By The Associated Press, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:
It's track time.
The athletics events at the London Olympics finally kick off Friday after a week of sitting around and waiting. The showdown starts with the opening heats of the women's 100, where Carmelita Jeter represents America's best chance to break the Jamaica's Olympic rule.
A gold medal will be awarded in the shot put, and visitors will get their first look at the setup of 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium since the opening ceremony.
With no swimmers or gymnasts leaping forward to become the runaway stars of London, the door is open for the tracksters to seize it.
"I hope when the Olympics come around, and we're on the big stage, people will take an interest in a story and want to keep following," U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix says.
— Eddie Pells — Twitter http://twitter.com/epells
'WAVE IF YOU'RE HAPPY'
At St. Pancras station in London, thousands are waiting to board the Javelin train to Olympic Park for the start of track events.
Those in line and the volunteers in charge seemed to take the delay in good spirits. "Wave if you're happy," one volunteer shouted at the waiting crowd.
Perhaps to some people's surprise, a couple of hundred hands shot up in the air.
— Simon Haydon — Twitter http://twitter.com/simonhaydon
On both ends of the Javelin train, a high-speed rail between Olympic Park and the middle of London, it's pretty much a madhouse Friday morning ahead of one of the London Olympics' busiest days.
Signs in front of Olympic Park say that "over 200,000 spectators and accredited workforce are expected each day." People are pouring off the trains at rush hour and the number of volunteers appears to have doubled. They're waving oversized pink foam fingers — styled in the official color of the Olympics — to point crowds in the right direction.
At the other end, at St. Pancras station in the center of London, lines of hundreds of people are amassing to head to the Olympics area.
— Noreen Gillespie — Twitter http://twitter.com/norgillespie
ALL SQUEEZE FOR STRATFORD
It's fixing to be a busy day at the London Olympics on Friday. Spectators are packing trains toward Olympic Park as London's Olympic transport network faces its biggest hurdle.
With track and field kicking off in the main stadium, over 200,000 people are due to visit Olympic Park.
London Overground trains were packed tight by 7 a.m., and pivotal Kings Cross station saw its busiest morning of the games as passengers joined the high-speed Javelin train link. But there were cries of surprise when conductors announced the giant Westfield shopping mall at Stratford would close to anyone without a games ticket from 10:30 a.m.
That clearly caught off guard some passengers, who had planned a spot of Olympic shopping while soaking up the atmosphere outside the Park. Authorities suggest anyone planning a shopping marathon should head instead to London's West End, where crowds are thinner than usual as other tourists avoid the games peak.
— Mark Davies
SAUDI FEMALE FIGHTER
She'll be competing in a modified hijab and against a much more experienced judo opponent.
But for 18-year-old Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, one of the first two Saudi women ever to participate at the games for the ultraconservative Gulf Kingdom, perhaps an even larger fight is looming when she returns home.
Shahrkhani will take on Melissa Mojica, from Puerto Rico, in a preliminary match early Friday that is likely be over quickly.
The real drama will be after that, in reaction to what Shahrkhani will be wearing in front of male spectators.
A compromise was reached to have her wear a modified hijab while competing. But that has not been nearly enough to satisfy hard-liners who say she is dishonoring herself and her family by competing in front of men — and in form fitting clothes.