Experts from around the globe predict Team USA will win gold.
The Painted Area has been previewing all the Olympic teams, and has this to say about Spain:" This might be the best Spanish team in their recent vintage, thanks to emergence & growth of guys like Marc Gasol, Rudy & Rubio. Expect to see them in the Gold Medal game, and think they have goods to push Team USA to the limit, and possibly upset them."
Hilarious series of fan stalker photos from Team USA's media session.
The Olympics are like global center of sports, and of anti-doping efforts. In the journal Nature, Donald Berry (Ready for his long title? Here goes ... "head of the Division of Quantitative Sciences, chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Frank T. McGraw Memorial Chair of Cancer Research, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas.") writes: "... when an athlete tests positive, is he or she guilty of doping? Because of what I believe to be inherent flaws in the testing practices of doping laboratories, the answer, quite possibly, is no." The journal's editorial board summarizes: "[Berry] argues that anti-doping authorities have not adequately defined and publicized how they arrived at the criteria used to determine whether or not a test result is positive. The ability of an anti-doping test to detect a banned substance in an athlete is calibrated in part by testing a small number of volunteers taking the substance in question. But Berry says that individual labs need to verify these detection limits in larger groups that include known dopers and non-dopers under blinded conditions that mimic what happens during competition. Nature believes that accepting 'legal limits' of specific metabolites without such rigorous verification goes against the foundational standards of modern science, and results in an arbitrary test for which the rate of false positives and false negatives can never be known. By leaving these rates unknown, and by not publishing and opening to broader scientific scrutiny the methods by which testing labs engage in study, it is Nature's view that the anti-doping authorities have fostered a sporting culture of suspicion, secrecy and fear."
A funny note from Alan Abrahamson's liveblogging of the opening ceremonies on NBCOlympics.com: Here comes Nauru, nation 186 of 204 in the parade. The tiny island in the western Pacific is but eight square miles. Population: 13,000. That's fewer people than performed in the first hour of the ceremony.
Li Ning, the legendary former Chinese gymnast and current entrepreneur who runs a company that is a significant competitor of Nike in Asia, gets the honor of being the final torch bearer.