tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 27, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
good evening. it's all under way here in london tonight. this massive global event kicking off in spectacular style as our viewers in the u.s. are about to see. what we can show you concerning what's already transpired, the interesting choice of the same front page photos by the newspapers here, part of the pyro technics show in the stadium tonight. we can show you this much. the broadcast features an unusual james bond moment and a first for the queen of england who let's just say makes a rather dramatic entrance. now, tomorrow in the light of day, londoners will wake up in full olympics mode. tonight an estimated 1 billion people will watch these games kick off. a spectacular global show followed by the parade of nations. nbc's chris jansing is in the olympic village tonight to start things off for us tonight.
chris, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, brian. the long wait is finally over. athletes from 240 nations are here to compete for 906 medals including more than 500 athletes from team usa. i just saw them walking into the stadium as i was coming over here. and out on the streets of london today the excitement was palatable. big ben rang in the big day in london. and from villages and cities, church towers and town halls, even as bells shattered from the excitement, there were sounds of unadulterated joy. from cheers for the torch making its way along the river thames to delighted children playing with first soccer mom michelle obama and superstar david beckham to excited cheerleaders. >> london rock the house out there. >> reporter: and in the house called buckingham palace v.i.p.s mingled with her majesty, queen elizabeth.
her great grandfather and father had opened previous summer games. >> i will take pleasure in declaring open the 2012 london olympic games. >> reporter: even the first competition of the day had a smile inducing story line. a legally blind archer for south korea set a world record. suddenly, a country known for a disposition as gloomy as its weather seemed ready to burst with national pride. and the anticipation just kept building. here at trafalgar square the countdown to the opening ceremony is on literally. people have been coming to get their picture taken with the clock and big screen tvs are being set up across london so people can come together to watch the opening ceremonies. including here in hyde park where crowds arrived early. >> my mom is actually dancing in the opening ceremony. >> reporter: and you can't go? >> no. i saw it on wednesday. i can't give you any secrets. >> reporter: and? come on. a little one? >> it's a surprise.
>> reporter: even keeping the details of the ceremony secret except what we saw in this video from rehearsal became a point of pride. beijing's opening was so spectacular britain worried, could oscar winning director danny boyle who lived in east london top it? >> you know, you can't compare in an obvious way to beijing. you have to try and think differently about it and be part of the spirit of it. be optimistic as well. >> reporter: and the 80,000 spirited spectators heading to the olympic stadium were ready to be dancing. as early images emerged, we get a glimpse of the show royals called isles of wonder inspired by shakespeare's "the tempest." the bard once wrote, "all the world's a stage" but tonight the spotlight shines brightly on london. since this is the first of the games, they've been tweeting. the men's gymnastics team put this out. the women's basketball team sent
a picture and the reviews are in from regular folks inside the stadium. one says danny boyle will get a knighthood. another, the opening ceremony has been amazing. and more than a few, brian, let the games begin. >> well, chris, we are so happy for this host city that as you point out the weather has held at least so far. chris jansing over the olympic village tonight. chris, thanks. here's why you may be hearing of a strong women's theme at these games in the days to come. a couple firsts at work here. it's the first time every nation has women athletes on the team. for the first time on team usa, the women out number the men as they do in the work place and on college campuses in the u.s. so it's fitting the ranking ambassador from the u.s. is first lady michelle obama. here in london as we said leading the delegation and cheering them on, meeting with the leading women around here, the queen and kate middleton and telling the american athletes what watching the olympics on
television meant to her growing up in chicago especially for her dad who had m.s. >> my father wasn't able to walk without the assistance of crutches, but he retained his love of sports, truly, and the olympics was a special time for him to watch amazing athletes of all abilities compete on the world stage. so these games especially affected our little house on the south side of chicago. you know, every few years these games bring pride, excitement, and wonder to millions of people around the world. and that must mean so much to all of you being part of giving so many people that much hope. >> the first lady who was here today expressing her gratitude to america's olympic team for inspiring the folks back home.
after a rocky start, mitt romney continued his visit here in london today trying to right the ship after he questioned the city's preparedness for the games. during our interview with him, which drew the full on heat of the british press, the prime minister, and members of the british public. peter alexander covering the romney campaign is with us from just outside olympic stadium where the romneys are among those taking in tonight's opening ceremony. peter good evening. >> reporter: brian good evening to you. for mitt romney attending these games was intended to show case his strength as a problem solver. he helped turn around the 2002 olympics in salt lake city. instead, he is now trying to resolve an international stir of his own making. with much of london stuck in a preolympic lockdown today mitt romney like thousands of others here had to abandon his ride and walk to his meeting with ireland's leader. >> i enjoyed the walk. >> you also had to walk. >> yes. we're used to walking in ireland. >> reporter: but after waking up to another round of harsh british headlines attacking his
critique of london's preparation romney told matt lauer he now believes the city can deliver. >> but after being here a couple of days it looks to me like london is ready and, of course, it is hard to put on games in a major metropolitan area. what they've done that i find so impressive is they took the venues and put them right in the city. >> reporter: and he tried to dismiss any controversy. >> in just a few moments, all the things politicians say will get swept away because the athletes finally take the stage. the games are about the athletes. >> reporter: romney supporters insist his foreign faux pas is being overblown. >> i think this olympic comment is the tempest in the tea pot. what is going to be remembered is it's going to be a great olympics. >> reporter: romney's next stop, israel, where he hopes his visit will help close the gap among jewish voters back home. among his scheduled meetings long-time personal friend prime minister benjamin netanyahu but in a move that appeared to be trying to upstage romney's trip today president obama signed a bill expanding military and civilian cooperation with
israel. back here, romney weighed in on the all american rivalry between swimmers michael phelps and ryan lochte. >> i think it's more likely to be phelps but i don't know. >> reporter: still tonight even british olympic organizers here having a little fun at mitt romney's expense, brian. when asked today who would be lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, sebastian coe, the head of the london games, jokingly responded, mitt romney. >> peter alexander over at the olympic village for us tonight. peter, thanks. there is news on the american economy tonight. new numbers from the government confirming what millions have been living. the economy went nowhere fast in the second quarter of this year. inside the numbers we go this evening with nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: today's numbers are fresh evidence that the economy has slowed dramatically since the end of last year. from april until june growing at just 1.5%. while housing shows signs of improvement, consumers cut back on spending especially on cars.
>> consumers are key to the economy's growth. they account for two-thirds, 70% of gdp. if consumers aren't spending the economy isn't going to grow quickly. >> reporter: with the economy the number one issue with voters it was bad news for president obama and republicans pounced. >> we cannot change the direction of this country soon enough. >> thank you, guys. see you. have a great weekend. >> reporter: the president declined to comment, leaving it to his spokesman to remind reporters congress hasn't passed his jobs bill. >> we know what we can do right now to spur growth and job creation and congress needs to act. >> reporter: officially unemployment sits at 8.2% but economists say the real number is in the mid teens and growing. >> what is it that distinguishes you from anybody else? >> reporter: in lyle township, illinois today the former financial administrator eileen richards was at the weekly job club meeting. on the agenda networking. >> i really am on a time crunch to get something under my belt within the next few months or i
am going to hit some really, really tough financial straits. >> reporter: also there, 67-year-old charles cremins, a former college administrator who has been out of work for six months. >> i wish i was a year or two younger. i wish i had more hair on my head. but, hey. i am what i am. >> reporter: coping with reality amid a very slow recovery. tom costello, nbc news, washington. despite the troubling news about the u.s. economy it was new reassurances about what's happening in the economy in europe that wall street was listening to today. the dow soaring again closing over 13,000 at the end of the day in new york. nasdaq and s&p up as well for the day's trading. it's been a week now since that shooting rampage in aurora, colorado, and today authorities in maryland said they may have prevented another one. police there arrested a 28-year-old man after they say he threatened former co-workers at pitney bows where he had been recently fired telling them, quote, i'm a joker and i'm going to load my guns and blow
everybody up. investigators found a huge arsenal of weapons inside his apartment, two dozen guns including assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition. national weather service confirms what we first reported last night. at least four tornadoes touching down when that violent line of storms swept through the eastern half of the country last night. among the confirmed twisters, one in elmira, new york. another in montrose, p.a. still ahead as "nightly news" continues this evening from london, the woman we get our olympics news from every two years stops by to preview the london summer games. later, it was a very different time and the olympics a very different event. tonight some of the americans who were here last time and brought home gold medals.
earlier tonight in our london studios right alongside the olympic stadium we followed a tradition. thought we'd take a moment and asked a friend of ours to stop by so we could get her assessment of this event and these games on the eve of official competition. here now our conversation with mary carillo of nbc sports. first of all, how does london feel different? >> i love this city. i've had the good luck to be here many, many times. just the way this city has come together, the stadia they've built, the surrounding, iconic buildings and monuments around. i'm very inspired already. i love it. i think they're going to have a great games here. >> you don't often hear people say stadia to use the correct plural usage. i'm impressed. >> it is "nightly news." >> i just say stadiums and i hope people understand. what will you be watching? what are your favorites during these games? >> there's the obvious big american stories on the swimming
with lochte and michael phelps and that starts tomorrow. that's going to be big. and of course i'm going to be tuning into that. but there are a couple south african stories i'm going to be watching one of whom is oscar pistorius and we did a story on "rock center" this man, this amputee who is the first ever disabled athlete to be in the olympics. i think when people see him line up alongside a bunch of able bodied guys and you see this man on carbon blades that will be very affecting and emotional to me. >> we both have kids. they say the olympics is the last event that puts families together watching something. >> yes. >> what is that? >> i think it's something very special. i love the idea that you don't have to be a fan of the big american sports to tune in. everybody wants to watch the olympics. look, how often do you watch fencing, you know? >> right. not often. >> all of a sudden, we watch it. and within a couple of days we think we know what we're looking at. >> we're rooting for someone.
>> yes, exactly. then you start using the language of this, you know, it's a splash too big -- we think we actually -- >> said velodrome today. >> that's what i'm talking about. it's going to be a great games. >> our thanks to mary carillo part of the nbc sports broadcast team with us here in london. we'll take a break. when we come back a name brand in the airline business is going away. this is an rc robotic claw.
our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron, and i get to help science teachers. it has four servo motors and a wireless microcontroller. over the last three years we've put nearly 100 million dollars into american education. that's thousands of kids learning to love science. ♪ isn't that cool? and that's pretty cool. ♪ big news in the airline business tonight. delta airlines is shutting down com air its 35-year-old regional carrier. 1700 employees are getting termination notices, a lot of them in the cincinnati area. com air currently flies 290 flights a day. delta is slowly getting out of the regional jet business because of its decreasing profitability. if you're traveling through jfk or l.a.x. you've been warned. they are among airports named at
the very top of the list for spreading contagious diseases. this is according to a new study from m.i.t. it's not because those airports are physically the dirtiest, necessarily, though that can be a separate conversation. in this case we're told it's because they are gateways to large cities with connections to every corner of the world. that school bus monitor who was bullied by students and the video that went viral says she is retiring after donations poured in from around the world, $700,000 in all to make sure that karen klein never has to ride that bus again with those kids. up next here tonight some of the american athletes who came here right after this city was shattered in the second world war. and tonight we hear their olympic stories.
the second world war and the great sacrifice it took to defeat the nazis and defend this nation. they decided, nonetheless, to host the world just as they are doing tonight. >> as the boat pulled out of that dock i can still hear those words. now is the hour. and we're just floating away on our way to england. >> the american team arrived here to find a nation still getting back on its feet after the war. ray lump played forward for team usa basketball. >> all over town there was rubble. as far as the eye could see was rubble. >> i think the american athletes were quite shocked and they really hadn't expected to find bomb sites, holes in the roads. there were children without shoes. >> there was still war time rationing going on in london, food, gas, and clothing. and there were real concerns about whether or not the city could pull off the olympic games. but they did what the brits always do.
they kept calm and they carried on. and on july 29th, 80,000 people gathered at wembley stadium including the king and queen and british cyclist tommy godwin still hasn't forgotten that 91-degree day. >> there were people fainting from the heat, waiting in the crowd. and the girls were even rolling their stockings down. >> the brits almost marched in without a flag but a young volunteer at the games found a union jack in the nearby car just in time. that young man's name was roger bannister, and he went on to make history six years later by running the first sub four-minute mile. >> i didn't have a key. the sergeant restrained a policeman who thought i was a burglar and wanted to arrest me. then i managed to get this flag back to the british team just before they marched into the stadium. >> the '48 olympics were nick named the austerity games. athletes slept on cots inside military barracks. some teams had to fly in fresh food for their athletes.
the u.s. arranged daily shipments of meat, chocolate, and bread. >> they flew over fresh bread every day and the fresh bread to the british it looked like cake to them. >> sammy lee of the u.s. diving team overcame a lot to get to london. as a nonwhite athlete, he wasn't allowed full training privileges back in the u.s. and could only practice one day a week. at age 91, he still remembers his olympic dive. >> hitting the water i thought i did a belly flop because i was tingling all over. i broke the record. >> it won him the gold medal, the first given to an asian american. another first at the '48 games? alice coachman became the first african-american gold medalist. she won the high jump, beating the british favorite dorothy tyler. >> i congratulated her and kissed her on the cheek and the cameraman said, why did you do that? i said, well, she's a competitor.
and so she won. i gave her a kiss. >> that kiss on the cheek was controversial in london in '48 and downright unheard of back in segregated rural georgia where alice coachman returned home to a half hearted welcome. >> when we got on the stage for the ceremony, it was segregated. even an olympic gold medal winner had to sit on one side of the stage and the mayor of the town had to sit on the other. >> the nation's flag rides high. >> in the end the u.s. won 84 medals, twice as many gold and silver as any other nation, but the lesson of the '48 london olympics was much larger than that. >> the world was coming together after a tragic war, trying to relive the ideals of the olympic games. it left a feeling of optimism, that things were going to get better. >> and isn't that supposed to be
part of the olympics spirit? that is our broadcast on a friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. a reminder, opening ceremony coming up right here tonight on nbc. i'm brian williams reporting tonight from london. i'll see you right back here tomorrow evening. i'll see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good evening, everyone. >> the time is now. after years of preparation, the olympics officially kick off in london now. here's a live look at the tower bridge. tonight the lights of the queen, paul mccartney and maybe even james bond will take part in a spectacular opening ceremony. we want to show you a look at
the rehearsal ceremony. for more on tonight's ceremony and the bay area tlooets who are about to compete, let's take you live to nbc's mark barger in london. >> absolutely, jessica, you are right, great britain is in the midst of olympic fever. it's all about a celebration of everything that is british. in fact british prime minister david cameron says that britain is prepared for the greatest show on earth, borrowing a line from the circus there, he described rehearsals from danny boyle's opening ceremony. he does say that if the weather holds up, there will be a role for the queen in the ceremony that's costing about $42 million. coming up