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Year in Review: Murray takes Centre Court

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OlympicTalk’s writers recount some of their favorite moments from the 2012 London Games.

In a way, the All England Club was a quieter, more subdued version of Wimbledon during the 2012 Olympics in London. The total number of fans on the grounds was kept lower that the month prior, for security purposes, and Centre Court had lost just a speck of its luster as swaths of seats went unclaimed from match to match during the Games.

But that wasn’t the case when Andy Murray took to the court. Britain’s favorite tennis son is always a crowd darling at Wimbledon, but his star power, his draw, and the plainly non-club, non-tennis-clap-polite fans came to life during Murray’s matches, carrying roars into Centre Court each round that were saved more for occasions like the 2008 Federer-Nadal Wimbledon final.

While Murray’s decisive triumph over Federer in the Olympics final will go down as one of the great breakout performances by a tennis player at any major event, it was his semifinal win over Novak Djokovic that truly brought the house down.

Djokovic had won two of their last three meetings, including another overlooked gladiatorial clash: a 7-5 in-the-fifth semifinal victory at the Australian Open back in January.

But in a 7-5, 7-5 victory, Murray had shed any demons of faltering against Djokovic and moved to a place he could hardly believe he was in: the gold medal match. After raising his arms in the air, Murray sat down for a minute in his chair letting the win sink in. It was then when he got up again, walking to the middle of the court and leaping into a jump-kick of a fist pump. Centre Court exploded.

“The atmosphere is unbelievable,” Murray told reporters after the win. “Different to pretty much anything I’ve been in before. I obviously played in big matches, night matches US Open we always said was the best atmosphere, but it’s not even close to what it was today. Obviously playing with the home support, that helps the atmosphere.

“But, yeah, that was unbelievable.”

Simone Biles gets her own cereal box (photos)

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Simone Biles hasn’t qualified for the Olympics yet, but she’s already getting her own cereal box.

The three-time reigning World all-around champion was among five Team USA athletes announced as part of Kellogg’s pre-Rio campaign this week.

As part of it, Biles is on the cover of limited-edition Special K Red Berries and Corn Flakes cereal boxes released in June.

Biles is next expected to compete in the Secret U.S. Classic in Hartford, Conn., on June 4 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

After that comes the P&G Championships (June 24-26, St. Louis) and the U.S. Olympic Trials (July 8-10, San Jose), both on NBC Sports.

A full U.S. Olympic Trials schedule for all sports is available here.

VIDEO: Biles surprised with Efron leotard on ‘Ellen’

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Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir visit Rio’s Carnival (video)

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Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are used to performing in front of packed arenas, but they had never encountered anything like the Sambadrome.

NBC’s figure skating analysts visited Rio de Janeiro in February to taste the Olympic city ahead of the first Games in South America for “1st Look.”

They sampled cuisine and night life, played footvolley on one of the city’s famous beaches and took part in the famed Carnival.

They danced in costumes atop a float in front of some 100,000 people during the annual festival.

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