What do you do when the Duchess of Cambridge sits down next to you at an Olympic event? If you're British gymnast Kristian Thomas, you sit up straight and try to remember all those manners your mother taught you.
Thomas was sitting in the second row of the O2 Arena on Sunday ready to watch teammates Louis Smith and Max Whitlock compete in the pommel horse finals when a security guard told him Kate Middleton wanted to hang out.
"It was fantastic," Thomas said. "She was really easy to talk to. We talked about the pommel final and some of the elements and what's good and what's bad. She was quite enthusiastic about it."
Thomas added the Duchess was "nervous" while Smith competed but was thrilled when he won silver and Whitlock earned bronze. When asked if he asked Kate for sister Pippa Middleton's phone number, Thomas just laughed and said, "I think my girlfriend would mind."
For Brazilian pole vaulter Fabiana Murer — the defending world champ — it was the wind.
Murer bailed on the jump that could have sent her into the final, saying she thought it was too windy to be safe.
She started running for her last jump, after failing to clear the 4.55 metre mark in her first two attempts, but stopped a few seconds later.
“I gave up because with that wind I wasn't going to be able to jump,” Murer said. “It would be dangerous if I had jumped. I came back to try again, but the wind was still too strong. I could get hurt if I had jumped.”
Officials had stopped an earlier jump attempt due to the strong winds at the Olympic Stadium, but had cleared the final attempt.
Brazilian fans, media and fellow athletes have since criticized her for not attempting the last jump, arguing the wind was likely the same for all the athletes.
Murer finished 14th overall.
Murer also faced difficulties in Beijing, where organizers misplaced her pole. Using the pole for her next mark disrupted her entire routine, she said. Murer received a letter of apology from organizers, but officials said that it was ultimately Murer’s responsibility to check her equipment before competition.
Gabby Douglas sees nothing wrong with her hair - she's been styling it that way for years. But critics watching the double-gold winner weren't going to give her any medals for hairstyling. Social media lit up with comments about her messy ponytail.
"I don't know where this is coming from. What's wrong with my hair?" said the 16-year-old, according to the Associated Press.
Douglas, who is the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in team and all-around competition, added, "I'm like, 'I just made history and people are focused on my hair?' It can be bald or short, it doesn't matter about (my) hair."
Critics argue the gymnast should be sporting a tight bun, similar to the style worn by ballerinas.
Douglas uses gel, clips and a ponytail holder to prep her hair for competition - and, despite the critique on social media, she has no plans to change her performance look.
The 2012 Games aren’t over yet. Canadian fans still have a few key moments, memories and events to look forward to:
Van Koeverden’s 1,000: Kayaker Adam van Koeverden is set to prove himself Monday in the men’s K1 1,000 metres. After a disappointing showing in Beijing, he’s got a lot to prove. Win, lose or draw, this race will likely be remembered in the annals of Canadian amateur sports.
Spencer’s wild card: Boxer Mary Spencer, a three-time world champion who got into the Olympics on a wild card, has her first bout Monday in the women’s middleweight (75 kg) quarter-finals. Thursday is the final, when Spencer, if she makes it, can show the world the force behind that wild card.
First Timers: A few first-time Olympians are set to race for medals over the coming days including cyclist Tara Whitten, who sets off in the women’s omnium at the London Velodrome on Monday.
Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Toronto Star or www.thestar.com. The Star is not responsible for the content or views expressed on external sites.
Distribution, transmission or republication of any material is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. For information please contact us using our webmaster form. www.thestar.com online since 1996.