LONDON — Paula Radcliffe’s hopes of finally winning an Olympic medal are over.
A foot injury forced one of the greatest female distance runners to withdraw from the London Games on Sunday. It was the latest – and possibly most frustrating – setback in a long list of Olympic disappointments.
The 38-year-old Briton holds the marathon world record but has failed to win a medal in four previous games. In London, she won’t even make it to the starting line. A lingering left foot injury flared up during training the past month.
“I have been through the mill emotionally and physically the past three weeks, cried more tears than ever, vented more frustration and at the same time calmly tried every direction and avenue available to heal myself,” Radcliffe said in a statement. “As desperate as I was to be part of the amazing experience of the London Olympics, I don’t want to be there below my best.”
RATINGS UP: Preliminary estimates show that Saturday night’s NBC telecast scored the highest ratings for the first evening of an Olympics competition outside of the United States.
The Nielsen company said Sunday that its measurement of the nation’s largest cities showed ratings for the Olympics telecast were up 8 percent over opening night in Beijing four years ago. A fuller measurement of viewership is expected later on Sunday.
NBC was the target of many Twitter complaints on Saturday for not telecasting the marquee men’s swimming competition live, instead showing it on tape delay in prime-time. But prime-time ratings are the report card that the company cares about the most and, thus far, viewers are responding to the strategy.
MYSTERY WOMAN: Indian officials are mystified – and miffed – after an unknown young woman managed to march with the country’s athletes and officials during the opening ceremony Friday night.
Games organizers on Sunday downplayed security concerns around the unscripted moment, saying the interloper was a ceremony cast member and had been screened before entering the Olympic Park.
Images showed a young woman in a red jacket marching alongside Indian flag bearer Sushil Kumar at the head of the delegation of 40 athletes in bright yellow and navy blue.
Indian officials said they had no idea who the woman was. Indian media identified her as Madhura Nagendra, a graduate student from the southern city of Bangalore who had been living in London.
Her father, K. Nagendra, was quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency as saying that his daughter had been chosen to dance in director Danny Boyle’s ceremony, and speculated that she might have been asked by organizers to escort India’s team into the stadium.
“This might have hurt our team’s feelings. I feel very sorry for that,” he was quoted as saying.
ATHLETE SENT HOME: A female gymnast of Uzbekistan was provisionally suspended after failing a drug test, the second doping case of the games.
The International Olympic Committee said Luiza Galiulina tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide in a pre-games urine control in London on Wednesday.
After attending a hearing on Saturday night, the 20-year-old athlete was suspended pending the testing of her backup “B sample Sunday afternoon. Galiulina had been due to compete in women’s qualifying on Sunday.
On Saturday, the IOC expelled Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku from the games after he tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol on July 23.
• St. Kitts & Nevis sprinter Tameka Williams has been sent home from the London Olympics by her team for a potential drug violation.
Williams had been using a substance which was “clearly outside the medical code,” St. Kitts Olympic committee vice president Dennis Knight told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Knight said Williams had not tested positive, but the team acted after consulting with the World Anti-Doping Agency “to find out about the product.”
“In discussions with our team management, she volunteered to them that she had been using a particular substance which, when we did our own investigations, we considered to be outside the accepted medical code,” Knight said.
Williams told team officials about using the substance – which the team has not disclosed – in a pre-Olympics training camp.
“It was a matter of the management of the team doing their due diligence,” Knight said.
The 22-year-old Williams had qualified for the 100 and 200 meters, and gave samples for anti-doping tests at national Olympic trials last month.
“It was not based on any positive drug test. She turned up a clean test,” Knight said.
Williams marched at the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday as the only woman in a seven-member team from the Caribbean islands, who are all track sprinters. The best known is five-time Olympian Kim Collins.
Knight said St. Kitts team officials sought expert advice in London before acting.
“We wanted to consult with the anti-doping fraternity,” he said. “We are a very tiny country with limited knowledge of these things.”
TICKET SCALPING: British police say eight people have been charged with attempts to illegally resell London Olympics tickets, including seats at Friday’s opening ceremony.
Scotland Yard said Sunday that, separately, two people had also been charged for attempts to sell two Olympic road lane passes, one person with an offense of theft and a second with an offense of handling stolen goods.
The passes allow vehicles to use lanes on London roads reserved for Olympic VIPs.
Eight people will appear at a London court on Monday. Two others will appear at later hearings.
Police also arrested three other people Sunday – two close to the beach volleyball arena and one close to the Olympic stadium – over alleged ticket scalping offenses.