Supporting teammates: When Ali Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, and McKayla Maroney sat in the stands to cheer on Gabby Douglas in the Women’s Uneven Bars Final, they had their hair uncharacteristically slicked back with gel and pins folded into buns in Gabby’s characteristic but criticized style.
Incredible. This is what the Olympics is really about.
What if not winning a gold medal in the Olympics meant being cast out of society and forced into a labor camp when you returned home from London?
Such is the fate awaiting some North Korean athletes who fail to bring home medals. Adding insult to injury, the athletes are actually forced into training at a young age by the Communist Party’s Sports Committee.
Your own personal London 2012 Olympics Checklist. What have you already watched? What are you hoping to get to see?
Gabby Douglas reacts to winning Gold in the women’s gymnastics all around. She became the first African-American to win the all around and the third female gymnast in a row to win the medal for the United States.
Alicia Sacramone, on the way her underage teammates flirted in the 2008 Olympics
“There’s a lot of sex going on,” says women’s soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, a gold medalist in 2008. How much sex? “I’d say it’s 70 percent to 75 percent of Olympians,” offers world-record-holding swimmer Ryan Lochte, who will be in London for his third Games. “Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.”
At the 2000 Sydney Games, 70,000 condoms wasn’t enough, prompting a second order of 20,000 and a new standing order of 100,000 condoms per Olympics.
The greatest, most insightful and most quotable article ever written.
- THE HIGHLIGHTS: And on it went for eight days as scores of Olympians, male and female, trickled into the shooter’s house — and that’s what everyone called it, Shooters’ House — at all hours, stopping by an Oakley duffel bag overflowing with condoms procured from the village’s helpful medical clinic. After a while, it dawned on Lakatos: “I’m running a friggin’ brothel in the Olympic Village! I’ve never witnessed so much debauchery in my entire life.”
- “When I walked in for the first time in Atlanta,” says women’s soccer player Brandi Chastain, “there were loud cheers. So we look over and see two French handballers dressed only in socks, shoes, jockstraps, neckties and hats on top of a dining table, feeding one another lunch. We’re like, ‘Holy cow, what is this place?’”
- BMXer Jill Kintner, who won bronze in Beijing, says the Italians are particularly inviting: “They leave their doors open, so you look in and see dudes in thongs running circles around each other.”
- Male gymnasts? “They are like lovable little Ewoks,” Kintner says.
- ”I’ve seen people having sex right out in the open. On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty.”
- The Germans were hoping for some group fun, which is not uncommon in the village. One skier tells a story from the Vancouver Games in 2010, when six athletes — “some Germans, Canadians and Austrians” — got together at a home outside the Whistler village. “It was a late-night whirlpool party. It turned into a whirlpool orgy.”
- Here’s what you don’t see on TV: all of the athletes who arrive inebriated and, throughout the ceremony, sneak back and forth between the infield and the stadium with drinks.
- On a United Airlines flight from Sydney to Los Angeles in 2000, nearly 100 Olympians were among the passengers, causing the flight attendants to begin the flight with a warning: “Ladies and gentlemen, anybody who wishes to sleep, trade seatswith someone in the front of the plane. Everybody else to the back with the Olympians.” After that, the story gets fuzzy. “Everybody partnered up fairly rapidly, and when they’d bring a drink cart through, we’d send it back dry,” says Lakatos, who met a girl and “comfortably occupied row 50-something for roughly half an hour.” Greer ended up in the bathroom with a famous Olympian he will not name. “We’re going at it, and then — boing. I accidentally turn on the assistance light.” Happily for them, once Greer assured the flight attendant of their Olympic credentials, they were able to return to their business. “And we stayed in there a long time.”
Danell Leyva —- USA
Björn Barrefors — Sweden, Track and Field
Ryan Lochte —- Swimming, USA
In this multiple exposure photo, U.S. gymnast Kyla Ross performs on the balance beam during the Artistic Gymnastics women’s team final at the 2012 Summer Olympics
U.S. gymnasts, from left to right, Gabrielle Douglas, Alexandra Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross react as they watch the screen that displays results declaring them winners of the gold medal during the Artistic Gymnastic women’s team final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in London.