Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:



You know what you want — what you really, really want — to cap the Olympic Games? A closing ceremony featuring the Spice Girls.

Organizers won't confirm it, but the 90s "girl power" group have been photographed rehearsing for Sunday's night's show, so an appearance by Baby, Ginger, Scary, Sporty and Posh seems certain.

They'll be joined by a hit parade of British music acts, including The Who, George Michael, Muse, Annie Lennox and the Pet Shop Boys, for what artistic director Kim Gavin calls "a mashed-up symphony" of British hits.

The ceremony ends a Summer Games that have gone far better than many had predicted. Gavin says he wants the ceremony to be "the best after-show party that's ever been."

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



Don't blink, or you may miss a gold medal being handed out. It's medal Saturday, when a dizzying 32 golds will be handed out.

That's by far the biggest medal day of these games, with one more day of competition to go.

The highest-profile events on Saturday are the men's soccer final between Brazil and Mexico, the 4x100 relay featuring Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans and the women's basketball final between the United States and France.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski



British Prime Minister David Cameron was at Dorney Lake to watch kayaker Ed McKeever win the host nation's 26th gold of the games with victory in the men's 200-meter K-1 final.

"He's pretty quick, isn't he?" Cameron told reporters. "Obviously it's not only just physically very challenging but technically, you can see. When I get into a kayak there is quite a lot of splashing.

"It was fantastic, we're striking gold again."

The venue in Windsor is owned by Cameron's old school, Eton.

"It's lovely to come and see it for myself," he said, accompanied by his wife, Samantha, and three children. "Haven't been before, I wish I'd come last Saturday for that amazing day (when Britain beat Australia to gold in the men's four in rowing), but it was my day to look after the children."

— Steve Douglas — Twitter http://twitter.com/sdouglas80



"We then will invite a very large number of athletes into our stadium and they become the mosh pit. The golden circle for our performance tomorrow night. They become our immediate audience on the field of play. And they come from everywhere and they come as one." — closing ceremony director Kim Gavin on the central role that Olympic athletes will play Sunday night.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb



London's organizing committee says 325,000 spectators visited Olympic venues on Friday, and 144,000 of those walked through the gates of Olympic Park. Some 7.7 million spectators have visited Olympic venues over the course of the games.

However, on Sunday spectator numbers will decline. Olympic Park will host only three events on the final day: water polo, modern pentathlon and handball. The rest of the park will be in transition mode as Olympic Stadium is transformed into a giant stage for the closing ceremony Sunday night.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb



Olympic organizers are in a race against time to transform the main London stadium from a sporting theater of dreams into what they are billing as the best after-show party on Earth.

Sunday's official closing ceremony is officially described as a symphony of British music — a celebration of British creativity in the arts. But London organizing committee head Sebastian Coe interpreted that, more loosely, as being "a party, party, party!"

— Sandy MacIntyre



As architect of the dominant program in women's college basketball, Geno Auriemma knows almost everything there is to know about winning. Almost.

Auriemma has guided UConn to seven national titles, four perfect seasons and an NCAA record 90 victories in a row. And yet, with all that experience winning games over the years, Auriemma is poised to win something he's never won before — a gold medal.

The United States women play France for the Olympic title on Saturday. It would be the Americans' fifth straight gold medal, but Auriemma's first. And for once, the outspoken coach isn't sure what to say.

"For me, winning the gold medal is something that I probably won't be able to talk about or fully express until it actually happens," he says. "Because I'm sure you can't prepare for it, how you're going to feel or what it means to you personally."

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski



There have been loads of complaints about tickets at the London games and grumblings that VIPs were squeezing out average fans at the London Olympics. But bargain-hunting Britons are just going ticketless.

Hundreds of thousands of people have cheered on their favorites in person free of charge.

With cyclists, runners, triathletes, race walkers and even swimmers competing in the streets and parks of London, ticketless fans have the chance to attend an Olympic event every day or two. That has attracted hordes of flag-waving Britons, but also Brazilians, Americans, Germans and Japanese.

Whether they were befuddled by Britain's computerized ticket lottery or are just plain cheap, ticketless fans have three opportunities Saturday to see an Olympic event. The men's 50-kilometer race walk on The Mall near Buckingham Palace, with the women's 20-kilometer event using the same 2-kilometer circuit at later in the afternoon.

The men's marathon is Sunday. Expect a crowd.

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



It hasn't been the most successful of Olympics for Australia. In fact, with three sailing team medals, the country has won more gold on the water than in it, thanks to an underwhelming performance by its much-vaunted swimming team (which won just one gold, a relay).

The Australian Olympic Committee has rewarded one of the gold-medal sailors, Malcolm Page, by naming him to carry the flag at Sunday's closing ceremony. Page won gold in London in the 470 classs with Mat Belcher after having won the same event in Beijing with Nathan Wilmot.

— Dennis Passa — Twitter http://twitter.com/DennisPassa



The "Blade Runner" did not win a medal, but that doesn't mean these Olympics were any less important.

Oscar Pistorius set a precedent with his journey to and through the London Games, and he can add one more accomplishment: He was a finalist.

A double-amputee who runs on carbon-fiber blades, Pistorius anchored the South Africa team in the 4x400-meter relay final on Friday night, bringing the 80,000-strong crowd to a crescendo.

It didn't matter that he finished eighth. He can proudly add "Olympic finalist" to his long list of unprecedented achievements.

"This whole experience was amazing ... to step out here in an Olympic final is more than I could have ever hoped for," Pistorius said. "That opportunity to come here once again and finish today and not yesterday is a dream come true."

Pistorius said the atmosphere, the crowd, the competition, the experience were all "far beyond my expectations."

"If I took all the positive things I thought might come out of this and multiply it by 10, it still couldn't come close."

— John Pye



Los Angeles Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol will face off when the United States takes on Spain for the gold medal on Sunday.

While both aspire to take home a gold for their respective countries, on Friday both were also thinking about Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic center who was traded to the Lakers.

Gasol said the move will give the Lakers a huge boost.

"It puts us in a position of trying to win the championship and going after it," he said. "There's going to be expectations of being a very strong and powerful team, and we like that."

Bryant was even more exuberant, proclaiming that the Lakers are "locked and loaded to bring back the title."

He spoke with Howard on Friday morning, and interrupted his pursuit of a gold medal to talk about the years to come in Los Angeles.

"I'll probably play two or three more years. Then the team is his," Bryant said. "I'm excited for the franchise because now they have a player that can carry the franchise well after I'm gone. This should be his and he should want to accept that challenge."

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski and Tim Reynolds — Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds



The London Games are going to get one more Bolt before they come to a close.

Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans will be the favorites when they hit the track for the 4x100 relay finals on Saturday. A victory would give Bolt three golds in London, and six for his already brilliant career.

Bolt rested on Friday while his teammates clocked in at 37.39 seconds, a time that surely will drop with the world's fastest man in the group.

Still, the Americans showed they're not going to just hand Bolt the gold medal. Their time of 37.38 seconds was a U.S. record.

"There's a lot of people there who have come to spoil the party," Bolt said earlier this week. "So we'll see."

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski



Hugh McCutcheon overcame heartbreak to lead the U.S. men's volleyball team to the gold medal in Beijing. Now he's trying to put all that behind him while helping the women's team chase down its first gold.

McCutcheon's father-in-law was stabbed to death in Beijing just before the opening ceremonies. The grieving coach stayed with his team to win gold and has since moved to the women's side with great success.

The Americans are the No. 1 team in the world as they head into the final against Brazil on Saturday night looking to add a gold to the two silvers and a bronze in the team's medal case.

As for the tragedy in Beijing, McCutcheon is trying to move on.

"It's not part of our story; it's not part of our journey," he says. "From Day 1, it's been about USA women's volleyball and trying to get to the mountain top. That's it."

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski



It's hard to picture U.S. men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski as a party animal staggering around the streets of London.

But that's exactly how he jokingly described himself after the U.S. beat Argentina by 26 points on Friday night to advance to the gold medal game.

Krzyzewski took exception to a question from a reporter asking if he had to do any coaching, given he had such a talented roster.

"Absolutely none," he deadpanned. "I'm out every night with my family, drunk as a skunk. Wait till you see me tonight. I'll get in at six and you all are invited to come out with me."

Krzyzewski is famous for his obsessive preparation, so the only headache he'll have on Saturday likely will be the one caused by planning for the Sunday gold medal final against Spain.

— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski



It brings a whole new meaning to Olympic rings.

Love is in the air during the 2012 games, it seems. The question has been popped an estimated 25 times under the large, multi-colored rings inside Olympic Park.

Bram Lobeek, from Utrecht in the Netherlands, finally found the moment he had been looking for all year.

After watching the Dutch men's hockey team beat South Korea this week, he convinced his reluctant girlfriend of almost 10 years to line up for a photo by the rings.

He didn't explain his motive — and fretted as she started to look bored.

His girlfriend, Hetty van der Pennen, recalled wondering why she was wasting her time there.

"So I was standing and I said 'what is he doing?' and he was pointing at the Olympic rings and he said 'well, these are yours,'" she said Friday. "I said: 'What?' Then he went down on his knees."

— Corrin Grant


EDITOR'S NOTE — "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.