LONDON - A few thoughts and observations as the Olympics near their end:
-- I still can't get over the fact that men's 1,500-meter winner Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria ran his last 100 in 12.6 seconds. That's insane.
-- It sure looked as if the taekwondo referee I saw on TV the other day was wearing a protective cup. If he wasn't ...
-- I love how some Russian journalists wear the same warm-up pants and coats as the athletes do. Can you imagine if U.S. journalists donned the same outfit as Michael Phelps? The way some of these guys have hit the free buffet line over the years, it would be stars and stripes forever.
-- Can someone explain why divers get under a shower head immediately after each dive? Isn't that sort of redundant?
-- If you had 10 BMX races with the same competitors, you could easily have 10 different winners, given the amount of jostling, falls and general chaos. You can't say the same thing about most other competitions at the Olympics.
-- OK, I finally have it down: The cars drive on the left side here. It would follow that pedestrians would walk on the left, too. But, no. People are all over the sidewalk. The stairs are a study in confusion. Make up your mind, Brits!
-- If professional boxing bouts were three three-minute rounds, like the Olympics men's fights are, instead of 10 or 12 three-minute rounds, it might have more of a following. With much less time to make an impression on judges, boxers throw lots more punches and are much more ferocious.
-- Synchronized swimming is not a sport. Carry on.
-- And, finally, this letter to the editor in The Independent newspaper about Boris Johnson, the spotlight-seeking London mayor: "Prime Minister David Cameron describes Johnson as a 'titan.' I have not received the classical education enjoyed by these two gentlemen but, as I understand it, the Titans of Greek myth were creatures much given to incest, inbreeding, intoxication, the eating of children and a cosmic fratricidal conflict which ended in their ultimate defeat. I see what Cameron's getting at.''