LONDON Shalane Flanagan, one of the best runners in ACC history when she went to North Carolina, will be one of three U.S. representatives in the womens marathon Sunday.
Flanagan won an Olympic bronze medal in 2008 in the 10,000 meters. When I asked her back then how she fought through the pain, she said she imagined running among the trees in North Carolina on one of her favorite running paths.
Flanagan currently holds American records in the 3K, 5K and 10K distances. Shes only running the marathon in London, however.
While not a favorite in the race, the U.S. delegation believes that Flanagan does have a chance at a medal after she had a very impressive performance to win the Olympic Trials.
• I ran into some guys who had had a few too many at a neighboring pub late one night near a subway station. They were British, and they had changed the words of a drinking song to this: Weve got more medals, weve got more medals, weve got more medals than France.
And so far, thats true, although its very close.
• It was a clever touch by Olympic organizers to paint these Summer Games motto Inspire a generation inside the basketball rims so that it can be seen every time you get that through-the-backboard replay TV networks are so fond of now. I bet youll see that sort of paint job more and more often in the U.S.
• You dont see this too often: police officers keeping people out of a mall. They did it in London, however, on Saturday.
Because it was supposed to be the busiest day of the Olympics, you couldnt enter Westfield Mall (which adjoins the Olympic Park) from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless you had a ticket to an Olympic event.
There were literally police checking everyones ticket as you walked in and turning people away, even though the mall itself has nothing to do with Olympic events.
Needless to say, the mall retailers were not pleased. Westfield Mall is Europes largest, but it lost a lot of business. I walked through it on my way to the U.S. basketball game and parts of it looked like a mall in Charlotte would on a Tuesday in February.
• Yao Ming is in London, but hes not playing basketball. Instead, hes working as a Chinese broadcaster at the basketball games.
He stood inside the media room Saturday, watching the close U.S. game against Lithuania in silence. Yao is so enormous (7-foot-6 and 310 pounds) that he blocked out pretty much two entire TVs. No one asked him to move.
• LeBron James doesnt like the idea being floated that Olympic basketball should be changed to a sport where only those 23 and under could play. Thats the way mens soccer does it for the Olympics now, and thats apparently under consideration for future Olympics.
Because Im 27, James said.