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LONDON OLYMPICS

London Olympics: Obama tweets his congrats to Michael Phelps

The president applauds the swimmer for breaking the Olympic medal record. 'You've done your country proud,' he tweets. Missy Franklin hears from Justin Bieber.

August 01, 2012|Staff reports
  • U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps smiles after winning a 200-meter butterfly semifinal heat on Monday. Phelps, who captured his record 19th Olympic medal on Tuesday, was congratulated by President Obama via Twitter.
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps smiles after winning a 200-meter butterfly… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

LONDON — The congratulatory telegram is so last century, the congratulatory phone call so last decade. When Michael Phelps awoke on Wednesday, he scrolled through his Twitter feed and discovered a congratulatory tweet from President Obama.

"Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic medal record," Obama tweeted. "You've made your country proud. -bo"

Phelps tweeted back: "Thank you Mr. President!! It's an honor representing the #USA !! The best country in the world!!"

PHOTOS: London Olympics, Day 5

Phelps then shared the tweets with his 668,000 followers. Obama has 18 million followers.

Phelps also shared the greetings from John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Donte Stallworth of the New England Patriots, former football star Desmond Howard, speedskating champion Apolo Anton Ohno, skateboarder Shaun White, singer Samantha Ronson, "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest and several professional poker players.

"I started scrolling through thousands of mentions, and I was like, man, this is a lot of things to look at," Phelps said.

"Obviously, I wanted to say thank you to all of my friends. Obama, [Spain's Gerard] Pique the soccer player, a bunch of athletes, figures from all over the world that were sending things. It was pretty cool."

Teen swim sensation Missy Franklin blissfully lost her cool after seeing a congratulatory tweet from teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.

"Heard @FranklinMissy is a fan of mine. now im a fan of hers too. CONGRATS on winning GOLD! #muchlove"

Franklin shared that message and added this note: "I just died! Thankyou!"

She said she was floored by Bieber's tweet.

"I could not believe that," she said. "When I saw that, I was running around like a chicken with their head cut off. I was so excited."

— Bill Shaikin

Winning nickname

Rower Hamadou Djibo Issaka of Niger doesn't have an Olympic medal, and judging from his performance here, he's not likely to get one. But he does have a cool nickname: "The Sculling Sloth," which was pinned on him after he finished last in his qualifying heat of the 2,000-meter single sculls Saturday, trailing the winner by more than a minute and a half.

But the 35-year-old gardener, one of just three athletes representing his country in London, starting rowing just three months ago. And he promises he'll be back — and be better — four years from now in Rio.

"I have no technique," he confessed. "I only have strength."

And speaking of Rio, the closing ceremony of the London Games is still more than a week away, but Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, is already fearing his place in the spotlight.

It's become customary for the mayor of the current Olympic city to hand the Olympic flag over to the mayor of the city that will host the next Games. That means London's often unpredictable Boris Johnson will do the honors this year — and that's what worries the Brazilian.

"I'm just scared he'll do something crazy," Paes said.

— Kevin Baxter

Positive test upheld

A gymnast from Uzbekistan has become the second athlete to be expelled from the London Olympics for doping, after a follow-up urine test confirmed a positive finding on her initial screening.

The International Olympic Committee, which had provisionally suspended Luiza Galiulina after the first positive result, announced Wednesday that it had revoked her credential and had referred her case file to the International Gymnastics Federation for possible additional sanctions.

Galiulina, who wasn't a medal contender, provided a urine sample July 25 that tested positive for the banned substance furosemide, a diuretic, officials said. An analysis of the second sample confirmed that finding.

— Helene Elliott

BMX cyclist injured

BMX cyclist Arielle Martin of Spanaway, Wash., was injured during a training accident at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., and will be replaced on the U.S. Olympic BMX team by Brooke Crain of Visalia, Calif.

USA Cycling announced Wednesday that Martin, 27, was taken to Mercy Hospital in San Diego on Tuesday for treatment and is expected to make a full recovery from her injuries. She had been scheduled to leave for London on Wednesday and to compete next week.

Martin finished fourth in last year's world championships.

Crain, 19, was third at last year's BMX junior world championships and was ninth in last summer's Olympic test event.

— Helene Elliott

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