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Enough of the screaming roars of London 2012 crowds. All is silent and reverential at the Copper Box in Stratford’s Olympic Park.

The venue for Olympic handball is now hosting goalball, played by blind Paralympians or those with partial sight.

Blindfolded to ensure all players have equal (dis)ability, the three players on each side defend a goal 1.3m high and 9m wide.

Goals are scored by rolling the ball at high speeds of up to 60kms an hour. Players defending their goals prostrate themselves across the court to prevent shots going into their net.

All of which requires silence from the crowd so that the players can hear the ball charging towards them. 

The US is witnessing a quadrennial surge of interest in the sport of complaining about NBC’s approach of saving the best Olympic action until primetime, writes Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.

Figures from operators of virtual private networks suggest that viewers who cannot wait until 11pm to see Usain Bolt and do not have the pay-television subscription needed to see live footage on NBC’s web and mobile services have been looking elsewhere.

Expat Shield, a VPN that provides UK web addresses to overseas residents enabling them to view BBC broadcasts that would otherwise be blocked, reports that installations from the US shot up from an average of 250 a day before the Olympics began to 4,900 a day in the first week of the games. 

Cafu, Brazil’s former football captain, known in his playing days as “The Commuter Train” for his constant motion, is sitting on a sofa in a Knightsbridge hotel. Gone are the days when the full-back won two world cups. Now aged 42, he spends much of his time running his Fundacao Cafu, his foundation for social inclusion.

Cafu is in London to see Brazil’s men’s football team seek their first Olympic gold in the final against Mexico at Wembley (more of that later). But he also just wants to see an Olympics for the first time in his life, partly because Brazil’s turn at hosting is next: first the football world cup of 2014, then the Rio Olympics of 2016. 

When Usain Bolt, not a naturally modest man, thanks you for your help after clinching his umpteenth gold medal, you have probably done something right. Brunel and Birmingham universities won his praise for their help in preparing and hosting the Jamaican team, writes Chris Cook.

Other universities can claim to have done rather well. I quite liked this exchange on Twitter between William Hague, foreign secretary, and Patrick McGhee, vice-chancellor of the University of East London (which is hosting the US Olympic team).

But on to the medals! Here, courtesy of Podium, the body representing universities and colleges at the London Olympics, is the roster showing which institutions have done best at the sports. If you look on their site, you can see the full list.

Higher and further education is now an important part of the British Olympian system. For institutions, this table does actually matter: as I wrote last week, universities are an increasingly important spine of Team GB’s infrastructure.

Institution Gold Silver Bronze Total
University of Edinburgh 3 0 0 3
University of Nottingham 2 2 1 5
University of Oxford 2 2 1 5
University of Cambridge 2 1 2 5
University of Reading 2 1 1 4
St Mary’s University College 2 0 1 3
University of St Andrews 2 0 0 2
University of Bristol 1 2 2 5
University of Bath 1 2 0 3
Peter Symonds College 1 1 1 3
Hopwood Hall College 1 1 0 2
Northumbria University 1 1 0 2
Staffordshire University 1 1 0 2
University of the West of England 1 1 0 2
University of Leeds 1 0 2 3
King’s College London 1 0 1 2
Barton Peveril Sixth Form College 1 0 0 1
Bournemouth University 1 0 0 1
Bradford College 1 0 0 1
Cardiff Metropolitan University 1 0 0

What to make of this table? Here are also some important things to note – and I hope they’ll help illuminate some of the nonsense about sport and education in England that has been swirling around lately:

 

It’s official. London has staged the most amazing, incredible and unbelievable summer Olympics of the century, writes Andrew Hill.

A quick trawl through Factiva’s database of new articles produces 10,314 instances of writers, athletes or spectators using the word “amazing” in an Olympic context since the Games opened on July 27. That is on top of 6,185 “incredibles” and 3,142 “unbelievables”. 

Heathrow’s luggage handlers are bracing themselves for a back-breaking day on Monday, when all of the Olympians who have trickled into London over the past few weeks head home in one fell swoop. Worse yet, the airport expects the average number of bags to rise from two pieces of luggage per athlete to three.

Which raises the question: how many London 2012 T-shirts, double-decker bus keychains and stuffed Paddington Bears does it take to fill a whole other suitcase?

Well, it turns out quite a bit of the space will be taken up by bedding, since it has become Olympic tradition for athletes to take home the duvets provided in their rooms. 

A tented village designed to promote the culture of African countries taking part in the Olympics has been forced to close amid reports of financial difficulties.

A person familiar with the Africa Village project, which cost about €3m (£2.4m), said there had been problems paying suppliers of the exhibits, which in particular affected the contractors providing security. 

From Maija Palmer on our Tech blog:

The mobile phone is emerging as the technology winner in the Olympics, with more and more stats to show that this is how vast numbers of people are finding out information about the games.

Google published some data on Tuesday showing that Olympics-related searches over mobile phone increased 10-fold in the first week of the games, and mobile is trumping any other technology at key moments.

Google’s analysis showed, for example, that searches for Paul McCartney surged when the former Beatle played Hey Jude during the opening ceremony, and the largest proportion of these searches came from smart phones, rather than desktop computers.

The data highlights how much the internet’s landscape is changing.  The London Olympics are proving not just to be the first ‘social media games’ but also one where the mobile internet is coming of age.

In many countries in Europe, around a third of all Olympics related searches came from mobiles and in the UK, mobiles accounted for nearly half – 46 per cent of all Olympics queries.

 

Gideon Rachman

Here in Britain there have been a few grumbles about the partisan coverage the BBC is giving to the Olympics, with an obsessive focus on Britain’s position in the medals table and on local athletes. But I’m told that it is little different in other countries. Every nation focuses on its own athletes. As a result, every country is watching a different Olympics.

 

Gideon Rachman

The stands at Olympic events are dotted with small children. Their parents have usually kitted them out in expensive replica kits. It is clearly all meant to be a great family day out, a treasured memory and so on.  But, usually, it does not work out like that.

The problem is that the average five year-old has limited patience with watching the heats for the women’s shot put – even if the tickets were fiendishly expensive and hard to get hold of. Young children are also bad at dissembling. I was in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday morning, as Jessica Ennis closed in on gold in the heptathalon. The adults in the crowd were going crazy, as she prepared for the long-jump. But the child behind me, made it clear that he was much more interested in eating a Kit-Kat.  As the morning wore on, his hapless parents were ground down by their toddler’s repeated question – “Is that one Usain Bolt?” After a couple of hours, Bolt actually did appear to run his heat. But the kid had long since interest and was now campaigning to go for a wee.