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Back At The Track, II

LONDON -- I'm back in the Olympic Stadium, getting ready for a big night of Olympic track and field. It will culminate, of course, with the men's 100-meter final at 9:50 p.m. (4:50 p.m. Buffalo time). Jamaican Usain Bolt will be defending his title from 2008, but his young countryman, Johan Blake, is the favorite. Justin Gatlin of the U.S., who won gold eight years ago in Athens, is a threat for the upset.

I took some time off today to see the sights. Went to the British Museum, the largest in the world from what I understand. Pretty amazing place. The first thing I saw when I walked into the huge open court was the Discobolus, the famous sculpture of a man throwing a discus.

There's lots of ancient stuff from Greece and Egypt in the museum. I got an education on the Greek Parthenon, and how Lord Elgin had many of the damaged monuments brought here because he was concerned about their safekeeping. I'm told the Greeks feel they were basically stolen.

It's amazing to see the old metopes, which are sculptures that surrounded the top of the Parthenon. They show various themes, mainly a lot of horses and centaurs (half man, half horse) battling mere mortals. The people in the metopes were called Lapiths. Obviously, I have a sketchy understanding of this stuff, but it was very impressive.

Also saw a lot of mummies and coffins from Egypt. One was Cleopatra's. It said she was 17 when she died. I didn't know that. Not even sure it was the famous Cleopatra. I don't know a lot. The one thing that becomes evident to me during an Olympics is that I'm an expert on nothing. Maybe basketball, but I'm sure there are people who would dispute that.

Stopped at a nice restaurant near Leicester Square, the theater district, for lunch with Melinda. Our waiter saw my vintage Detroit Pistons cap and became excited. He's a big basketball fan from Hungary. He had tickets to the U.S.-Argentina game tomorrow. Lucky guy. I told him I covered the NBA when Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan were all playing. He seemed impressed.

They're having the medal ceremony for the men's long jump. Greg Rutherford of Great Britain won the gold medal. It's pretty moving to hear "God Save The Queen" sung by 80,000 people in London. An Australian, Mitchell Watt, won silver.

I wonder if Mitchell Watt, the UB hoop star now with the Grizzlies, ever high jumped? He would have been good at it, if you ask me.

Great Britain is solidly in third place in the gold medal chart, by the way. The Brits have really been cleaning up the past few days, winning in sports like cycling, rowing and track. China now leads the Americans in overall medals, 59-56. But track and field is always a U.S. strength.

Russia, which has not finished out of the top three since 1948, has 34 medals, two back of Britain. But the Russians have only three golds, one of the major disappointments of the Games.They're really counting on Yelena Isinbayeva to win a third straight gold medal in women's pole vault.  

Most of the U.S. writers are downstairs in the press center. I like it up here in the stadium, outside with the crowd and the wind and the great sound system. This is awesome. I never lose fact of how lucky I am to do this. Women's 400-meter hurdles heats coming up.

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