THE GLITCH REPORT: So far, so good.
Venues complete? Check.
Transportation smooth? Check.
Security tight? Check.
Athletes ready? Check.
Fans in stands? Uh . . .
Blame it on the excruciating heat, weak pre-Games ticket sales or Greece's traditional August holidays, but the fact remains: There were a lot of empty seats.
Temperatures at some venues topped 100 degrees -- all right, they topped [reader: please insert insanely small number here] Celsius, but the keys on our calculator melted, and besides, 100 degrees is so much more impressive than . . . 38. Few fans bothered with the morning swimming session, which is usually a big draw even without Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe.
A crash marred the beginning of the men's road race, or perhaps the cyclists realized they weren't in the crisp French Alps and ran into each other on purpose. Riders continued to drop like flies during the 139.4-mile race -- thank goodness it wasn't 140 miles. What then?
Even the beach volleyball players, clad in nothing but bikinis, hats and lots of confidence, retreated to shady areas during breaks and tried to cool off by standing next to large fans.
There were lots of empty seats at the indoor venues as well, but then again in Greece, air conditioning is a fickle friend.
FIRST GOLD: Li Du of China, who won the 10-meter air rifle competition on her final shot.
FIRST U.S. GOLD: Michael Phelps, who set a world record in winning the men's 400-meter individual medley.
BUST OF THE DAY: The U.S. men's cycling road squad boasted four accomplished international riders, but none finished higher than 18th (Tyler Hamilton).
SURPRISE OF THE DAY: Katie Hoff of Abingdon, Md., was sixth in the women's 400-meter individual medley. Hoff, 15, vomited after her heat -- team officials blamed her condition mostly on nerves.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Even though the bout was slow, I still gave everybody else something to look at. I believe if I stick to my game plan, I'm going to get a gold medal. Can't nobody stop me,"
U.S. middleweight Andre Dirrell said after winning his first bout against Ha Dabateer of China, 25-18.
MALTA, MY MALTA: We don't bet the favorite at Pimlico or wager on the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. So when Alpha and Omega was ordered to adopt a country to follow through the Olympics, we weren't taking Australia. We loved but ultimately discarded Bhutan (two archers), Nauru (three weightlifters) and Vanuatu (two track athletes) as too one-dimensional. We wanted to root for Iceland in the Summer Olympics, but take away its team handball and track teams and there isn't much left.
So we picked Malta. No Olympic medals. Ever. Seven athletes. In betting parlance, Malta is overdue. Way overdue. For the next 15 days, we are Malta.
Alas, our Maltese Magnificent Seven was quickly reduced to five yesterday when Neil Agius and Angela Galea were eliminated in the swimming. But today is another day, right, Mario Aquilina? We'll raise the roof as he begins competition in sailing's Laser class.
SIGN OF THE ACROPOLIS: Athens organizers offer plenty of run-of-the-mill Olympic merchandise for babies, from bibs to sleepers to onesies to . . . string bikinis.
You, too, can attire your 6-month-old in a colorful bra with cups the size of quarters and a bikini bottom that shows lots of leg (well, diaper).
The bikini comes in a number of Olympic colors and includes tiny pictures of the mascots.
It sells for $34.
You can, of course, get tiny flip-flops to match. Those are $19.
-- From Staff Reports