Water polo (M) day 1 - Serbia breaks Hungarian streak of 18 Olympic victories
Hungary's hoped of winning a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal were dealt a blow when they lost to European Champions Serbia in the opening round of men's water polo competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games Water Polo Arena. Olympic champions Hungary suffered their first defeat in 18 Olympic matches by losing to Serbia, 14-10. It was at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games that Hungary was last defeated in an Olympic match, falling to Yugoslavia in the preliminary rounds.
The Serbian players stamped their authority on today's game, putting Hungary and the world on notice of their intentions to compete for the Olympic gold medal. Playing with passion and purpose the Serbs turned a 2-2 opening quarter into a 5-3 half time lead. Daniel Varga (HUN) evened the score at 3-3 at two minutes into the second period but it would be 11 minutes before Hungary would score its next goal. As in the earlier stages, the third quarter pace was fast and the match was physical as 9 goals were scored, Serbia holding an 11-6 advantage. Serbian centre forward Dusko Pijetlovic was unstoppable, twice evading the Hungarian defenders with speeding bullets from inside two metres. Hungary managed 4 goals in the final quarter, but fell to Serbia in a final score 10-14. Serbian goalkeeper Slobodan Soro made 13 saves. Filip Filipovic said of the Hungarian team, "they are triple Olympic champions, so we were expecting more pressure from their side. We were expecting a tougher offence and defence."
Swimming day 2 - Two new WR; France takes revenge
Two new World Records and two gold medals for France were the highlights of the second day of competition at these Olympic Games in London. Dana Vollmer (USA) and Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) were the new fastest in the pool in their respective events, while Camille Muffat (FRA) brilliantly won the women's 400m free, being followed some minutes later by her compatriots in the men's 4x100m free relay. Phelps, member of the silver team of USA got his 17th Olympic medal, while Rebecca Adlington (GBR), the local hero and defending champion, had to content herself with the bronze in the 400m free.
The first strong moment of the evening session happened in the women's 100m butterfly, where US Dana Vollmer clocked a new World Record in 55.98. Having established a new Olympic record of 56.25 during the heats and being also the fastest of the semis, Vollmer was the athlete to beat in the decisive race. She did not disappoint and improved the world best mark set at the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome (ITA) when Sarah Sjoestroem had swum to victory in 56.06. It is the second gold medal for Vollmer at Olympic level, after her 800m free triumph at the 2004 Games in Athens (GRE). Additionally, the 24-year-old had been world champion at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai (CHN), winning last July in 56.87.
Diving day 1 - Wu enters in Olympic history
Minxia Wu and Zi He from China were the first Olympic champions in 2012 after winning the final of the women's 3m springboard in the Aquatics Centre. Leading from the very first dive until the end of the competition, the Chinese pair concluded with a total 346.20 points, much ahead of silver medallists Abigail Johnston and Kelci Bryant (USA, 321.90) and third-place finisher Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel (CAN, 316.80). This success represents the fifth Olympic medal for Wu, who won this event also in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 at the time together with diving legend Jingjing Guo. Moreover, Wu has two other Olympic individual awards: the silver in the 3m springboard in the Hellenic capital and the bronze in the same event at the "Water Cube". She is now the second best female diver in Olympic history, only behind Guo (four gold and two silver). Besides, she is the only female diver obtaining three consecutive Olympic crowns – a feat only obtained in the men's field by Klaus Dibiasi (ITA) in the 10m platform (in 1968, 1972 and 1976).
Very concentrated and regular throughout the five-dive final, Wu had already been successful with He in the final of the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai (CHN). At FINA's major competitions and since 2001 in Fukuoka, she has accumulated 12 medals. For Zi He, this was her first Olympic success.
Swimming day 1 - China shines, Phelps misses podium
In the much awaited duel on the first day of the Swimming competition of the 2012 Olympic Games, in the men’s 400m individual medley, Ryan Lochte (USA) clocked his best personal time to get the first gold in London and, perhaps, more importantly, to give a strong sign to Michael Phelps that things won’t be easy for the best swimmer in history during these Games. Touching home in 4:05.18, Lochte was never in difficulty during the entire race and comfortably confirmed his 2011 world title, obtained in Shanghai (CHN). The podium was completed by Brazil’s Thiago Pereira (silver, 4:08.86), who obtained his first Olympic medal, and by Japan’s Kosuke Hagino (JPN, 4:08.94), who is also a neophyte at this level. Michael Phelps, 14 gold and two bronze medals in his roll of honour, finished fourth (4:09.28), after winning the gold both in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
This history of this race in London was rich. In the heats, Phelps did not managed so well his pace (he passed at the 100m mark under the WR pace, and then faded towards the end of his effort) and finished only eighth on a time of 4:13.33. The ninth ranked swimmer was Laszlo Cseh, from Hungary, the silver medallist in Beijing and recent European champion, who clocked 4:13.40. That was the first surprise of the morning. In the evening, despite swimming in lane 8, Phelps was expected to do better, having a best 2012 performance of 4:07.89. Still within the podium range at the 200m mark, his breaststroke leg was slow and he lost the opportunity of collecting his 17th Olympic award.
Opening Ceremony highlights spirit of unity at the Games
From the bucolic green fields until the creation of the world wide web, the history of Great Britain is rich in great events and discoveries that changed the world. The most notable one being the Industrial Revolution, this was the first theme of the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the Games of the 30th Olympiad held on July 27, 2012 in London. Under the title "Isles of Wonder", the action started on the countryside, with a fabulous stage simulating the old and calm lifestyle in the British landscapes.
It quickly evolved to the challenging but thrilling times of the Industrial Revolution, a landmark in the history of mankind and the genesis of the development model followed by the entire planet. In a show proposed by famous artistic director Danny Boyle, the programme of the Ceremony was quite attractive: "You'll hear the words of our great poets – Shakespeare, Blake and Milton. You'll hear the glorious noise of our unrivalled pop culture. You'll see characters from our great children's literature – Peter Pan and Captain Cook, Mary Poppins, Voldemort, Cruella de Vil. You'll see ordinary families and extraordinary athletes. Dancing nurses, singing children and amazing special effects," said the informative brochure distributed to the 80,000 spectators that filled the stadium.
All this and much more was part of a very complete spectacle, highlighted by the parade of the 205 National Olympic Committees participating in these Games, headed by Greece (the country at the origin of the Olympic Games) and concluded by the enthusiastically-applauded British competitors. Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Games, while the IOC President Jacques Rogge left once more an educational message to all athletes present in the stadium: "I congratulate all of the athletes who have earned a place at these Games. And to the athletes, I offer this thought: your talent, your dedication and commitment brought you here. Now you have a chance to become true Olympians. That honour is determined not by whether you win, but by how you compete. Character counts far more than medals. Reject doping. Respect your opponents. Remember that you are all role models. If you do that, you will inspire a generation."
Exciting atmosphere in the Aquatic venues
With two days to go for the start of the FINA competitions, the atmosphere is already intense in the Aquatic venues. Swimmers, divers, synchronised swimmers and water polo players are already practising for some days in the state-of-the-art facilities, trying to put in place their last winning strategies for a successful participation in the 2012 Olympic Games.
"Winning" and "successful" have obviously different meanings for the myriad of athletes competing in London. Strong teams are obviously looking for podium presences, while competitors from developing countries will certainly do their best to raise the aquatic image of their respective nation and to emulate the youth in their territory to the practice of swimming.
In the first group of traditionally-strong nations, the team of Great Britain has naturally great expectations with their home Games. On the Press Conference to present the goals of the squad, Michael Scott, the British National Performance Director, was clear: "We've strived to continue momentum. The upward curve has continued through Rome (2009 FINA World Championships), Delhi (2010 Commonwealth Games) and Shanghai (2011 FINA World Championships). We've learnt from Shanghai, where we missed on four medals by a short margin." Four years ago, in Beijing, the British delegation had totalled six medals in Swimming (three in the pool and three in the marathon swimming events).
WPWL 2013 - Women's and Men's Tournament Information
In the linked documents below you will find the proposed dates and the updated “Rules and Regulations” including the financial conditions for participating in and organising these events as well as the participation form.
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Riccione 2012, Open Water: Record swimmers take to the Adriatic Sea
Never before in the history of open water swimming have so many competitors entered an event than at the FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione. About 1349 men and 594 women dived took to the clear water of the Adriatic Sea. Air temperature was about 30 degrees Celsius and water temperature 23. The organising committee had prepared the triangle course for a great final of the championships. Due to the great number of entries, it was decided in advance, that the race would be split in two days. The younger age groups (40-44 and younger) competed at the same time. On the last day of the championships, a huge crowd of spectators, some even took to the water to be as close as possible to the competitors, celebrated the final event of the successful championships.
In 2004, when Riccione hosted the FINA World Masters Championships for the first time, 1083 competitors had entered the open water race, a record in participation at the time. Now the figures are nearly doubled and the organising committee has registered a new record. The great number of competitors was also a great challenge for safety and security instructors. No less than eight water crafts, 15 rescue boats, four boats for the organising committee, another four with coast guards and divers managed the swimmers throughout the race. “In my opinion, we provided the best ever conditions for the competitors”, said Andea Prayer, vice chairman of the organising committee and a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee.
Riccione 2012, Swimming: A flowering of five-time champions
The Championships' biggest reception was reserved for swimming, where the entire Masters community - competitors, spectators and fans - cheered from the stands at the outdoor pool of the “Polisportiva Communale” in Riccione. It is a quarter past midnight. They are all waiting for the last heat, men's 50m butterfly, to start. Sergey Mukhin from Russia was the last champion of the day, winning the event in 25.09 (25-29 age group). And all together, they celebrated a great midnight show after all heats were held during a long, long day. The competition had started at 7:30 in the morning with the first heat for the men's 400m IM, Spain's Manuel Pinya touching first in 13:17.93 (85-89 age group).
Long days and sessions confirmed the ever-vibrant interest for Masters swimming all over the world. A total 77 afiliated member federations, from Andorra to Zimbabwe, were present in Riccione and close to 10'000 competitors in swimming only provided a total 28'878 individual and 1556 relay splashes at the event - an absolute record in FINA's history. Up to now, the 2000 edition in Munich, Germany, held the record of entries (17'144, individual and relays together). “We never expected such a great number of participants. We are very surprised and overwhelmed by this very great interest”, said Paolo Barelli, FINA Bureau Honorary Secretary and President of Italian Swimming Federation. “It shows also the great attraction of Riccione and the Adriatic Sea”, he added.
Riccione 2012, Synchronised Swimming: A family affair
Compositions of pop, rock, soul, classical music blared on the loudspeakers for the five-day synchronised swimming competition of the 14th FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione, Italy. A total 588 competitors performed routines in solo, duet, trio, team and combination. Some travelled a long way to compete on the wonderful Adriatic coast. From Kobe, Japan, 89-year-old Chisako Oishi competed in the 80+ age group, bringing home a gold medal from the solo event. She earned a second gold medal with her daughter Mayumi Araki in the duet (70-79 age group). “I have trained hard up to three times a week for this event”, she said.
Team Caem from Canada also brought the family to Riccione, but at a quite different level. Two of the nine competitors had their young babies with them. “We must organise our training and practice according to the feeding schedule”, Annie Arseneau said. Robert Prevot is coaching the club's three teams that are in Riccione. "I'm responsible for creativity and artistry”, he explained. “And I'm having very busy days here at the championships”, he added.
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