American Gabby Douglas leads London Olympics debate by a hair

LONDON — If gymnast Olga Korbut were competing on the present-day world stage, no doubt there would be fierce debate on such pressing issues like hairstyle and makeup choices.

You can just imagine this on Twitter: Aren’t Korbut’s pigtails untidy?

Maybe the hashtags should be #frivilousitems and #lameconcerns.

It has gotten truly silly when it comes to the debate about champion teen gymnast Gabby Douglas and her hair.

Actually, it had gotten silly on Twitter and Facebook long before the start of the London Olympics.

Douglas, who made history by becoming the first African American woman to win the all-round event in gymnastics, seemed bemused that there was back-and-forth on the social media network about her hairstyle.

“I don’t know where this is coming from,” she said Sunday to the Associated Press. “What’s wrong with my hair? I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about [my] hair.

“Nothing is going to change. I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.”

—Lisa Dillman

U.S. athlete tests positive for marijuana

American judoka Nicholas Delpopolo, who placed seventh in the men’s 73-kilogram competition at the Olympics, has been thrown out of the London Games after testing positive for marijuana.

Delpopolo, of Westfield, N.J., issued a statement of apology, saying that the test was caused by a “mistake.”

“My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana, before I left for the Olympic Games. I apologize to the U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake.

“I look forward to representing my country in the future and will re-dedicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be.”

The International Olympic Committee announced his disqualification on Monday afternoon and said that the positive drug test came after his competition July 30.

Said USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky: “Nick Delpopolo has failed an in-competition drug test [THC, marijuana] and as a result, he has been disqualified from the Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee. The United States Olympic Committee is absolutely committed to clean competition and stringent anti-doping penalties.

“Any positive test, for any banned substance, comes with the appropriate consequences and we absolutely support the disqualification. We look forward to witnessing the continued success of our athletes and commend their dedication to clean sport.”

Delpopolo is the first U.S. athlete to test positive for a banned substance during the London Olympics.

—Lisa Dillman

Small contribution

They’re not very big, but they certainly are amusing.

In events such as the hammer throw and discus, track and field staff has taken to ferrying the implements back to the throwers by way of remote-controlled cars.

At these Olympics, they are using miniature versions of Mini hatchbacks, built to 1/4 scale. According to BMW, each car can carry about 17 pounds, the equivalent of one hammer, one discus or two javelins.

There are three cars working in four-hour shifts, each traveling about 6,000 meters per day. They zip around the infield in circles and dashes.

“The Mini team was thrilled to be given this challenge to develop a vehicle with such an important and high-profile role,” a BMW executive said.

Well, at 1/4 scale, high profile might be stretching it.

—David Wharton

Heavy metal

It has been an alarming Olympic Games for Kate Walsh, captain of Britain’s women’s field hockey team.

The three-time Olympian took a stick to the head in last week’s opener with Japan, which forced doctors to put a titanium plate in her face to stabilize a broken jaw.

She has returned to the field wearing a protective brace.

But getting through security checkpoints at the Olympic Games has proved more difficult —- the plate sets off metal detectors.

Freak injuries are nothing new to Walsh, 32.

She once sat out the first few games of an international qualifying tournament after taking a deflected ball off her throat.

Another time, she was hit across a kneecap in a game with the Netherlands, causing her to sit out two games.

—Kevin Baxter

On second thought

For middle-distance star Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria, it was far from an ordinary day and night at the Olympics.

He was expelled from the Olympics for not providing a “bona fide effort” in his preliminary heat of the 800 meters, having quit in the early going.

That was in the morning.

Many hours later, the IAAF had re-instated him.

“After reviewing evidence provided by the LOCOG [London 2012 organizers] medical officer, the disqualification from further participation in the athletics competition of the 2012 Olympic Games has been revoked,” the track federation said in a statement.

Thus, he will be able to compete Tuesday in the final of the 1,500 meters, running in an event in which he has a shot at a medal.

—Lisa Dillman