Olympic Question Time: Your queries answered

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The Independent Online

Q. Are there any events in which the USA does NOT participate? TC Novak

A. They gave the others a chance to win some medals. A team spokeswoman explains: "We had no teams in the men's soccer, handball or hockey – and we only had one man in the men's table tennis, so he couldn't really compete in the team event." There were also weightlifting and boxing where (whisper it) the mighty USA failed to make the grade.

Q. Why do men not compete in the synchronised swimming? Nicholas E Gough

A. Prejudice, surely. Men's synchronised swimming is growing in popularity across Europe and north America, although it's not recognised in the Olympics or the World Championships. Every other year, the Men's Cup gives the best something to compete for, but since women's boxing has been such a hit, maybe men's synchro should have its Olympic moment soon.

Q. Is the BMX track soft? They crash really heavily. J Walker

A. In a word, no (as you can see from the riders after their falls). The only soft area is the turf, and that's there just to brighten the place up – riders never land on the grass, lovingly grown in Scarisbrick, Lancashire. Other sections are asphalt (which is fast) or limestone (slightly slower but still not nice to fall on). Most riders wear shin, elbow and knee pads, and some wear chest pads, though that means extra weight. To put it in perspective, Shanaze Reade has broken her knee, foot, elbow, coccyx, ribs and hand. Ouch.

Thanks for all your questions