Esther Bintliff

Following a spate of expulsions from London 2012 in recent days, we thought it might be helpful to give you a little cut-out-and-keep guide to staying IN the Olympics. Stick to these rules†, and when you finally achieve your lifelong ambition to compete in the world’s biggest sports competition, we think you’ll stand a good chance of at least making it through your event.

  • Avoid hash brownies. This seems relatively simple: don’t eat foodstuffs laced with illegal drugs. Unfortunately, it appears you can never be *quite* sure with homebaked goods, as Nick Delpopolo, the US judoko expelled on Monday, found out to his cost. “My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana”, he said. If you feel you are also at risk of inadvertently consuming food baked with marijuana, our advice would be two-pronged: firstly, consider avoiding brownies altogether for the year before the games. They are, after all, one of the cake-foods most beloved of hash fiends. Don’t despair: there are lots of other tasty, harder-to-make cake products that are less likely to be spiked, such as the bakewell tart, or the classic battenberg. Our second piece of advice is to avoid altogether any baked goods whose provenance you are unclear about, particularly if they have been made by a member of your peer group with a history of drug use, and are being handed out at, say, a party. If you’re really worried, stick to store-bought treats with the wrapping intact.
  •  Don’t be racist. It’s just plain wrong. Jokes with racist overtones – such as that made by the Greek athlete Paraskevi Papachristou - are a surefire way of getting yourself thrown out of the games. Ditto for offensive remarks directed at another country; Swiss footballer Michel Morganella was rightly expelled when he posted insulting comments about South Koreans.

 Read more >>

Esther Bintliff

A referee urges Indonesian and South Korean teams to play fairly in their women's doubles match on July 31. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/GettyImages)

Is it ever worth trying to lose a game so that you can get a better position in the draw for the next round?

Clearly these women badminton players (two pairs from South Korea and one pair each from China and Indonesia) thought so at some brief, misguided moment on Tuesday; they now face a disciplinary hearing. We’ll be bringing you updates on this story as we get them throughout the day.

In the meantime, here are a few highlights from today’s schedule:

Rowing – The Team GB women’s pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning are hot favourites for a gold this morning, reports Ben Fenton. The UK men’s eight team are also tipped to win a medal, although they have to contend with a dominating German crew.

Swimming – After Michael Phelps’ record-breaking performance last night, attention will be back on the pool for the Men’s 100m freestyle final at 20.17.  Read more >>

Esther Bintliff

China's Ye Shiwen after the finish of the women's 200m individual semi-final on Monday. MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages

China's Ye Shiwen after the finish of the women's 200m individual medley semi-final on Monday. MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages

Your morning warm-up is a bit late today, for which, apologies – we’ve been busy with the big story which remains Ye Shiwen, the 16-year-old Chinese swimmer whose incredible performance on Sunday raised some eyebrows. Shiwen, who will be aiming for another gold today, was quoted by China News Service as saying: “My results come from hard work and training and I would never use any banned drugs.” We’ll have more on this story from our Beijing bureau very soon. UPDATE: The story is now live: Chinese social networks defend Shiwen.

Highlights from today’s schedule include:

Swimming - Men’s 200m Butterfly final due to take place at 19.47. Michael Phelps will be out to avenge Saturday’s defeat by his US teammate Ryan Lochte. Ye Shiwen will also be back in the pool for the Women’s 200m individual medley final at 20.39.

Equestrian - The British equestrian team will be looking to overhaul rivals Germany in the final section of the three-day event competition, the showjumping, in Greenwich Park

Gymnastics - China, the US and Russia are likely to battle it out for the podium spots in the final of the women’s team. Read more >>

Esther Bintliff

France's Yannick Agnel (C) competes in the men's 200m freestyle semi-final swimming event on July 29, 2012 (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GettyImages)

After the pageant and pandemonium of Friday’s opening ceremony, we’re now firmly into the Olympics events schedule, with a jam-packed day ahead.

Highlights include:

Swimming – Tonight we’ve got the finals of the Men’s 200m Freestyle, the Women’s 100m Backstroke, the Men’s 100m Backstroke and the Women’s 100m Breaststroke. Michael Phelps will be looking to improve on his sole silver medal from the first two days of competition, Rebecca Adlington will return to the pool for the women’s 800m freestyle, and Gemma Spofforth will be hoping to impress with her 100m backstroke. In the Men’s 200m freestyle final, China’s Sun Yang is the main threat to Ryan Lochte of the US. Heats begin at 10am.

Diving – Great Britain’s Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield compete in the Men’s synchronised 10m platform final at 15.00

Gymnastics – Men’s team final at 16.30 Read more >>

Esther Bintliff

A torch from the 1948 London Olympics (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The great day has arrived: 12 hours to go until the opening ceremony begins! To help you cope with the wait, here’s our roundup of some of the best Olympics coverage – and the highlights of the schedule today.

1) Simon Kuper says the Olympic legacy for London “won’t be economic stimulus, or a mass post-games take-up of synchronised swimming, but something less tangible: a feeling of togetherness, a new London identity”.

2) The opening ceremony is a “peculiar manifestation of geopolitical machismo” writes Matthew Engel, comparing the event’s inevitable rituals to those of the Catholic church. “Thankfully, the doves are now released after the flame is lit, not before, following the incineration of several birds at the 1988 games in Seoul,” he adds. Read more >>

Esther Bintliff

FT staff have been sending in pictures from around London today. Here are a few of our favourites…

Mark Wembridge took this beautiful panorama photo of the Olympic stadium last night:

This was snapped by Madison Marriage, as an Olympics torchbearer passed by on Great Guildford Street at about 10am on Thursday: Read more >>

Esther Bintliff

'Wenlock' , chilling out by the Thames. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/GettyImages

Every day on the blog we’ll be aiming to get you limbered up for the day ahead with a series of links to some of the best Olympics coverage from the FT and elsewhere. We’ll also give you a heads up on the main fixtures on the schedule. On your marks…

1) It’s not exactly the ideal start to your Olympics: a team walking off the pitch in disgust. But that’s what happened last night, writes Matthew Engel, as the North Korean women’s football team were welcomed to the Glasgow pitch with their names on an electronic screen … next to the South Korean flag. Oops. “It is staggering that on Day One there should be a faux pas at the expense of the most prickly, paranoid nation on earth”, Matthew notes. Read the news story hereRead more >>