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A Recap Of Olympic Action; Interview with Michael Payne, Tribute To Olympic Volunteers

Aired August 10, 2012 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: I'm Becky Anderson live from the Olympic Park where tonight it is the battle of the batons as America's relay women set a new world record we'll reflect on an Olympics games entering the final stretch. How will London be remembered in the years to come?

And we'll look where the biggest sporting event on the planet is heading next.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Max Foster at CNN London. Also tonight, with their neighborhoods under siege, Syrians are packing up and fleeing for their lives. And how Hispanics could play a key role in keeping this man out of the White House.

ANDERSON: Well, we are live from Olympic Park where a longstanding Olympic record has just been smashed as Aisha suggested a short time ago. American sprinters Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix, Tiana Madison, and Bianca Knight won gold in the women's 4x100 meter relay. And in doing so, they absolutely annihilated the record set by the Germany Democratic Republic back in 1985 when the Iron Curtain was still up.

27 years it's taken to wipe that record of 41.37 seconds from the history books. It's been replaced by a new record of 40.82, that win has been a long time coming for the Americans. They haven't won gold in the 4x100 relay since 1996, largely due to mistakes with that baton.

Well, joining me as ever at this time on the show is our CNN contributor and former Olympic champion Linford Christie.

First thing that struck me was that at 40.82, that means that effectively, each of those athletes ran a time of 10.2 seconds on their 100. That's almost impossible, isn't it?

LINFORD CHRISTIE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It is almost impossible, but I mean, I think some legs are shorter, some legs are longer. And also they're rolling, you know, so the times will never be exactly right, because something the world record 100 meters is only -- well, is not only -- it's 10.4.

ANDERSON: Yeah, still what a result for the Americans. I mean, you and I watched the race together and it was phenomenal, right? I mean, they were -- they were streaks out there.

CHRISTIE: Well, I mean, they ran very quickly in the heats. So you knew there was going to be something special in the final there and, you know, I think they needed this. They needed it. And the problem is with relay -- relays is one of these things you do at the end of your competition, which brings you and your teammates together. And you can see the difference here.

The Americans were together. They were a team. And, you know, they won and...

ANDERSON: And they wanted this ahead of the Jamaicans of course because it's sort of been a bit of a kind of Jamaican rollover, hasn't it, this last couple of nights.

CHRISTIE: I think -- you know, I think they're happy with the world record, but I think they'd be more happy beating the Jamaicans. You know, they had -- they had four girls who went out there, worked together and they also relied on slick baton changes, which I think the Jamaicans, they just relied on just sheer speed.

And I think they're very happy. You can see the look on Carmelita Jeter's face at the end of it. She looked...

ANDERSON: We also saw one of the Jamaicans, or a number of the Jamaicans out once again in the 4x100 men's heats earlier on today. Usain Bolt looking fairly fit again.

CHRISTIE: Well, he is fairly fit again. That -- I think this -- to me this is, you know, again between the Jamaicans and the Americans. But I think the tables are going to be turning, because Jamaica has, you know, four guys who are so quick...

ANDERSON: And they got the 1, 2, 3 in the 200 last night. I mean, it's going to be -- they've got to be the out and out favorites on this.

CHRISTIE: Well, they are, but you know, the Americans are going to be blowing down their necks, because they wanted this as much.

ANDERSON: That's tomorrow night. This time last time, of course, we were sitting here when Usain Bolt won the 200 meter sprint and added to his legend. If we thought the roar from the stadium behind us was loud, take a listen to how fans reacted in Jamaica.




ANDERSON: The little Caribbean island absolutely ecstatic after their sprint stars swept up all three medals in that men's 200 meter final this time last night. But the adoration for Usain Bolt in particular goes well beyond Jamaica. Many fans came to London just to see their sprint star in action.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arguably the best ever. Could we argue that? I don't know. Maybe. He could have broken a world record tonight as well and he just cruised over the line. So it was -- but yeah, he is a true legend. The fact that everyone in the stadium regardless of nationality was supporting him I think just shows he's just -- he's just a super star.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is -- that's why we're here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, that's why we're here. We're not even Jamaican. We love it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a legend. He's the best.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of all-time. Unbelievable. It was a privilege to be there tonight to watch him win that race.


ANDERSON: Well, we're seeing plenty of history being made in this games. In the next 10 minutes or so we could witness some more.

The man they call the blade runner getting ready to run with his South African team mates in the 4x400 meter relay. Oscar Pistorius is the first double amputee to compete in an Olympic Games. And earlier this year he rated his country's chance at a top podium finish.


OSCAR PISTORIUS, SOUTH AFRICAN SPRINTER: I think there's an opportunity for me to win a gold in the Olympics this year in the 4x400 relay. We came second -- we ran a silver in Diego as Team South Africa and posted a national record of a sub-3:00 4x400 relay.


ANDERSON: Linford, Oscar Pistorius, we sort of talked about this last night. They got in almost on a bye into the 4x400 meter relay final, of course. There was an infringement by the Kenyans on I think the second bent and the Kenyans thrown out and the Kenyan's -- the South Africans hit in lane 9. And there was some talk that this was about sort of branding, it was about making sure Pistorius was there at the final hurdle as it were. Do you buy that?

CHRISTIE: Well, yes and no. I think part of the problem is, first of all, you know, Oscar has been through a lot, because the International Federation did not want him to run, because they -- I think they felt it would be embarrassing if a double amputee was to beat one of the able bodied athletes. So thinking about it, I'd say, no. But at the same time it's the first time a team has been reinstated without even crossing the line, so...

ANDERSON: Because it isn't finished. Their heat, of course.

Listen, what sort of chance do they stand? I mean, Oscar is running in the race. This is, though, a quality South African team.

CHRISTIE: Definitely. I mean, they've got as good a chance as any. I think the Americans are going to be miles ahead of everybody else, but the South African, they are -- I think they are the reigning world champions. So they've got a good chance. They have got a very good chance. And Oscar-- during this round he ran 45.4, which is a time a lot of able bodied athletes will be proud of.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. I asked you about it a week or so ago whether you'd have minded whether he was running on blades or not against you. You said you wouldn't have done, because...

CHRISTIE: He wouldn't have beaten me.

ANDERSON: You wouldn't have beaten him.

Anyway, there you go.

Looking forward to that race, the 4x400 coming up in about 10 minutes time. And we'll bring you the result of that here on CNN. Of course, still to come on this show as the Olympics head towards the close, let me take a look at the legacy of London 2012 and I speak to Team USA's gold medal winning female football players. That and much more after this short break. This is a special edition of Connect the World here on CNN.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN and a special edition of Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson, here at Olympic Park. Welcome back.

Now it has indeed been a very successful games silencing many of its critics. And what a ride for the host nation Team GB bagging its most gold medals in over a century, now with 25 gold medals all together. And there are still two days to go.

Our Amanda Davies caught up with one of Team GB's golden boys one Sir Chris Hoy.


CHRIS HOY, MOST SUCCESSFUL BRITISH OLYMPIAN: Even if I physically could do it for another four years I wouldn't -- you know, I wouldn't want to go into another games, because this has been as good as it can get an Olympic games to have this home support. And the only thing I'd like to potentially continue on to would be the Commonwealth games in two years time, because that will be another home games in Glasgow and the perfect way to end my career.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You were incredibly emotional on the podium. Were you surprised by that?

HOY: Not really, because the night before I was watching Felix Sanchez get his medal in the 400 meter hurdles. And I've never met the guy. You know, it's not as if he's from the same nation as me, it wasn't because it was the national anthem of GB that was being played, it was just seeing somebody, the raw emotion and just the sheer delight and release at the end of it all. And, you know, I watched him. And I was welling up myself. And I was like, this was the night before I even competed, so I think I knew that when I got there it was going to be an emotional moment for me. And I'm just -- hadn't even put my foot on the podium before I cracked.

DAVIES: And just finally I must ask you about Usain Bolt.

HOY: Wow, yeah. What a man.

DAVIES: How great. How great an Olympian is Usain Bolt.

HOY: Oh, he's -- he's the fastest man on the planet. He's the fastest man ever on the planet. And I was fortunate enough last night to see him in action. And, you know, I've seen him many times on TV, but you never -- in any sport you never get an idea of just how impressive the performances are until you see them live. And he ran past us and then did the full victory lap. And I got a picture of him taking a photo of photographers as well, that was very good fun. And just -- it's great to have someone -- he is the face of the games. You know he is the kind of the Olympic icon. And yeah it's been a pleasure to compete at the same games as him and to see him in action.

DAVIES: Do you cycling could do with a Usain Bolt?

HOY: It's -- I think it's very difficult. The 100 meters is the kind of blue ribbon event at the Olympics. I think it always will be. And when you have someone is as big a personality and just so dominant and so unique in the way that Usain is then you know that will always be the main draw and the main focus for the games.

But the games is really more about not just one person it's about stories, you know, individual stories whether it's defeat for success, or you know human stories that you see, that's what makes the games special. I mean, you look back on them, there was much about these moment, these emotional moments as they are about the gold medal winning athletes.


ANDERSON: So Chris Hoy cycling his way into Olympic history earlier on this week.

Well, one of the most talked about athletes of the original London 2012 bid was its legacy. Joining me now is Michael Payne. He worked for the Olympic movement for more than two decades and is the author of the book Olympic Turnaround charting the Olympic's journey from near bankruptcy to the marketing success that it is today.

And it's amazing having you here tonight. When I look across here and I think what this place was 25 years ago -- I'm born and bred in London. I realize what this has done for London and what -- very ambitious legacy program, but I think it'll work. You are privy to the history of what has come sort of before London. It hasn't been pleasant a lot of the time. And sometimes it's been downright ugly hasn't it?

MICHAEL PAYNE, AUTHOR: Well, the whole journey for each host country it's a difficult journey over the seven years of pulling together what is the world's largest event. But you look around here now, the legacy, the complete rejuvenation of east London, possibly the biggest rejuvenation project of any major city. And the benefits and success of this for England and the future outlook for the Olympic movement. And yet 30 years ago it was nearly all over.

ANDERSON: Take me back.

PAYNE: You go back to the early 80s you couldn't even give the games away. There were no cities lining up to host the games. Well, there were two for '84. One was Tehran. And they had a management change at the top so they withdrew. And then the other was Los Angeles. And the people of Los Angeles said, you know what, we don't want to put any tax money in this. They had a vote. 94 percent of the people said no.

ANDERSON: 94 percent said no.

PAYNE: Said no.

So the IOC was faced with a situation of no candidates. And unless the IOC said right, we've got to change the business model, because governments weren't coming forward say we'll pay. If you couldn't show a business model that the games were sustainable, you know, it was game over.

ANDERSON: And yet eight years later we look at Barcelona, 1992 and that has to be the model for success surely.

PAYNE: That was the turning point.


PAYNE: One, because it really showed the world how the games could be a great catalyst for transformation. Barcelona had been deprived of all investment for 30, 40 years under Franco. It was a city that was on the sea that had no access to the sea. And they needed something to rally the troops, to focus the politicians. And they effectively put 30 years of neglect into a six year plan to rejuvenate the city and to completely rebrand Spain and turn it into one of the most exciting destinations in Europe.

ANDERSON: And it was one of the cities that I know Sebastian Coe and the London organizing committee looked to when they were organizing themselves in London. But then came 1996 and Atlanta. And correct me if I'm wrong, I seem to remember being the beginning, and almost the beginning of the end of, the sort of amateur nature of the Olympics. The commercialization of Atlanta sickened a lot of people. And the legacy of that continues today.

PAYNE: It was no -- absolutely correct. Atlanta faced a number of problems from the commercialization that was less to do with the Olympics and frankly more to do with the agenda of the city and the mayor at the time who had a very short-term focus and effectively destroyed the image of the city by letting a completely out of control commercial agenda on the streets.

The technology also failed. There were problems with the security. And in the other sense, it was a wake-up call to the IOC to say, no, there are certain things that we have to take full control on, be a much tougher franchiser, and tighten up some of the guidelines in order to protect what it was that makes the Olympics special. And the legacy of that you do see today.

ANDERSON: You and I are struggling with a helicopter which is hovering over the Olympic stadium, or rightly so because a lot of deeds and athletics going on in there tonight.

Michael, lastly and very briefly, London's legacy you're convinced by are you?

PAYNE: I think it's one of if not the greatest games ever. And you're already seeing a tremendous impact in engaging kids around the world in sport. The stories of parents phoning of their daughters taking down their posters of their pop idols and replacing them with athletes, that's what Seb Coe promised the world. And London is delivering.

ANDERSON: A pleasure to have you. Thank you very much indeed.

Well, Olympic athletes have long inspired admiration, but the London games have introduced us to another set of heroes, that being the volunteers. Now 70,000 strong army of volunteers has been crucial to the smooth running of this event. So we salute them this evening with this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I please ask spectators stand on the right- hand side, please. The right-hand side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The volunteers have actually be rather fantastic. They've been here since day one, maybe before that for training as well. But they've been really, really good. (inaudible).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole spirit of the Olympics has been fantastic. And I think that that's fulfillment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What made you decide to volunteer, to give up your time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Greek. And I believe of the Olympic spirit.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've always wanted to go and spectate, never had the opportunity, so thought this was the ideal opportunity to be involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've been pretty good. And they've been very informative. Obviously, I'm from London, but you can't know what's going on 100 percent of the time, because things change, you know, and they've been helpful.

GIRL: They've been nice, friendly to even kids in showing us and like where the (inaudible) and stuff like that.

GIRL: Yeah, so they were like -- they were always like smiling and stuff.

GIRL: They were helpful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think. Could you be an Olympics volunteer one day?

GIRL: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to give them a thumbs up?

GIRL: Yeah. Definitely.



ANDERSON: Well, those volunteers and the fans in the stadium behind me have just started a huge roar. The 4x400 men's relay has just begun. I'm going to bring Linford back to discuss the outcome of that in around a minute and a half time. We're going to take a very short back first.

When we come back, we'll also meet the first even Olympic athletes from a country that's barely a year old. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from London here at Olympic Park. I'm Becky Anderson. We are just watching the result of what has been quite the most remarkable men's 4x400 meter relay. Just finished up. Let me give you the result. The U.S. coming second in silver for a silver medal. The Bahamas, Linford, in first.

CHRISTIE: Exactly. That was amazing, wasn't it.

ANDERSON: The Caribbean islands do all right, huh?

CHRISTIE: It's the food and the water.

ANDERSON: It's the food and the water.

CHRISTIE: The coconut water.

ANDERSON: I've got to say I wasn't -- I wasn't tapping those guys to win this, were you?

CHRISTIE: No, not at all. I thought the American were going to win it. And I say that to you earlier on. I thought the American would walk it. But again that's the beauty of our sport, nothing is a foregone conclusion. And no one has the right to that medal unless they earn it.

ANDERSON: And I love the idea that that lot of boys from the Bahamas, there's a team spirit there that you and I can only sort of wish for, I guess.

CHRISTIE: Definitely.

ANDERSON: We're a good team.

CHRISTIE: We would have won the gold, don't worry about it.

ANDERSON: But it's nice to see.

CHRISTIE: It is nice.

You know, Britain came a, you know, close four. But you know it's all about camaraderie and team spirit. You've got to practice and sort of practice makes perfect. And sometimes, you know, teams they always, someone wants to be the star of the team and everything else. And the team that does well is the team the gels together. And it's not about being the fastest there or whatever. And it's just about gelling and you know coming in to your teammates and get together for that good performance.

ANDERSON: We're going to get you some shots of -- of that win, because these guys are absolutely delighted with themselves. And let me tell you, the Dutch just winning the women's hockey final. So there are some medals on the table tonight that some of us perhaps weren't expecting. There's some golds out there for some of the lesser decorated teams, and good for them for that.

Well, dozens of elite runners will be competing in the Olympic marathon on Sunday. One man stands our amongst them. Guor Mariol will be carrying the hope of the world's youngest nation on his shoulders.


ANDERSON: For many, the marathon is the most grueling of Olympic events, but Sunday's race will be nothing compared to what Guor Marial has endured so far in his young life. Guor was born in what is now South Sudan, the world's newest country after it became an independent state in July 2011 ending decades of civil war.

South Sudan doesn't yet have an Olympic committee. The games haven't exactly been the country's top priority. But the IOC granted him permission to run an as independent.

I know that you sadly lost a lot of friends and family on the way, didn't you?

GUOR MARIAL, OLYMPIC RUNNER: Yes, I did. It's not just some of my family, but my concern about the 2 million -- 2 million people who died for freedom, that's -- it's for to me I feel like that's my family right there.

ANDERSON: Guor lives in the United States where he fled to escape the bloody conflict. He hasn't seen his parents since 1993. But running on Sunday means they may get a chance to catch a glimpse of him after so many years.

MARIAL: I talked with them the day before I took the plane to London. Like 40 people, they were on the phone. They were kind of fighting on the phone. The other one would down, one would take the phone try to talk to me. So it was very exciting to be able to hear my dad, especially my dad. It's a big influence to me.

ANDERSON: Even though he won't compete under his country's flag, Guor Marial basks with pride as the first athlete from the world's youngest nation.


CHRISTIE: What's the world record...

ANDERSON: Don't know.

Still to come on Connect the World as London 2012 draws to a close. We're going to take a look at where the games are heading next.

FOSTER: And a key front in the Syrian civil war as the battle for the embattled city of Aleppo heats up. Hundreds of terrified residents try to get out of harm's way.


ANDERSON: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson with a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD here at Olympic Park.

FOSTER: I'm Max Foster at CNN London. A round-up of the top stories we're following this hour.

Fighting for control of Syria's largest city is getting fiercer, with the battle for Aleppo moving to new neighborhoods. The Syrian army has brought in fighter jets and it's increasing the use of attack helicopters. But despite a tactical withdraw from Salaheddine, one of the key neighborhoods, rebel commanders say they control more than half of the city.

Meanwhile, terrified residents trying to escape the violence are streaming across the borders.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In one 24-hour period, the Turkish authorities registered more than 1700 refugees crossing the border and described, also, some 1500 more who stayed on the Syrian side awaiting processing coming into Turkey.


FOSTER: Well, the United Nations says almost 150,000 Syrians are now living as refugees.

Despite the brutal crackdown that has gone on for 17 months, now, the protest movement is still very much alive. Demonstrators took to the streets again today, this time asking for aid in the form of anti-aircraft defenses.

Whilst the rebels haven't received weapons from the US, Washington announced new sanctions on Syria today, and Britain is boosting its financial aid to the opposition.


WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: So, now, in the absence of diplomatic progress, the United Kingdom will do much more. We will expand our support to the Syrian people and the Syrian political opposition with an extra 5 million pounds in non-lethal, practical assistance.

This will help protect unarmed opposition groups, human rights activists, and civilians from some of the worst of the violence.


FOSTER: Egypt is continuing to crack down on militant attacks in the north Sinai region. Armored personnel carriers and troops rolled into the region after masked gunmen fired on a police station.

Meanwhile, Egypt partially reopened the Rafah border crossing today to allow Palestinians to return to the Gaza strip. But it's only open in one direction. The crossing was closed earlier this week after militants killed 16 Egyptian soldiers.

A high-profile Chinese murder saga has taken a stunning new turn. China's official news agency reports that the wife of a disgraced politician has admitted to poisoning a British businessman in a hotel room in Chongqing last November.

According to Xinhua, Gu Kailai blames her actions on a total breakdown. Gu and an assistant are accused of murdering Neil Hayward. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

British soccer team Manchester United began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. But it was a less-than-exciting debut. After pitching the offering to investors at $18 -- or rather, $16 to $20, the team priced shares at $14 on Thursday night. The IPO raised $233 million. Shares were up slightly in afternoon trading, but closed at the exact same price that they launched.

Turning to the US presidential campaign now, and it looks like a barrage of negative ads by Democrats is working. A new CNN poll finds President Barack Obama leading Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 7 points, 52 to 45 percent.

Now, if you break it down by race, Romney leads among white voters 55 to 41 percent. But that's nothing compared to Mr. Obama's lead amongst non-white voters, 81 to 16 percent, and that's a 65-point gap.

And here's what makes that so important. Hispanics and non-whites now make up more than one-third of the total US population, and that's what we want to look at right now. Could that sort of lead, especially amongst Hispanic voters, at least, make the difference come election day?

I'm joined by Juan Carlos Lopez from CNN Center, our sister network, CNN Espanol. Thank you so much for joining us. Actually the number of registered Hispanic voters is quite small, but actually, they play a key role in certain states, don't they?

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN ESPANOL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's over 50 million Hispanics or Latinos in the US, over 16, 17 percent of the population. Now, there's only about 10 million of them registered to vote, and the goal is to get 10 million to vote in this election.

But we have to understand that the US system is based on an electoral college, so it's not whoever gains most votes, and we can go back to 2000 and the election between President Bush and Al Gore, and the popular vote is very different from the electoral college.

Now, Latinos could be a key, decisive factor in states like Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and that's where the campaigns are going to go after them, that's where they've been running ads, that's where they're going to look for the vote.

But Democrats have a wide majority amongst Latinos, and that was helped this year by President Obama and hid decision to defer deportation for undocumented students.

FOSTER: What's the main debate, here? Immigration?

LOPEZ: Immigration is more a catalyst toward people deciding to vote. Now, you have to take in mind that Latino voters are not different from any other American voters. They care about the economy, they care about unemployment, about security.

But the debate on immigration, the tone of the debate on immigration. Many feel that it's a debate against Hispanics, that it's not only a debate against those who are here illegally. So, that has helped the Democrats gain Democratic support.

They've been with the Democrats for a long time. President Bush was able to erode that support, and he was able to get important support from Hispanics. But after he left office, Republicans didn't go after that vote. Actually, from this strategy, you could think that they went -- that they decided to give up on the vote, because their strategy hasn't been to bring them into the party.

So, this recent measure, which allows those who arrived here before a certain date to defer their deportation for to years and obtain a work permit, even though it's not a legalization, it is a sign that the government -- that the administration is doing something, at least, in the case of immigration and immigration reform

And it's more than the Republicans have done, and that's helped the president at probably will help him. We'll see what happens from her to November. But the figures are 69 percent for the president, 23 percent for Mr. Romney.

FOSTER: OK, Juan Carlos Lopez, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from CNN Center. Plenty more --

LOPEZ: My pleasure.

FOSTER: -- still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD. Becky's at the Olympic Park, though. Becky?

ANDERSON: Thank you very much, indeed, sir. Coming up after the break, get your dancing shoes ready, because after London we are all heading down the road to Rio.



JACQUES ROGGE, IOC PRESIDENT: I have the honor to announce the Games of the 31st Olympiad are awarded to the city of --


ROGGE: Rio de Janeiro!



ANDERSON: Well, it was a painful moment, wasn't it? But it was the moment nonetheless three years ago that the world learned the next Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 2016. The Samba capital of the world is going to be transformed into an Olympic arena.

The climate's sure to be better, but what else should we expect? Well, CNN's Phil Han kicking us off with a preview this evening.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITIAL PRODUCER (voice-over): As London prepares to say good-bye to the world, all eyes will now shift to Rio de Janeiro.


HAN: In four years' time, the Brazilian city will be the first in South America to ever host the Olympics. Since the bid was awarded in 2009, work has already begun to make the city ready for the Games. The venues will be located in four clusters around the historic city, all connected by a series of high-speed rail links and those infamous Olympic lanes.

Much of the action will be centered in Barra, where the Olympic Park will be. More than half of the events will be staged in Barra, where construction on venues began in June. The Athletes Village will also be here, complete with its very own private beach just for competitors.

The historic Maracana Stadium will be home to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as while as Brazil's favorite pastime, football. Sambadrome, which is home to Rio's Carnival, will be transformed to host the marathon and archery events.

The Copacabana district will be sure to be one of Rio's most popular landmarks. What better place for beach volleyball than this world-famous stretch of sand. Sugarloaf Mountain will also be the backdrop for the sailing events.

Tens of billions of dollars are being poured into the city to make it ready for 2016, but Rio needs to get some things done even earlier. Brazil is hosting the World Cup in 2014. Now that's what I call a dress rehearsal.

Phil Han, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, can the sun, sand, and sea really trump London? Despite all the pessimism before these Games, most Brits would agree that the city has put on a jolly good show and London 2012 will be a hard act to follow.

I spoke to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, earlier today to find out how preparations are going there and what Brazil can learn from London's Games. This is what he told me.


EDUARDO PAES, MAYOR, RIO DE JANEIRO: London's in a different stage than Rio. The infrastructure of London is completely different. You're much more developed than we are. But the operation of London, the logistics, the way you did it, it's a great example for us, and we're looking a lot to that.

ANDERSON: Well, give me a couple of examples, concrete examples, of what you've been impressed by here.

PAES: Mobility. It's amazing how many people can get out of this Olympic Park at the same time and without any problems, so this is something that we are looking. Traffic. In spite of the fact that this is a very old city with very tight streets, people are going around.

ANDERSON: There were three or four issues that became priorities as London prepared for these Games. One of them was adequate housing and hotel rooms. The other two, effectively, were transport and security.

Let's start with security, because Rio in the past was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. I know things have moved on significantly since then. But what are you doing to ensure visitors peace of mind?

PAES: Brazil in its history, even the worst violent moments of Rio, we deliver big events with no problem. But the problem for us is not only doing events. We have to do that before by ourselves, and we have to keep peace after the Games for ourselves, again.

So, this is a progress -- a problem that's running so well, the specification of communities, less violence in the city. So, I'm sure that we will have a very safe city by the Games. But again, for us, it's more important to have a safe city before the Games for the Cariocas, for the people that live in Rio.

ANDERSON: What do you say to your critics who say that includes the forcible removal of people from their homes, for example?

PAES: Once in a while, you have disappropriation. And that does not mean that you're only disappropriating poor people. You're also disappropriating big houses. And this will work for the poor people. So again, the Rio Olympics has lots to do of what it can deliver for the city.

I heard advice from the former mayor of Barcelona right after we won the bid. He said to me, "Eduardo, you -- there are two kinds of Olympic Games, the one that uses the city, and the city that uses the Olympics." So, we're going to use the Olympics to improve ourselves.


ANDERSON: Fascinating. The mayor of Rio. 2016 the next big Olympic event. This is, though, still on. You've got a day and a half to go. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. When we come back, Team USA's army of women triumphed again last night. I meet the golden girls of US soccer and introduce them to you.


ANDERSON: Enjoy it. There's only another day and a half to go of the London Olympics 2012. Already we are talking about the legacy that it is bound to leave. In particular, it's been the most feminine Games in history, I'd like to say.

It's the first Olympics where women have competed in boxing. We saw the first Olympic gold in that event handed to British flyweight champion Nicola Adams yesterday.

Also for the first time, every participating country had a woman on the team, Saudi Arabia making history in that respect. 800 meter runner may have finished last in her heat, but she received a standing ovation from the crowd.

And for the first time in the historic Olympic event -- got lost in the middle of that, didn't I? So excited. Team USA includes more women then men. Last night, their football -- or should I say soccer -- team beat Japan to take gold. I found out how that felt for two of the women who were on the winning team. Have a listen to this.


HEATHER O'REILLY, US OLYMPIC SOCCER PLAYER: It's unbelievable. I think that's something that we're very proud of, that in a small way, we have made an impact on this game that hopefully will last forever. And to see 80,000 there in Wembley, first of all, gave us goosebumps. But second of all, I think said a lot about where soccer has come.

ANDERSON: Megan, what was the best moment for you?

MEGAN RAPINOE, US OLYMPIC SOCCER PLAYER: I think -- I guess going off the whole crowd. Obviously, everyone's celebrating after the game, but we go back into the changing rooms, have to change, get our medal ceremony, and we come back out and not a soul has left.

I think people weren't just casual spectators, like, "Oh, I got this ticket for the Olympics." They were highly sought-after and every single person, it seemed like, stayed until the very end. That was unbelievable to have that kind of support.

ANDERSON: Can I take you back to the semifinal? That semifinal was quite something, right? 120 minutes plus plus. The Canadians pretty distraught about a couple of the decisions that were made through that match. On hindsight, on reflection, just describe your emotions.

O'REILLY: That was one of the wildest soccer games I have ever seen.

RAPINOE: Completely wild.

O'REILLY: And to be part of that was unbelievable. Megan Rapinoe, she had probably the game of your life. Scored the game -- the goal of her life.

ANDERSON: This is the reason I was asking you about the semifinal, of course, gives you an opportunity to describe your own emotions. Go on.

RAPINOE: Yes, it probably was one of the best games I ever played, especially on a stage like that. Being at Old Trafford, obviously, it's a knock-out round against our bitter rivals, which I think that rivalry has become even more heated now. It was just unbelievable.

ANDERSON: Did you guys get a call from Obama?

RAPINOE: We got a message from him.

O'REILLY: Yes. I don't know if --

ANDERSON: What did he say?

O'REILLY: -- it was via e-mail. Just that they were watching and cheering and very, very proud of us.

ANDERSON: How did that feel?

O'REILLY: It's pretty cool.

RAPINOE: I mean, I was hoping for a call on his personal cell, but --

O'REILLY: I know. He had my number.

RAPINOE: -- public connection.

O'REILLY: He has my number.

RAPINOE: Get her.

ANDERSON: I'll ask him next time.

O'REILLY: He's got our number, so the connection must've just been bad or something.

RAPINOE: He must've been busy, I don't know.



ANDERSON: Cue Obama: they need a message. Well, there have undoubtedly been some standout moments over the past two weeks. Linford's with me again. What's stood out for you, mate.

LINFORD CHRISTIE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, everyone will say Bolt. But David Rudisha, 800 meters --


CHRISTIE: -- the way he ran it, the world record. In any other arena, he would've been the highlight, but he got overshadowed by Bolt. So, I'm going to name -- I'm going to say the 800 meter men.

ANDERSON: All right. Good for you. Yes, David up there. And it's got to be said, Usain Bolt. We're all going to choose him as well, aren't we?

CHRISTIE: Definitely.

ANDERSON: Living legend as he leaves London.

CHRISTIE: Well, exactly. And he's telling us he's a living legend, and I think we're beginning to believe it.


ANDERSON: I think mine probably -- Nicola Smith (sic). Just the very fact that women are boxing in the -- Nicola Adams, of course, in the boxing, getting the first bronze -- getting the first gold, of course, for Team GB. And it's got to be Phelps, as well.

CHRISTIE: Well, Phelps, he was tremendous, but you know, I -- dare I even say it? I think the water buoyancy and everything else helps him. I think you're going in with the athletes, it's just your spikes and you.


ANDERSON: Buoyancy helps you. He doesn't buy the swimmers at all. The history books are being rewritten here in London. Countless records have been broken, and the top of that list is, of course, Michael Phelps with his buoyancy aids.

The American swimmer won a record 19th Olympic medal, the most ever won by an Olympian. By the end of the Games, he'd added that, finishing with 22 career medals.

Bradley Wiggins became the first cyclist to win the Tour de France and an Olympic medal in the same year, and Canadian equestrian Ian Miller rode into the history books by Competing in his tenth Games, the most of any athlete.

Not sure the pictures kept up with me there, but you forgive us, I'm sure. It's been a long couple of weeks.

We've been asking you what sports you would like to see in future Olympics, and we've had an overwhelming response. In tonight's Parting Shots, we've picked out a few of our favorites.

One of our Facebook friends, Jong Nyet nominated a few, including squash. We quite liked his idea of rollerblading. Another interesting suggestion came from John Anzulis (ph). He's nominated my dog's favorite game, Frisbee.

Sean Koger (ph) from sunny California looking to catch some Olympic waves. He thinks surfing is an absolute must in the future. I've got to say, I think that may be in going forward.

And here's an event that the younger generation will absolutely dominate in due to their texting skills: thumb wrestling. That suggestion was made by Alexander Quint from Germany. What do you think of that, Linford?

CHRISTE: Well, I think laughing. I think there should be -- laughter should be --


CHRISTIE: -- an Olympic sport. And I tell you what. If they did, you'd be a gold medalist.


CHRISTIE: If you don't believe me, take a look at this.




HELEN GLOVER, OLYMPIC ROWING GOLD MEDALIST: She was singing the national anthem.








CHRISTIE: I thought we failed to understand.


CHRISTIE: I hope they're joining in.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson.




ANDERSON: Gold medal.


ANDERSON: They schnooked me on that one! I'm Becky Anderson. That was Linford Christie and that was two and a half weeks of CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. Before we go, it's been an absolute pleasure having you on the show.

CHRISTIE: Oh, thank you.

ANDERSON: When are we going to see you with your spikes on again?



ANDERSON: Rio. And about that, we hope you'll be with us in Rio 2016. Are you looking forward to that? This has been fantastic.

CHRISTIE: It's been great. I'm not going to leave you, Beck. I'm going to stick around.

ANDERSON: He's going to stick around. He's not going anywhere. Max Foster's not going anywhere either. He has got the world news headlines. From the team here in London at the Olympic Park, it is a very good evening. I hope you enjoyed this coverage.

We'll get on the weekend coverage. If you're with CNN, you'll see us for the Closing Ceremony from here on Sunday. If not, have a very good weekend yourselves. The headlines after this.