Pool camera providing some breathtaking shots at the London Olympics (Pictures)

For those of you who like amazing photographs, the L2012 Pool Camera is a must-follow on Twitter. Throughout the early part of the games, the account has been used to post some amazing shots from underneath the water at the London Aquatics Center. The camera uses unique technology to bring us angles viewers of past Olympic Games would have never dreamed of. The end result has been some amazing moments captured from beneath the surface of the water. Here are some examples:

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US Senator Marco Rubio proposes bill to eliminate taxes on Olympic medal winners

Many people are unaware of it, but Olympic medal winners actually receive prize money in addition to their all-important piece of hardware. Winning a gold medal at the Olympics likely means you are going to cash in on endorsements at some point in the near future, but it also means taking home a cash prize of $25,000. Silver medal winners take home $15,000 and the prize is $10,000 for bronze. Well, we shouldn’t say “take home.” After all, this is the United States.

US Olympic medal winners have to pay taxes like the rest of us. According to the Weekly Standard, the tax bill after winning a gold is $8,986, silver is $5,385 and bronze is $3,500. US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposed a bill on Wednesday called The Olympic Tax Elimination Act that aims to change that.

“Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness,” said Rubio.  “Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn’t have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home.

“We need a fundamental overhaul of our tax code, but we shouldn’t wait any time we have a chance to aggressively fix ridiculous tax laws like this tax on Olympians’ medals and prize money. We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it.”

If the bill is passed, US athletes who win medals after December 31, 2011 would not be taxed. While young stars like Missy Franklin who have tremendous personalities and are only 17 years old are going to make plenty of money during their Olympic careers, a tax on a medal won in London does feel like stealing money. It’s bad enough that the IOC makes rules like these telling athletes how they can market themselves during the Games.

H/T Fourth Place Medal
Photo Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. swimmer Lauren Perdue says she turned down LeBron James’ dinner request because she had a curfew

Before we get into this, let us just remind everyone that it is possible to be friendly and invite someone to dinner without having an ulterior motive. As we know, LeBron James is an engaged man. Last week before the Olympics began, LeBron met US swimmer Lauren Perdue, as the photo evidence above from Perdue’s Twitter account proves. As it turns out, LeBron asked the 21-year-old swimmer if she would like to join him for dinner. She had to decline.

“The basketball players were nice enough to kind of come out and meet the swimmers and take pictures,” Perdue explained to the Charlotte Observer. “(LeBron) was kind of joking but he was basically like, ‘Would you like to come eat with me at the dining hall?’ And I said, ‘Um, I’m sorry, I have a curfew. So I turned that one down, yeah.”

Poor LeBron. Kobe can’t seem to stay out of trouble in London and King James can’t get into it even when he tries. Perdue also mentioned that LeBron was “gracious” and that he didn’t have any intentions outside of having dinner at the dining hall. Considering the dining hall isn’t even an acceptable place to take a date on a college campus let alone in the Olympic Village, LeBron’s soon-to-be wife likely has nothing to worry about.

H/T Fourth Place Medal

Mayor of London Boris Johnson gets stuck on zip line in Victoria Park (Picture)

As part of the Olympic festivities on Wednesday, the mayor of London was strapped in and sent down a zip line while waving two small British flags. Boris Johnson appeared to be having fun for a while, but then he hit a snag. No, seriously.

As you can see from the photo above, it was all smooth sailing for Johnson until something happened and he got. ITV.com was able to capture video of the hilarious turn of events, which can be seen here. Workers who were on the ground had to pull the dangling Johnson the rest of the way, but to his credit it sounds like the mayor took it in stride.

Boris Johnson was heard shouting “Get me a rope, get me a ladder” after he was the first person to use the zip wire. He continued “I think the brakes got stuck.”

It takes a real leader to step up and be the first one to ride the zip line, so anyone who was planning to ride it after Johnson can now thank him for working out the kinks. I think it’s safe to say the mayor of London now knows how the US basketball team and the Czech Republic should have felt during the Opening Ceremony — embarrassed.

Tunisia head coach slaps one of his players before game against Team USA

By the time the whistle blew to signal the end of the third quarter on Tuesday, Tunisia knew they had lost to Team USA. At that point everyone — including the Tunisian players — just sat back and enjoyed the show. The odds may have been stacked against his team heading into the game, but Tunisia head coach Adel Tlatli wanted his players to keep their focus. Nothing says “keep your eye on the prize” like a firm smack across the face.

As you can see from the screenshot above that was taken from this video on Deadspin, Tlatli obviously felt as though he needed to make an example out of one of his players before tip-off. With the exception of Bob Knight, we’re not used to seeing things like this in the United States. On rare occasions we’ll see a coach slap a referee on the butt, but an open-hand smack across the face is a bit more rare. Tunisia kept the game close in the first half, so perhaps the message was well-received. Maybe he should have slapped another player before the second half began.

Kobe Bryant autographs shoe for opponent after US clobbers Tunisia (Video)

Only the most delusional fan would have genuinely believed Tunisia had a chance to beat Team USA on Tuesday. In fact, I highly doubt even Tunisia thought Tunisia was going to win. After getting off to a relatively slow start, the US took a 46-33 lead into the half. Considering they were more than a 50-point favorite heading into the game, it was not the start fans were expecting. Team USA turned it on in the second half, however, and wound up winning 110-63.

It was an impressive performance from the Americans, and it looks like they even had their opponents in awe. During the handshake line after the game, Tunisia’s Mohamed Hdidane pulled Kobe Bryant aside and asked him to autograph his sneaker. As you can see from the video that Business Insider passed along, Kobe kindly fulfilled the request. Bryant actually was Team USA’s lowest scorer with only four points in nine minutes, but Hdidane must have been thinking about the Kobe who is arguably the best player in the world.

Fortunately for Kobe, it is highly unlikely that this autograph request will land him in hot water with his wife like the last one did.

Olympic spectator kisses reporter on the cheek on live television (Video)

Olympic competition is unlike any other in that it brings together millions of spectators and athletes from all over the globe, and that can lead to some strange happenings. Take the video you see above, for example. An Arabic reporter for Sky News was recently doing a live television segment from London when he was treated to a surprise from a woman on the street.

The random spectator ran up beside the reporter, said “thank you” in his ear and kissed him on the cheek. He tried to pull away from her (as most of us would) but she was just too resilient to avoid. We may have already seen a ticket disaster and some very unnecessary racism in London through the early stages of the Olympics, but at least the Games are bringing out the best in some people.

H/T Fourth Place Medal