London Eye: Australian flag-bearer choice cooking up a storm

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The Independent Online

The choice of Australian flag-bearer at Friday's Olympic opening ceremony has turned into a battle of the sexes with the only woman to represent the country at five Games jokingly threatening a sit-down protest if a man again receives the role.

Beach volleyball player Natalie Cook said the decision was a "no-brainer".

"If there's a male that carries the flag I will sit in protest," said Cook, who made her Olympic debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. "I'd love the honour of leading the team out, that would be one of the highlights of my career," she added.

"But for me as long as it's a female. I've walked behind four men: Andrew Hoy, Andrew Gaze, Colin Beashel and James Tomkins."

The last female Australian flag-bearer at a Summer Olympics was the four-time Olympian diver Jenny Donnet in 1992.

Baseball and softball unite for status

The governing bodies of baseball and softball are to merge in a bid for 2020 Olympic Games inclusion.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) dropped the two sports from the Games programme in a 2005 vote, making them the first to be axed in almost 70 years. Baseball and softball last appeared in a Games at Beijing 2008.

"We feel if we can work together it might be much more possible to regain Olympic status," said the International Softball Federation president, Don Porter.

"Both our sports are trying to find things that will improve them. Become more attractive and interesting."

Phelps rises above Lochte rivalry

The duel in the pool between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte has long been highlighted as one of the moments of London 2012. Is Phelps afraid that Lochte will snatch his 400 metres individual medley crown en route to claiming the most golds in Stratford? "The only things I'm afraid of are snakes and heights," said Phelps yesterday. "I don't think Ryan's a snake and I think I'm taller than him."

Tweets of the day

"Just had our first meal in the Olympic Village! Things look awesome so far, waiting for some more bro reinforcements to arrive to explore!" South Africa swimmer Jean Basson

"It's a beautiful day in London! Wasn't sure when I was gonna get to say those words lol" US runner Nick Symmonds


Great Britain finished fourth in the 2008 Beijing medals table, with 47 medals – 19 of them gold.