Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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Took the train north for a little more than two hours today from London. I'm at Old Trafford now home of Manchester United, and the US and Canada women's soccer teams are warming up for the semifinals of the Olympic tournament.
Now that I've been to Wimbledon and Old Trafford, I want to see two more UK institutions: Wembley Stadium (I hope to get to a match there later this week) and St. Andrew's (can't see the newspaper sending me there for the British Open, even though my peers say it's one of the great things they've ever covered.)
It's cold here. Or at least it feels cold after a warm couple of weeks in London. Right now there's a disappointing crowd here.
Gotta tell you, I loved the train trip. No security lines, just buy a ticket, get on, spread out, pop off. Beats the heck out of flying.
Manchester itself is a pretty cool town as well. And the scenery on the way here was, as they say, brilliant.
I get why some Americans become Anglophiles.
I'll have advances on the women's volleyball and women's basketball quarter-finals in tomorrow's paper, along with a column on the women's soccer semifinal.
I'll be covering Lochte-Phelps later, but right now I'm at the Olympic Park basketball arena watching the new Russian Wolves, Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved. It's halftime, Russia leads Brazil, 40-32. Kirilenko has 12, Shved 9.
Shved doesn't have a lot of rotation on his outside shot, but he's hit a very long three, and he has a great feel for when to drive and how to run an offense. Kirilenko continues to dominate.
We're somewhere near the midpoint of the Olympics. My highlights so far, in no particular order:
What a great city. Now, I've had better meals at my local McDonald's, but if I had the time, I'm sure I could find some good Greek and Indian cooking, and I still hope to at some point. My sister lived here, and said that if you go into the pubs, keep it simple, and if you want a good meal, go to an ethnic restaurant run by people of that ethnicity. Rachel Blount found a great meal at a Greek place by our hotel, and that's on my wish list.
Otherwise, it's a sprawling, diverse, beautiful, atmospheric city. And unlike New York city, even though there are throngs of people everywhere, it never feels overcrowded to me. I'd vacation here.
-Strawberries and cream
Or, as they say here, ``strawbries n cream.''
I was prepared to be disappointed, but the strawberries and cream at Wimbledon are excellent. But I couldn't bring myself to try the ``bangers.''
As I wrote the other day, it's a beautiful place that reminds me of Augusta National and Fenway Park, in terms of historic sporting events bleeding every shade of green.
Every Olympics brings its own transportation nightmares, but, going just by my personal experience, we have great choices here. You can take your time with a bus ride that could turn into a free, wonderful, guided tour of London, or you can jump on the Javelin (the high-speed train) or tube, and get where you're going very quickly.
In part because of all of the Minnesota connections, and in part because the United States teams tend to play very late at night, so I can catch them after covering other events, I've spent a lot of time at basketball.
I'ts been great stuff. The Russian Wolves are playing extremely well and are very personable. Kevin Love has emerged as a key player. And the three Lynx, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore, have been a treat, both for the way they play and because of the class with which they conduct themselves.
-Lindsey Berg, USA volleyball captain and former Gopher
Selfishly, she's exactly what writers hope for at the Olympics - a key player who is eager to promote her team and her sport.
Now I'm looking forward to track, and watching the US women's soccer team, assuming they make it to the semifinals.
Watching Usain Bolt in Beijing was one of the highlights of my career. As I write about for the Friday paper, he could reenact his dominance, or his recent problems could turn Yohan Blake or Tyson Gay into the new champion.
I'm checking in periodically with 1500espn from London. My next appearance will be at 2 p.m. with Reusse and Mackey, and I'll try to call in for part of Sunday Sports Talk, sometime between 10 and noon this Sunday.
Please follow on Twitter at @Souhanstrib
Check one off the sportswriting bucket list. I'm at Wimbledon to watch a stunning succession of matches today, starting with Venus Williams vs. Aleksandra Wozniak.
Great Britain's Andy Murray will face Jarkko Nieminen after that, followed by the match of the day: America's Andy Roddick vs. Novak Djokovic.
The final match on storied Centre Court today will be Maria Sharapova vs. Great Britain's Laura Robson.
I'm spending the day here, and if I get back to Olympic Park in time, I may try to catch Kevin Love and the US against Tunisia. Just in case Kevin has something to say afterward.
Wimbledon is beautiful. I'll share my thoughts on the joint in my Wednesday column.
Please follow me on Twitter for Olympic updates at @Souhanstrib.
Covering the Olympics can be a logistical challenge. You can take the wrong bus and cost yourself half a day. You can get lost. You can miss the last bus departing from a venue late at night and find yourself wandering strange streets, looking for a cab.
Usually, though, the buses run on time, and you figure it all out, and sometimes you're rewarded with, as the British would put it, a ``brilliant'' experience.''
In Turin, that was a bus ride up the switchbacks in the Alps, when the end of your bus hung over a precipice and the driver thought nothing of turning 180 degrees with a swing of the wheel.
In Vancouver, that was the bus ride up to Whistler, with the bay glistening on your left and the mountains rising like CGI creations on your right.
In London, I had seen Tower Bridge and the Tower of London and the Thames, but hadn't made it to Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park or Harrods.
Then I got on a bus Monday morning on a beautiful London day, found myself alone, and got a tour of all of the above from the driver. He even stopped so we could take a picture of the Buckingham Palace Guards marching band.
London is a spectacular city. Every Olympics has its controversies and logistical problems. Here, they'e outraged over all the empty corporate seats, and they should be - plenty of Londoners would kill for tickets others aren't using.
But I love being in a city of this size and beauty.
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