Perfect start for Team GB in soccer
Published 25/07/2012 | 17:22
Team GB got off to a perfect start with a 1-0 win for the women's football team against New Zealand as the first sporting action of the Olympics got under way.
A second-half goal by 24-year-old Stephanie Houghton clinched victory for Great Britain in Cardiff and put them on track for a place in the last eight of the 12-team contest.
But elsewhere there was controversy as North Korea protested ahead of their women's football match after the South Korean flag was shown by mistake on the big screen.
As a consequence, the North Koreans refused to play the match against Columbia at Hampden Park in Scotland at the scheduled 7.45pm start time. Their team walked off the pitch but were persuaded to return about an hour later when the sides were announced again with each player's face displayed next to the North Korean flag.
A statement from Games organisers Locog said: "Today, ahead of the women's football match at Hampden Park, the South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the North Korean flag. Clearly this is a mistake. We will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again."
South Korea and North Korea exist as neighbours but have a far from harmonious relationship. The countries were formally established as separate entities in 1948, and the Korean War began in 1950. Only two years ago, North Korean artillery shells killed four people, two from the military and two civilians, on Yeonpyeong Island in South Korea.
The blunder came after a 24-hour strike which threatened to create chaos on the eve of the Games was called off by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union. The development soothed fears that athletes and spectators arriving ahead of Friday's opening ceremony would be caught up in long delays at Heathrow Airport.
As the strike was called off, problems in the air struck elsewhere as dozens of passengers were left suspended 300ft above the River Thames when a new cable car system linking two Olympic venues broke down.
More than 30 cars, carrying around 60 people, came to a halt due to a technical problem with the Emirates Air Line at 11.45am. The £45 million system, opened last month, links the O2 Arena in Greenwich - where the Olympic basketball and gymnastics are taking place - with the ExCel exhibition centre in London Docklands, which is hosting boxing and a number of other events. One passenger, Alastair Owens, described "dangling mid-air over the docks", but all passengers were safely back in the terminal around half an hour later.
Some 30 miles of controversial Games Lanes were also used for the first time across the capital, creating rush-hour jams on a number of roads including the A4 and A40 in west London, Hyde Park Corner and Euston Road. But Locog insisted London's transport links were "working well".