on T-shirts with Karl Lagerfeld's name on them, sunglasses in medal hues, and metallic trims in the form of glittering gold collars
The logo for the Team Karl range shows the designer standing in the traditional discus pose – an arm swung back about to throw the disc – but still wearing his trademark suit and powdered hair.
Highlights of the collection include gold, silver and bronze logos on T-shirts with Karl Lagerfeld’s name on them, sunglasses in medal hues, and metallic trims in the form of glittering gold collars.
“It’s a collection of today,” he said.
“So it’s the mood the way I see things, with a touch of humor and lightness in it.”
Women’s football is the first event of the Olympics and is to kick off later, two days before the official opening ceremony.
The Team GB women’s football side will get 18 days of sport under way at 16:00 BST against New Zealand at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
Designated Games Lanes, covering about 30 miles of roads and off limits to the public, have begun operating in London.
And government lawyers will go to court to try to stop a public sector workers’ strike on the eve of the Games.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will join Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan in Cardiff for the first event of the 2012 Games.
Women’s football is the first event of the Olympics and is to kick off later, two days before the official opening ceremony
Team GB coach Hope Powell said opening the Games was a “great honour” and would hopefully give people “a greater appreciation of how good women’s football actually is”.
And captain Casey Stoney said she hoped the fixture could “raise the profile of women’s football”.
“It’s a global thing, not just for our nation, and hopefully we can put on a good show – but we are just focused on getting the job done.”
Team GB drew 0-0 against Sweden in their final warm-up fixture at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium last Friday.
Relative unknowns Cameroon and heavily fancied Brazil will take each other on at the stadium after the GB game, and four other matches in the same competition are also taking place later in the day at Hampden Park in Glasgow and the City of Coventry Stadium.
The Olympic Route Network (ORN), made up of 175 miles of roads connecting up the main Olympic venues across the country, comes into force on Wednesday.
It is designed to make it easier for athletes and officials to get around the Games and has seen junctions blocked off, bus stops moved and parking bays suspended.
As part of the ORN, the designated Games Lanes in London will be in operation between 06:00 BST and midnight and only open to VIPs, athletes and accredited media.
Ordinary motorists going into the lanes face fines of £130 ($205).
Mark Evers, Transport for London’s (TfL) director of Games transport, said commuters must leave more time for their journeys.
“The worst case scenario for us is that people try to chance it and, those first few days of the Games, that they try to do what they ordinarily do – and I can guarantee all people that travel around London, those first few days of the Games are going to be really busy,” Mark Evers said.
“It’s vitally important that they come up with a plan that takes into account the busy parts of the network.”
TfL commissioner Peter Hendy said the early signs were positive: “We’ve seen a marked reduction in road traffic in the last 10 days, which is along the lines of what we asked Londoners and people who work in London to do.”
In the High Court, the government is to argue for an injunction to prevent public sector workers, including immigration and passport workers at Heathrow and other airports, taking strike action on Thursday.
Thousands of spectators are expected to arrive at Heathrow Airport on that day.
The Home Office says it believes there was a “procedural error” in the ballot of members of the Public and Commercial Services union.
But the PCS said it was “confident” the strike was legal and would happen.
The government insists contingency plans are in place in the event of industrial action.
The Kazakh Olympic team is hoping to boost its chances of sporting success at London 2012 with horsemeat sausages.
Sports officials in Kazakhstan say that the traditional dish may help the athletes’ performance.
But it is unclear whether the sausages will be allowed into the UK, because of strict import controls on meat.
Kazakhstan is fielding 114 athletes at the London games, which begin in two weeks.
The Kazakh Olympic team is hoping to boost its chances of sporting success at London 2012 with horsemeat sausages
Horsemeat is an indispensable part of the traditional Kazakh diet, and a dried horsemeat sausage known as “kazy” is particularly cherished.
The Kazakh team is made up mainly of boxers, wrestlers and weightlifters, all sports associated with a protein-rich diet.
“We’ll bring horse meat and caviar for each team,” sports official Elsiyar Kanagatov said, adding that athletes could achieve “outstanding results” if fed properly.
Oil-rich Kazakhstan is fiercely ambitious and there is also the promise of hard cash should athletes succeed – $200,000 for a gold medal, $150,000 for silver and $75,000 for bronze, our correspondent says.
The team has won 39 medals including nine gold since its debut at the Olympics in 1996.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has begun an investigation into claims Olympics representatives were willing to sell thousands of tickets for the London Games on the black market.
The IOC’s ruling executive board met after fresh claims by the Sunday Times involving more than 50 countries.
This included allegations that tickets for top events were available for up to 10 times their face value.
The IOC has referred the allegations to its independent ethics commission.
The Sunday Times submitted a dossier of evidence detailing claims that Olympic officials and agents had been caught selling thousands of tickets on the black market for up to 10 times their face value.
IOC has begun an investigation into claims Olympics representatives were willing to sell thousands of tickets for the London Games on the black market
The IOC could also review how Olympic tickets are distributed among member countries – more than one million were distributed to those taking part in the Games.
The Sunday Times alleges, during a two-month investigation in which reporters posed as Middle Eastern ticket touts, it found corruption involving people representing 54 separate countries.
More than one million London 2012 tickets were distributed abroad among all the nations taking part in the Games, but the IOC has strict rules to try to combat touts.
National Olympic committees must ensure that their allocation is only sold within their own region.
Last month a senior Ukrainian Olympic official resigned after being filmed by the BBC offering tickets for cash.
The IOC said in a statement: “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has moved quickly to deal with allegations that some National Olympic Committees (NOC) and Authorized Ticket Resellers (ATR) have broken rules relating to the sale of Olympic tickets.
“The IOC takes these allegations very seriously and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate.
“Should any irregularities be proven, the organization will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner.
“The NOCs are autonomous organizations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions.
“The IOC has also determined that it will take on board any recommendations coming out of the inquiry to improve the way that tickets are allocated and sold internationally in the future.”
London 2012 organizing committee LOCOG said it would support the IOC in its investigation “in any way we can”.
“Rules and regulations for selling London 2012 tickets to international fans are clear and unambiguous,” it said.
No tickets intended for the British market were involved, it added.