Part II 2012 London Olympics: The First 9 Days
More than 10,000 athletes from 200 national Olympic committees around the globe have gathered in London for the 17-day 2012 Summer Olympic Games. So far, dozens of Olympic and world records have already been broken and more than 500 medals have been awarded. As we pass the Games' halfway point, here's a look back at some amazing events that have taken place in the U.K. over the past nine days.
U.S. gymnast Gabrielle Douglas performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, on August 2, 2012. Douglas went on to win the Gold medal in the event. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Bronze for Beth as British gymnast becomes oldest competitor to win Olympic gym medal in 48 years
Beth Tweddle added to Team GB's medal tally today when she won a bronze and became the oldest competitor to win an Olympic gymnast medal for 48 years.
The 27-year-old performed brilliantly on the uneven bars this afternoon and won third prize despite a faltering dismount knocking her final mark of 15.916.
She looked like she may have done enough to get silver before Russia's Aliya Mustafina claimed gold with 16.133, knocking Kexin He of China to second.
Beth Tweddle appeared to be just as happy with bronze as she would with gold
Beth Tweddle looked like she was going to get silver despite being let down by her dismount
Bronze medal winner Beth Tweddle (right) pictured with Russia's Aliya Mustafina (centre) who won gold and silver medal winner He Kexin (left)
The 27-year-old became the oldest person to win a gymnast medal since in nearly half a century
Speaking after the event, her mother Anne said: 'We are just delighted because that was the missing one. Every mother says it, but I am so, so proud of her.
'Since she had knee surgery 12 weeks ago, she has been doing so much, and putting so much in, and now it has all paid off.'
Tweddle, who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and brought up in Bunbury, Cheshire, has been an ambassador for the sport in Britain for many years, having won more titles and medals than any other British gymnast.
She is a three-time world champion, six-time European champion and seven-time British champion. London 2012 was Tweddle's third Olympics as she competed in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
It was her fourth place finish in the uneven bars event in Beijing which inspired her to continue in the sport and compete at London 2012.
Her father Jerry said: 'She has become the first British woman to win an Olympic gymnastics medal, after becoming the first to win at the worlds and the Europeans. I couldn't be happier for her.'
American teenager Douglas, competing last, took a free swing after hesitating on the higher bar and suffered with a score of 14.900 and last place.
The medal comes despite having knee surgery just 12 weeks ago
Tweddle Cheshire, has been an ambassador for the sport in Britain for many years, having won more titles and medals than any other British gymnast
The London 2012 Games are the last ones that Tweddle will compete in
Just 18 months after blowing out her knee and putting her chances for London in doubt, Mustafina won the title on uneven bars.
It gave the 2010 world champion a full set of medals, following her silver in the team competition and bronze in the all-around. Mustafina couldn't take her eyes off the scoreboard after the final results were posted, staring at it with pride.
Any medal was fine with Tweddle, the inspiration for Britain's gymnastics renaissance, who appeared overjoyed with her bronze.
She'd come achingly close in 2008, missing the bronze by a mere 0.025, and briefly considered retiring. But she stuck around, and had an entire country supporting her.
Tweddle started out in the sport aged seven, and began training with the City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club aged 11.
She continues to train there with the same coach, Amanda Reddin, to this day.
Tweddle came just 0.025 points from a medal at the Beijing Games and thought about retiring from the sport then
The cheer from the crowd at the O2 arena for Tweddle was no different to that of many Team GB gold medal winners
U.S. gymnast Gabrielle Douglas performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, on August 2, 2012. Douglas went on to win the Gold medal in the event. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Mo Farah of Great Britain, shown on a giant screen as he receives his Gold medal for the 10,000 meter race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games, on August 5, 2012. (John Stillwell/Getty Images) #
Jamel Herring, of the United States, after being defeated by Kazakhstan's Daniyar Yelessinov in their men's light welter 64-kg boxing match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, on July 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) #
Russia's Aliya Mustafina warms up before competing in the balance beam during the women's individual all-around gymnastics final in the North Greenwich Arena, on August 2, 2012. (Reuters/Mike Blake) #
Australia's Jessica Fox competes in the women's K-1 kayak slalom semifinal at the Lee Valley White Water Center in Waltham Cross, near London, on August 2, 2012. Fox won the silver medal in the final. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
The full moon rises through the Olympic Rings hanging beneath Tower Bridge during the London 2012 Olympic Games, on August 3, 2012. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor) #
Nordine Oubaali of France (left) connects with Afghanistan's Ajmal Faisal in the men's Fly (52kg) Round of 32 boxing match at the ExCeL venue, on July 30, 2012. (Reuters/Murad Sezer) #
Bronze medalists Nicholas McCrory, front and David Boudia, rear, from the US compete during the Men's Synchronized 10 Meter Platform Diving final at the Aquatics Center in the Olympic Park, on July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) #
The Olympic Cauldron burns as athletes compete in the Men's 3000m Steeplechase Heats on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games, on August 3, 2012. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) #
Michael Phelps of the U.S. dives into the pool at the start of the men's 200m individual medley swimming final at the Aquatics Center, on August 2, 2012. (Reuters/Adam Pretty/Pool) #
Debbie Phelps, mother of United States swimmer Michael Phelps, cries following the national anthem for the men's 4 X 100-meter medley relay at the Aquatics Center in the Olympic Park, on August 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) #
Gold medalist Michael Phelps of the United States kisses his medal following the medal ceremony for the Men's 4x100m medley Relay Final, on August 4, 2012. Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, 18 of them gold. (Al Bello/Getty Images) #
Hungary's Mate Lekai makes a shot against South Korea in their men's handball Preliminaries Group B match at the Copper Box venue, on July 31, 2012. (Reuters/Marko Djurica) #
Samantha Arevalo Salinas of Ecuador starts in a women's 800-meter freestyle swimming heat at the Aquatics Center in London, on August 2, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #
Nicola Spirig of Switzerland, shown just barely beating Lisa Norden of Sweden in this photo-finish image of the women's triathlon final of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Hyde Park, on August 4, 2012. (Reuters/Omega Ltd) #
From right: Marianne Vos of Netherlands, Elizabeth Armitstead of Great Britain, Kristin Armstrong of the United States and Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia cycle in the rain during the Women's Road Race, on July 29, 2012. (Stefano Rellandini/Getty Images) #
Russian gymnasts and team officials react as teammate Kseniia Afanaseva falls while performing on the floor during the Artistic Gymnastics women's team final, on July 31, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) #
A spectator views the men's Group A volleyball match between Italy and Poland on a mobile phone at Earls Court, on July 29, 2012. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
Andrea Baldini of Italy celebrates after his match against Yuki Ota of Japan in the gold medal match during the men's foil team fencing competition, on August 5, 2012. Italy won the gold and Japan won the silver. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) #
Team USA celebrates winning the gold medal at a victory ceremony after the women's eight finals rowing event at Eton Dorney, on August 2, 2012. Team members are Erin Cafaro, Zsuzsanna Francia, Esther Lofgren, Taylor Ritzel, Meghan Musnicki, Eleanor Logan, Caroline Lind, Caryn Davies and Mary Whipple. (Reuters/Mark Blinch) #
Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov serves to Taiwan's Chuang Chih-yuan in their men's singles bronze medal table tennis match at the ExCel venue, on August 2, 2012. (Reuters/Grigory Dukor) #
The spinnaker of the boat of Trevor Moore and Erik Storck of the U.S., in the waves before the fifth race of the men's 49er sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth and Portland, southern England, on August 1, 2012. (Reuters/Pascal Lauener) #
South Korea's Ryu Seungmin (right) shakes hands with North Korea's Kim Hyok-bong after a game in their men's team first round table tennis match at the ExCel venue, on August 4, 2012. (Reuters/Grigory Dukor) #
37-year-old Oksana Chusovitina of Germany, after competing in the women's gymnastics vault final in the North Greenwich Arena, on August 5, 2012. Chusovitina placed fifth in the event, participating in her sixth Olympic games. (Reuters/Brian Snyder) #
China's Sun Yang, after he won gold in the men's 1500m freestyle final in world record time at the Aquatics Center, on August 4, 2012. Sun clocked 14 minutes, 31.02 seconds to set a new world record. (Reuters/Toby Melville) #
China's Zhou Lulu competes during women's over 75-kg, weightlifting competition, on August 5, 2012, in London. Lulu won the gold medal with a total of 333 kg. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
South Korea's Shin A Lam reacts after being defeated by Germany's Britta Heidemann (not seen) during their women's epee individual semifinal fencing competition at the ExCel venue, on July 30, 2012. Lam had disputed the result, and had to wait on the floor while her coach made a lengthy appeal, which was denied after more than an hour. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj) #
Brazilian gymnast Ethiene Cristina Gonser Franco prays as fellow gymnast Daniele Matias Hypolito performs on the beam in the background during the artistic gymnastics women's qualifications, on July 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) #
The South Korean men's cycling team trains on Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #
Laura Ludwig of Germany celebrates during the Women's Beach Volleyball Quarter Final match between Brazil and Germany on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade, on August 5, 2012. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) #
Australia's Scott Martin competes during his men's discus throw qualification at the Olympic Stadium, on August 6, 2012. (Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach) #
Georgie Twigg (left) of Great Britain celebrates scoring their fourth goal during the Women's Hockey Match between Great Britain and Korea at Riverbank Arena, on July 31, 2012. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) #
Olena Fedorova of Ukraine competes in the Women's 3m Springboard Diving Preliminary Round at the Aquatics Center, on August 3, 2012. (Al Bello/Getty Images) #
Rower Julien Bahain, of France's men's double sculls team, is comforted by his girlfriend after his team finished fifth in a semifinal race and failed to advance to the final in Eton Dorney, near Windsor, on July 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) #
A multiple-exposure image of Marcel Nguyen of Germany on the horizontal bar during the men's individual all-around gymnastics final in the North Greenwich Arena, on August 1, 2012. (Reuters/Mike Blake) #
Jessica Ennis of Great Britain crosses the line during the Women's Heptathlon 800m to win the race and the overall gold on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium, on August 4, 2012. (Michael Steele/Getty Images) #
Photographers and a camerman take pictures of Britain's Jessica Ennis as she celebrates winning gold in the women's heptathlon, on August 4, 2012. (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch) #
Britain's Jessica Ennis celebrates winning her women's heptathlon at the Olympic Stadium, on August 4, 2012. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #
Vittoria Panizzon of Italy stumbles on Borough Pennyz in the Individual Eventing Cross Country Equestrian at Greenwich Park, on July 30, 2012 in London, England. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) #
South Korea's Jaehyouk Sa shouts after badly injuring his elbow in the men's 77Kg Group A weightlifting competition at the ExCel venue, on August 1, 2012. (Reuters/Grigory Dukor) #
Gabrio Zandona (right) and Pietro Zucchetti (left) of Italy compete in the Men's 470 Sailing on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour, on August 2, 2012. (Clive Mason/Getty Images) #
Hungary's Hanna Kisteleki holds hands with a teammate as they watch their team play against Russia during their women's water polo quarterfinal round at the Water Polo Arena, on August 5, 2012. (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh) #
Tuau Lapua Lapua of Tuvalu competes in the Men's 62kg Weightlifting at ExCeL, on July 30, 2012 in London, England. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) #
USA's Sanya Richards-Ross reacts after winning the women's 400-meter race in the Olympic Stadium, on August 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) #
Photographers train their cameras on the pool during day 5 of the swimming events at the London 2012 Olympic Games, on August 1, 2012. (Christophe Simon/AFP/GettyImages) #
Great Britain's Alan Campbell cries on the podium with his bronze medal won for the men's single sculls final A of the rowing event at Eton Dorney Rowing Center in Eton, west of London, on August 3, 2012. (Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images) #
Russia's Valeriy Shomin discharges rounds during the skeet men's qualification round at the Royal Artillery Barracks during the London 2012 Olympic Games, on July 31, 2012. (Reuters/Cathal McNaughton) #
Biao Chai of China returns against Haifeng Fu and Yun Cai of China in their Men's Doubles Badminton quarter final at Wembley Arena, on August 2, 2012. (Michael Regan/Getty Images) #
A tilt-shift lens image of Carl Hester of Great Britain riding Uthopia, as he waves to the crowd in the Dressage Grand Prix at Greenwich Park, on August 2, 2012 in London, England. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images) #
China's Wang Hao (left) and Chen Ruolin bite their gold medals during the women's synchronized 10m platform victory ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Center, on July 31, 2012. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Russia's Ivan Nifontov celebrates after defeating Japan's Takahiro Nakai during their men's -81kg bronze medal A judo match, on July 31, 2012. (Reuters/Darren Staples) #
Athletes compete in the 20-kilometer race walk, on Saturday, August 4, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) #
Taiwan's Tien Chia Chen reacts after failing to qualify for the finals, during in the women's 10m Air Pistol qualification competition in the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich in southeast London, on July 29, 2012. (Reuters/Eddie Keogh) #
Sanya Richards-Ross of the United States kisses her husband and NFL Cornerback Aaron Ross after winning the Women's 400m final at the Olympic Stadium, on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) #
Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to win his second consecutive gold medal in the men's 100-meter final in the Olympic Stadium, on August 5, 2012. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
An estimated two billion people around the world saw Jamaica's Usain Bolt thrash his rivals to win gold in the men's 100m final - but none of them were in the U.S., as NBC declined to broadcast the historic moment live.
Bolt sailed through the semi-finals before successfully defending his Olympic title - against a field that included three Americans - at 4.50pm EDT.
But, not for the first time this Games, NBC took the controversial decision to hold off broadcasting the hugely popular event until prime time, leaving millions of track and field fans outraged.
Fastest man: Americans were not able to watch Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, thrash his rivals in the 100m finals live
Celebrating: Usain Bolt, pictured, celebrates after winning the men's 100m final
Fans desperate to see the 25-year-old set the track on fire again, four years after his superb performance in Beijing, took to Twitter to vent their anger, using the hashtag #NBCfails.
'How can NBC be so inept? How many senior execs will be canned? How high will the cleaning go? It'll probably be delayed,' one user tweeted.
Another wrote: 'Thank you NBC for showing Bolt winning the 100 meter finals instead of woman vollyball (sic) and horses. wait you didn't.'
'Would have been nice if NBC chose to broadcast it live. NBC really values its audience,' a fellow track fan tweeted.
In an Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds, Bolt sensationally defended his coveted title as the fastest man on the planet.
A global TV audience estimated at up to two billion watched the Jamaican retain his 100-metre sprint crown but Americans weren't among them.
Strides ahead: Bolt, centre, upheld his title in the 100m dash this afternoon
Outright winner: Usain Bolt streaks clear of the field to claim gold from lane seven in one of the most eagerly awaited Olympic events ever
20 MILLION PEOPLE TUNE IN TO BBC1 TO WATCH FASTEST MAN ON THE PLANET TRIUMPH AGAIN
An audience of 20 million people watched Usain Bolt win gold in the men’s 100m final, according to BBC figures.
Overnight ratings showed 19.4 million tuned in to BBC1 to see the race, with another 600,000 watching via the red button service.
The BBC’s Olympics boss, Roger Mosey, said the figures were 'sensational'.
Last night’s audience was the biggest for the games so far, outstripping the 17.1 million who watched Mo Farah win the 10,000m on Saturday night.
The games have consistently pulled in massive audiences for the BBC, with more than 16 million people watching Jessica Ennis triumph in the heptathlon and 15.6 million watching Greg Rutherford’s long jump gold.
Figures released by the corporation also show record numbers watching the coverage online with its website recording a peak audience of 8 million - above the previous record of 5.7 million.
More than 1.5 million people have downloaded the BBC’s Olympics app for their phone and around 17 million people have used one of the 24 red button streams.
The website has seen 29 million requests for its interactive video streams with video of Bradley Wiggins’ win being the single most popular, with 729,000 requests.
Mr Mosey told followers on Twitter that Andy Murray’s victory over Roger Federer in the men’s singles was watched by 10.7 million people.
The race had been billed ‘the greatest’ race of London 2012 – and it was certainly the most anticipated.
The latest blunder comes after NBC's employees started turning on the network’s much-criticised Olympics coverage.
Dan Hicken, who has been the sports director of NBC affiliate 12 News in Jacksonville since 1991, lost his temper live on air in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Hicken launched an attack on the network's Olympics anchor Bob Costas, whose tape-delayed broadcast overran by seven minutes and interrupted his show.
'He does it every four years,' Hicken said of Costas, who has has been the prime-time host of a record nine Olympic games.
Champion again: Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to win gold in the men's 100-metre final in the Olympic Stadium in London
World order: American bronze medallist Justin Gatlin (left) can only look on with envy as Jamaica's Usain Bolt (right) rewrites Olympic history once again
'Bob doesn't know that 12 o'clock means 12 o'clock. It doesn’t mean 12:02, it doesn’t mean 12:04, it certainly doesn’t mean 12:07.
'Bob, when it’s 12 o’clock, you say goodnight. You don’t care because you’re sleeping right now.'
Hicken said his team was working really hard for Costas, his 'NBC family'.
'I’m glad we had the little gymnast girls. I’m excited about it. I’m glad we got to interview Michael Phelps six times,' he added.
'It's just starting, mark my words Jacksonville. Tomorrow, it'll be 12:09, 12:11, he starts to push it that Bob does.'
But he ended his rant on a more light-hearted note, adding: 'I love him, though,' Hicken added. 'He’s a great broadcaster.'
NBC has come under fire for their Olympics coverage.
Fighting fit: Usain Bolt, who had been troubled by a hamstring injury, claimed he was only 95 per cent fit but he looked in fine condition before the eagerly awaited final
Golden boy: The Olympic champion in typical pose with the Olympic mascot
On fire: Usain Bolt runs past the Olympic flame after winning the sprint final for Jamaica in scintillating fashion
Twitter has been flooded with gripes about NBC keeping most day's marquee events off the air until they can be shown in prime-time, the broadcast that brings in the most viewers and advertising revenue for the network.
It was also forced to apologise after airing an ad featuring a monkey performing gymnastics, right after showing the performance of Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win Olympic gold.
Considering the hype surrounding the race before it happened, it is really surprising that NBC would have passed over the option to show it live.
The race had been billed as the ‘hottest ticket’ of London 2012 with people paying prices of up to £725 to be among those in the stadium who could forever say 'I was there'.
In Britain alone the TV audience was expected to be about 15million – a quarter of all Britons – with theatres and cinemas putting on special screenings that had begun in time to the semi-finals earlier in the evening.
Despite earlier heavy rain and soggy conditions, thousands who had been at other venues inside the Olympic park on so-called ‘Super Sunday’ and ‘Showdown Sunday’ stayed to watch the race on the big screens.
Among those cheering the athletes on were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who joined in a standing ovation.
By Royal appointment: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, sitting in front of the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, were among the 80,000 spectators inside the Olympic Stadium
Behind Bolt: Prince Harry wore Jamaican colours as he accompanied his brother and sister-in-law at the athletics
A shower of flashbulbs lit up the stadium as Bolt settled into his blocks at the start line as the crowd took photographs.
It stopped for the time it took him to run the 100m and defend his Olympic title before the crowd, now on their feet, took more photographs and clapped as he went on his lap of honour.
After the race, Bolt said: 'I was happy when I went out in the first round, I felt I could do this.
'I was slightly worried about my start. It was not the best reaction in the world but I stopped worrying about it and executed it and it worked.
'I said it on the track, people can talk, all they can do is talk. When it comes to championships I bring it.
'I knew [the crowd] would be like this, I can feel that energy and I am extremely happy.'
They're off: Usain Bolt (third left) did not start well in lane seven but he was comfortably leading the field as the athletes entered the final 20 metres
Effort: The world's fastest men - Usain Bolt (second left), Justin Gatlin (left), Yohan Blake (second right) and Tyson Gay (right) - strive to reach the line first
Storming in front: Bolt (second left) crosses the finish line first, ahead of fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (second right) and bronze medallist Justin Gatlin (centre)
Speaking about his compatriot and training partner Blake, the champion said: 'In training he always works hard and pushes me.
THE FIVE FASTEST 100-METRE SPRINTS OF ALL-TIME
9.58 Usain Bolt in Berlin on August 16, 2009
9.63 Usain Bolt in London on August 5, 2012
9.69 Usain Bolt in Beijing on August 16, 2008
9.69 Tyson Gay in Shanghai on Sept 20, 2009
9.71 Tyson Gay in Berlin on August 16, 2009
'I knew what I needed to do but I think he will do better next time. He is a major talent. He beat almost everybody and I know he will be more confident and do better next time.'
Blake, who won silver, said: 'Usain knows what it takes. He is a world beater and he is the fastest man in the world.
'But I got a medal in my first Olympic games and a lot of that is down to Usain and our coach.'
Bronze medallist Justin Gatlin, who won bronze in the men's 100m final, told BBC Radio 5 live: 'At this moment in time it was probably the dream race.
'It was a great race and I think there are even better ones to come.
'Usain Bolt has the best technique out there. I tried to hold on with my technique and I got back on the podium for the first time in 10 years.'
Gatlin the 2004 Olympic champion was competing in London amid controversy after serving a four-year doping ban.
He said: 'It feels good, regardless of what I have gone through. I did this for the people who support me.
'This medal is for them and they pushed me when I didn't want to push myself.'
Picture perfect: Cameras flash as spectators capture the moment that Usain Bolt left his competitors in his wake
Taking a bow: Jamaica's Usain Bolt kneels and rests his head against the track in the Olympic Stadium after recording the second-fastest time ever
Star attractions: Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt (right) and Yohan Blake (left) are mobbed by fans after winning gold and silver in the race
Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte cries on the podium before receiving her gold medal after winning the women's 100m breaststroke final at the Aquatics Center, on July 30, 2012. (Reuters/David Gray) #
China's Zhu Fangyu lies on the ground injured during the men's preliminary round Group B basketball match against Australia at the Basketball Arena, on August 2, 2012. (Reuters/Mike Segar) #
Yamile Aldama of Great Britain competes in the Women's Triple Jump final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games, on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images) #
Gymnast Do Thi Ngan Thuong from Vietnam performs on the balance beam during the Artistic Gymnastics women's qualification, on July 29, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) #
U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney, right, disappointed with her silver medal finish, stands beside gold medalist Sandra Raluca Izbasa during the podium ceremony for the artistic gymnastics women's vault finals, on August 5, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #
Ukraine's Valentyna Horpynych Zhudina (center) lies on the track as she and other athletes recover after their women's 3000m steeplechase round 1 heats at the Olympic Stadium, on August 4, 2012. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #
Greece's Ioannis Fountoulis controls the ball during the men's preliminary round Group A water polo match against Kazakhstan at the London 2012 Olympic Games, on August 2, 2012. (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh)
When they step out into the Aquatics Centre at today's synchronised swimming final, Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici will make history. They'll be the first British pair to mix with the world's elite at an Olympic Games since Barcelona in 1992. The feat is made all the more impressive by the fact Britain only started taking the sport seriously five years ago.
Team GB's Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici finished ninth after the first two rounds, meaning they qualified for the final
Britain are making huge strides in the sport since Biz Price was appointed national performance director in 2007
The Team GB pair are already on course to improve on their performance in the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai
The Russian duo of Svetlana Romashina and Russia's Natalia Ishchenko will take a convincing lead going into tomorrow's final, where they're expected to win gold.
It might possibly be the biggest shock of the Games if they don't triumph. Russia has totally dominated the sport for more than a decade, winning every duet and team Olympic gold dating back to Sydney in 2000.
But Britain are making huge strides in the sport since Biz Price was appointed national performance director in 2007. In September of that year a high performance centre was set up at army barracks in Aldershot and central funding allowed the athletes to go full-time.
Britain's synchronised swimmers have benefitted from a high performance centre whichwas set up at army barracks in Aldershot and central funding which allowed them to go full-time
Their qualification means they're the first British duo to compete in a final since 1992
Randall and Federici have been roared along by a fiercely patriotic crowd at the Aquatics Centre
Randall and Federici were 14th a year later at the Beijing Games, the first Britons to compete in synchro since 1992 when Kerry Shacklock and Laila Vakil finished sixth. They managed second at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and last year saw the pair finish 10th in the technical routine at the World Championships in Shanghai.
Ninth place in both the technical and free routines in London has proved enough to book their place in the top 12 nations and advance to the final, where they'll perform to a medley of music by the Chemical Brothers and Ryan Amon.
Randall and Federici may not be ready to contend for medals, but they've already done enough to captivate a home crowd - who have greeted them with raucous cheers every time they've stepped out into the Aquatic Centre.
Going for gold: Russia's Svetlana Romashina and Russia's Natalia Ishchenko are the favourites going into tomorrow's final
Best of the best: The world champions have dominated the sport since 2000
With 98.600 points, the Russians are almost two points clear of their closest rivals, China's Huang Xuechen and Liu Ou
Ballestero Carbonell and Andrea Fuentes Fache of Spain currently sit in the bronze medal position
Legs: North Korea's Jang Hyang Mi and Jong Yon Hui didn't do enough to avoid elimination, finishing 16th after the heats
Mary Killman and Mariya Loroleva of the U.S. perform the routine that helped them squeeze through to the final in the penultimate place