Tuesday, July 31, 2012
50 Shades of Grey baby boom? Births predicted to rise thanks to success of hit 'mommy porn' erotic novel
The Olympics mean different things to different people. To Imogen Cairns, regardless of what happens at North Greenwich Arena this evening, they mean personal – and team – triumph against the odds.
The 23-year-old, from Portishead – via Winterbourne – will line up in the final of the team event of the artistic gymnastics at 4.30pm, four years after Great Britain failed to qualify for the gold-medal event in Beijing.
For Cairns, 2008 is also synonymous with the agony of a double ankle injury that left her fearing she would never compete again. In her own words, she snapped everything but the bones in both ankles while practicing her vault, and could not walk properly for six months, was out of action for 18 months and underwent two operations on each ankle.
But, while she may stand at 5ft 1in and produce some of the most intricate and agile moves on the vault and beam, Cairns is a fighter. She stepped up first on the beam for Britain in Sunday's qualification round – a notoriously tricky opening apparatus – and drew praise from Beth Tweddle for the way in which she calmed the nerves of her younger team-mates with a solid routine.
Great Britain finished fifth of 12 teams in the qualification round, with the top eight reaching this evening's final, and Cairns is relishing the pressure of competing in an event she thought had passed her by.
"Being out injured – and being this old – I came back and worked so hard, and I just feel I deserve to be here, with all the work I put in," said Cairns.
"I am so happy it worked out that way. I just try to work my hardest – even if I can't work at the same pace as the youngsters."
Cairns, at 23, and Tweddle, at 27, are the veterans of the Great Britain gymnastics squad, with the Portishead Academy member competing at her second Games.
And the three-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who was inspired by a rapturous home crowd during Sunday's qualifying round, revealed how she preferred the pressure of expectation that comes only with the biggest events.
"I'm weird that way – with pressure, I seem to perform better," she said. "I don't know if that is because I get more nervous and get into the zone, but with pressure, I definitely reckon I do better.
"I had never competed in front of a home crowd before, but I felt I fed off the crowd. Some people try to block it out, because it puts them off focus, but I really like the encouragement from it.
"I am just so happy to be here. In 2008, I was 19 and it was my first Olympics, and it was a bit overwhelming for me. But I'm 23 now, I couldn't quite believe it when they said I was in the squad, and I'm absolutely loving it here.
"Straight after the 2008 Games, I went to a Grand Prix and had an awful fall and was out for 18 months. It was so horrible. I was going to retire after 2008 anyway – but I finished the Games and thought: 'Do you know what? I'm not ready yet'.
"When I went through my rehab, I realised how much I missed it. Gymnastics is my life – and I've got more to give."
Whether or not that "more" includes a performance that leads to standing on the podium alongside Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Jenny Pinches and Becky Tunney at around 7.20pm today, Cairns is not prepared to speculate.
Despite Sunday's strong showing in qualification, United States, Russia, China and Romania all scored more points, and competition will be fierce again today. "You never know," said Cairns. "You never know – look at what our boys did. That's a huge inspiration for our team."
Just before Fiona Apple played her new song "Every Single Night" on Sunday, someone from the sold-out Hollywood Palladium audience — perhaps one of the many young women in witchy lace dresses — screamed at her.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Missed the Opening Ceremonies? Displeased with NBC's lackluster, far from comprehensive (or even accessible) coverage? Drown out your sorrows with this delightful animation capturing the spirit of the Olympics in 8-bit graphics created by animation company, Flikli, instead! More
by CNNGo staff
One of China's leading airlines is teaming up with a new low-cost African carrier, which is due to take to the skies on September 21.
Hainan Airlines (HNA), China's fourth-largest carrier and the first to receive a five-star award from Skytrax, will be spearheading Africa World Airline (AWA), which is based in Ghana.Looking to end travel frustration in Africa
News of the fledgling "Chafrican" carrier comes in the wake of the demise of Ghana International Airlines, which ceased operations in 2010.
AWA, which has a reported start-up capital of US$50 million, hopes to spell an end to frequent flyer frustration in Africa.
"[Currently] to go to Cape Verde [off the west coast of Africa] from Accra, one has to fly to Lisbon in Portugal," said an AWA official. "In some cases, you take off from Accra, fly to Europe and catch a connecting flight, which will see you flying over Accra to get to your destination within Africa."read more
One gift will be used to enlarge the Harry's Haven Alzheimer's unit at the Motion Picture & Television Fund's retirement home and hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
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a $200 password-cracking tool that makes it easy to decipher
Internet traffic sent through a widely used method for securing