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Eyes on London: David Beckham has opening ceremony role

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, July 24 2012 5:01 p.m. MDT

Tens of thousands of spectators who attended a technical rehearsal for Friday's ceremony entered the stadium to be greeted by signs imploring them to "Save the Surprise." Boyle, the Academy Award-winning director of "Slumdog Millionaire," addressed the crowd with a personal plea not to blab, for the sake of future viewers and the 10,000 volunteer performers who have been working on the spectacle for months.

Many details have already leaked out out of the ceremony, titled "Isles of Wonder" and inspired by Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and by two centuries of British history and culture.

And Boyle left some gaps in Monday's run-through where extra-secret segments will appear on Friday.

Most of those who saw the show seem to be keeping mum. Many tweeted enthusiastically, but vaguely, about the contents of the show, which mixes grand spectacle with British humor and irreverence.

Many of the spectators streaming out of the stadium afterward said they had been wowed —even those who had been skeptical at first.

—Jill Lawless — Twitter http://twitter.com/JillLawless

BETTER THAN SYDNEY?

The Aussie team's chief says the Brits might just do a better job than the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Nick Green tells Australian reporters Tuesday that in his opinion London 2012 will be "the best Olympics ever." The predominantly Australian media responded with mock shock.

Australia's games 12 years ago have until now been considered among the best. But, says Green, "London's learned a lot out of Sydney ... my view is it'll be the best ever."

—Gerald Imray — Twitter http://twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP

EDINBURGH'S FINEST

Olympic fever hasn't swept through all of Britain — at least not yet.

Most people in Edinburgh, Scotland, are focused on the upcoming Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an annual festival and demonstration that takes place on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. But that doesn't mean there wasn't a cheer inside pubs such as Maggie Dickinson's on Grassmarket on Monday when Edinburgh's own cycling star Sir Chris Hoy — already Scotland's most successful Olympian — was chosen to carry the British flag for the Opening Ceremony.

Hoy won his first Olympic gold at the Athens Games, but cemented his legacy in Beijing, where he became the first Brit to win three gold medals in a single Olympics since Henry Taylor in 1908. Hoy was chosen to carry the Union Jack at the Closing Ceremony in 2008, and will now carry it for the Opening Ceremony on Friday after a vote of the 542 members of the British team. Hoy will be trying to defend his gold medals in the keirin and the team sprint when the track cycling program begins.

Just how popular is Hoy in Scotland? The Scottish National Velodrome being built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be named in his honor.

—Dave Skretta — Twitter http://twitter.com/APdaveskretta

EXTRA TROOPS

The British government has just announced it is deploying an extra 1,200 more troops to protect Olympic venues. There's no indication that the step was taken as a result of any specific threat.

British troops stepped in earlier this month after the private security company hired to protect the games failed to hire the number of guards it promised.

—Danica Kirka — Twitter http://twitter.com/danicakirka

FROWN FOR THE CAMERA

Only boring, mean people can be a part of the Olympic Games. That goes for athletes, volunteers, journalists — everybody.

Don't believe it? Just look at those bulky credentials around everyone's necks.

The International Olympic Committee requires that mug shots have a completely colorless facial expression. They say it's needed for security purposes, but it sure makes us all look miserable — or worse.

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