Zoo animals have their own games (Olympic diary)

August 10th, 2012 - 5:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Michael Phelps London, Aug 10 (IANS) Not to be outdone by the likes of sprint king Usain Bolt and swimming legend Michael Phelps, animals in the London Zoo have been busy showing their athletic prowess.

During the Olympic fortnight, people in large numbers have been thronging the London Zoo to watch competitors from the animal kingdom race away to sporting glory.

“We have animals here that possess athletic abilities and through this event we are trying to tie that ability with the Olympics fever. People have been coming in large numbers and seem to thoroughly enjoy the animal Olympics,” zoo keeper Lucy Smith said.

The animals competing at the zoo Olympics include lions, otters, penguins and rats.

While at the human Olympics winners get a medal for their effort, at the zoo, the victors are left to settle for a tasty treat.

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Games Makers making the Olympics

From raking the sand during the Beach Volleyball competition to helping spectators between venues, the London Olympics’ unpaid army of 70,000 volunteers “Games Makers” is surely living up to their names in making the mega event successful.

Clad in eye-catching red and purple outfits created by famed designer Stella McCartney, they are likely to be remembered second only to medal winners in the UK as the most visible human vestige of the Games.

“It has really made me appreciate the value of volunteer work. It is often undervalued, and I want to carry on doing more after the Olympics,” said Andrew Butler, a young volunteer who has been providing technical support to synchronized swimming judges in the Olympics aquatics centre.

The Games Maker recruitment began in September 2010 after many months of planning. More than 240,000 applications were received and nearly 100,000 people were interviewed before the selection of the 70,000 volunteers.

On their jobs much before the games began, the “Games Makers” will have contributed eight million volunteer hours by the time the Olympics end.

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Royal spectacle at the Olympics

The Royal Family has been popping up at Olympic events across London, making the most of an opportunity to bolster their public image while the international spotlight is on the British capital.

Equestrian, Cycling, Rowing, Gymnastics, it seemed wherever Britain had a shot at medals, one could count on the cameras finding the Windsors clapping and smiling in the stands.

The tabloids here loved it and so did many ticket holders, some of whom spent more time gawking at the Royals than watching competition.

Princes William and Harry and William’s wife Kate were present in the stands to cheer on their cousin Zara Phillips who went on to win silver with the British Olympic equestrian team.

From being in the stands cheering the Brit athletes, to Queen Elizabeth herself donning the role of a Bond girl, the royalty has constantly been the newsmakers at the Games.

Queen Elizabeth II has made her acting debut as a Bond girl — and it was done in one take.

The 86-year-old monarch showed her sense of humour when she appeared as herself in a pre-recorded short film for the opening ceremony with James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

In the film, Craig arrived at her private study in Buckingham Palace, where she said “Good evening, Mr. Bond” before the pair boarded a helicopter.

Moments after the film ended, stunt doubles of the pair parachuted into the Olympic Stadium.

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