Winning debut for US women’s soccer
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An early start to the Olympics turned into an early deficit for the United States women’s soccer team, which gave up two quick goals in Glasgow, Scotland, before unleashing an attack the rest of the world will find hard to stop.
Abby Wambach used her size and strength to put in a header, Alex Morgan scored twice, and Carli Lloyd added another with a 25-yard rocket to help the two-time defending goal medalists rally for a 4-2 victory over France on Wednesday.
The Americans opened their London Games far from London and two days before the Opening Ceremony. Soccer starts its Olympics early so it has time to play a full tournament of games.
The Americans allowed more goals in the first 15 minutes than they had allowed in any game since the World Cup final loss to Japan last year. Gaetane Thiney scored in the 12th minute and Marie-Laure Delie added a second in the 14th in a stunning start for France.
But Wambach scored in the 19th, Morgan in the 32d, Lloyd in the 56th, and Morgan again in the 66th.
‘‘It’s not the game we wanted to play,’’ US defender and captain Christie Rampone said. ‘‘But we've got a lot of games ahead of us to try and get our rhythm back.’’
The US plays Colombia in its second group match on Saturday.
Flag mistake angers North Korea
London Olympic organizers mistakenly displayed the South Korean flag on a jumbo screen instead of North Korea’s before a women’s soccer match in Glasgow, prompting the North Koreans to refuse to take the field against Colombia for nearly an hour.
The flag flap began when a North Korean player was introduced along with a shot of the South Korean flag. Organizers apologized for the error.
‘‘Clearly that is a mistake,’’ organizers said in a statement. ‘‘We will apologize to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.’’
The statement, however, included another gaffe: It failed to refer to the countries by their official Olympic names, causing organizers to reissue the statement using ‘‘Republic of Korea’’ and ‘‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.’’
The flag mix-up comes amid high tension on the Korean Peninsula following a North Korean long-range rocket launch in April and repeated threats by Pyongyang to attack the South.
North Korea won the match, 2-0.
In other soccer games, Brazil forward Cristiane became the top all-time women’s goal scorer in the Olympics by netting her 11th tournament goal in Brazil’s 5-0 rout of Cameroon. World Cup winner Japan got past Canada, 2-1; Britain edged New Zealand, 1-0; and Sweden beat South Africa, 4-1.
Greek triple jumper booted
Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked off Greece’s Olympic team for her comments on Twitter mocking African immigrants and expressing support for a far-right political party.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee said Papachristou is ‘‘placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.’’
‘‘It’s the same as violating fair play,’’ Isidoros Kouvelos, head of Greece’s Olympic mission, told Greece’s private Skai TV. ‘‘We are not here just to get medals, but to promote the Olympic ideals, to show our character.’’
After Papachristou’s comments and the ensuing uproar, the Hellenic Olympic Committee announced that it had banned all Greek athletes from using social media to express any personal opinions not related to the Olympics and to the preparation for their competitions.
Though Papachristou issued six apologetic tweets from Athens Wednesday, committee spokesman Tassos Papachristou — who is no relation to the athlete — said the decision was irreversible.
Blair stands by his decision
Two days from the start of the Olympics, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair defended his decision to deliver the Games to London, maintaining that the event will be value for money as austerity hits other public projects.
Blair helped to deliver the world’s biggest sporting showpiece to London in 2005, landing Britain with a 9.3 billion pounds ($14.4 billion) bill for a project taxpayers had to foot as the economic crisis took hold after he left office in 2007.
‘‘Even though it’s a lot of money, 9 billion pounds, we have regenerated a whole part of the East End of London,’’ Blair said.
On securing the Olympics in 2005, a then prosperous Britain predicted it would cost 2.4 billion pounds. But since then the country has plunged into recession, and costs have spiraled as a former east London industrial wasteland was turned into a 560-acre urban park with the Olympic Stadium at its heart.Continued...