Olympic London greets US politicians | News | DW | 27.07.2012
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Olympic London greets US politicians

Olympic gold medal winner Carl Lewis has joined in the commentary on US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's error strewn visit to London as First Lady, Michelle Obama, arrived to lead the US presidential delegation.

Lewis, an American who won 10 Olympic medals, criticized Romney for suggesting London may not be ready for the Olympics. "Every Olympics is ready, I don't care whatever he (Romney) said,” Lewis commented. “I swear, sometimes I think some Americans shouldn't leave the country. Are you kidding me, stay home if you don't know what to say."

Romney added to his woes by apparently forgetting the name of opposition Labour party leader, Ed Miliband calling him “Mr Leader.”

The Republican Party candidate also failed to follow the protocol of not referring to the British intelligence agency MI6, which was only officially acknowledged in 1994, 82 years after it was established.

Speaking outside Prime Minister David Cameron's office in Downing Street, Romney said he had “appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and the opposition here, as well as the head of MI6."

American opposition has a field day

Back in the US, opposition Democrats have seized their opportunity presenting a new video highlighting criticism of Romney from British politicians and the media. Much of it came from the social networking site Twitter - with many users tagging comments about Romney with the hashtag #romneyshambles.

President Barack Obama was the first head of state to sign up to social media and a study of Twitter usage by heads of government "Twiplomacy," published by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller on Thursday showed he has 17 million followers. This is well ahead of any other politician and fifth overall, just behind the American pop star @britneyspears.

US First Lady Michelle Obama, who is leading the US presidential delegation, arrived in London and visited Team USA at their training base in east London ahead of Friday's opening ceremony. She urged America's athletes to "have fun, breathe a bit, but also win.”

The Olympic opening day began just after 8am local time with bells being rung all over Britain for three minutes. They were led by Big Ben in the centre of London striking 40 times; the first time it has struck off the hour in more than 50 years.

The opening ceremony starts at twelve minutes past eight – 2012 – local time. A Red Arrows fly-by over London and a choreographed history of Britain since its green and pleasant beginnings through industrialization to its current, cosmopolitan status are the highlights of the ceremony in the stadium.

jm/sej (Reuters, AP)