Racist Tweets, Doping Cheats and Empty Seats: 10 London Olympics Controversies
From vacant stands to extinguished flames and fencing sit-ins, we're just five days into the London Olympics, and already the controversy has been as plentiful -- and colorful -- as any Olympiad in recent memory.
Here then, in no particular order, are the 10 most dubious, scandalous and just plain hilarious controversies to befall the 2012 Summer Games.
1. Logo Debut and Subsequent Seizures
The controversies started early -- as far back as 2007, actually, when the London Olympics committee debuted their strangely jagged pop-art logo, created by the Wolff Olins design firm. Blowback started immediately, from outraged graphic designers who found the image aesthetically offensive in every way, to threats of an Iranian boycott because it looked like it spelled the word "Zion."
An accompanying video released at the same time superimposed fast-moving animations over diving footage. The group Charity Epilepsy Action protested the video, saying they had received numerous "calls from people who had suffered fits" after watching it. An Olympics spokeswoman responded at the time, "We are taking it very seriously and are looking into it as a matter of urgency."
2. Mitt Romney's Gold Medal Blunder
A pleasant trip overseas turned into a PR nightmare for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, when, just hours before meeting with England's leaders, Mitt Romney told NBC News' Brian Williams that it was "hard to know just how well" the games' security measures would work out and that there were "a few things that were disconcerting" to him about safety. He also threw the British Olympic spirit into question, asking: "Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? That's something which we can only find out once the Games actually begin."
The comments drew stinging rebukes from the British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said of Romney -- who oversaw the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games -- "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere." London Mayor Boris Johnson later told a huge crowd in Hyde Park, "There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!" The crowd roared its approval
As he pledged he would in The Hollywood Reporter's cover story, Bob Costas, the face of NBC's Olympics coverage, made good on his promise to acknowledge on live TV the IOC's refusal to honor the Israeli athletes and coaches slain at the 1972 Munich Games.
“The Israeli athletes now enter behind their flag-bearer Shahar Zubari,” said Costas in his remarks. “These games mark the 40th anniversary of the 1972 tragedy in Munich, when 11 Israeli coaches and athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. There have been calls from a number of quarters for the IOC to acknowledge that, with a moment of silence at some point in tonight’s ceremony. The IOC denied that request, noting it had honored the victims on other occasions. And, in fact, this week [IOC president] Jacques Rogge led a moment of silence before about 100 people in the athletes village. Still, for many, tonight, with the world watching, is the true time and place to remember those who were lost, and how and why they died."