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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  July 31, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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good evening. this was a golden day for team usa at the olympics. swimmer michael phelps officially became the most decorated olympian of all time. and the fierce young women of the gymnastics team leapt and vaulted their way to victory. the first team gold for american female gymnasts since 1996. abc's bill weir was there for it all and leads our coverage tonight from the olympic games. bill, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, diane. the games did not see the most auspicious beginning for team usa. some grumbling yesterday. but oh, day four, definitely the most exciting and most historic of all. after countless days of countless laps, a lifetime of staring at the bottom of pools, he began the day two medals away
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from the pinnacle of olympic achievement. and the first if you days showed more tarnish than gold for michael phelps. he could be the first swimmer to win three golds in three olympics. and down the stretch, it looked impossible. and he cruised to the finish, allowed chad le clos to win and settling for silver. and minutes later, the free style relay. and has his teammates, lochte, dwyer, berens, go for the lead, it begame apparent this would be the moment. four pool lengths later, the familiar stroke, the familiar touch. and for the record breaking 19th time, the golden smile. and in the jim, the bundles of bungee cord energy known as the fab five entered confident. it's been a few days since jordyn wieber's bump from the finals rocked the team. but none of that drama showed tonight as points mounted
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routine by flawless routine. they were all in fine form. by the floor exercise, it was all but over. three gorgeous routines followed. when she landed four big tumbling passes and nailed her signature rebound in the end, tears in the eyes of aly raisman. all they needed was the judges' confirmation of what they already knew. when it came, pure joy. the fab five takes britain by storm tonight. the first american gold for the women in 16 years. and aly and gabby go for the next round. and michael phelps, 22 medals. >> who's counting? and the women whose record he shattered was there to cheer him on? >> reporter: take a look at this young lady. this is larissa latynina, a gymnast, soefr yet era gymnast. she won 18 medals when her sport
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was more about graceful movement more than tenacity. held thar that record for 48 years. and now, living outside of moscow and here to watch history. >> a lot of grumbling back here. not even a few seconds to pass around, the video of michael phelps. >> reporter: well, yes, the network that shall not be named, they paid over $1 billion to bros these games to the states. and they are meager with dolling out of highlights. and the friends at the "wall street journal" use popsicle sticks, reenactments. we're going to try -- maybe this is inspiring. if anyone has acrobatic cat, they should dress up in tiny unitards, they will do the same down the road. >> okay, bill. you are going to be back in a minute to report on the debate of the young swimmer from china. can a 16-year-old girl really swim faster than the olympic men? look at her big hands, her feet?
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that is coming up. and here is the total medal count tonight. china and the u.s. tied, 23 medals each. china has more gold, though. and japan is third. back in this country a close call in the sky today. a bird collided with a packed united airlines jet flying into denver and the bird punctured a the front of the plane create agaping hole in the nose. fortunately, the flight landed safely. but as clayton sandell reports, bird strikes are a growing threat. >> reporter: it could have been catastrophic. a feathery midair collision. this united 737, with 151 passengers, on approach to denver international airport today when it collided with what appears to be a large bird. the impact tore a giant diamond-shaped hole in the nose, even ripping off flight sensors. there were no injuries, but the pilots declared an emergency. in april, another bird strike
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was captured on camera, a passenger on a flight from new york to los angeles saw a flock of birds fly right into an engine. of course, who could forget when canada geese brought down sully sullenberger's u.s. air flight into the hudson river. >> it's always dangerous when an aircraft hits a bird. in this case it was something that the crews have been trained to handle, the aircraft has redundant systems that can take care of the problems caused by this bird strike. >> reporter: bird strikes cost the airline industry $600 million in damage every year. that's why at denver international airport, kendra cross is one of four full time employees using explosive charges to scare birds away from busy runways. >> these are what is called a banger, and it produces a loud burst or a bang to get their wings flapping a little faster and keep them out of harm's way. >> reporter: officials say they know this plane was hit by a large species bird but they are not sure what type. they've collected tissue samples and will send them to the smithsonian in washington, d.c.,
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where experts should be able to make a positive identification. diane? >> thank you tonight. >> clayton sandell reporting tonight. thank you. now the stunning headlines. the worst blackout in the history of the planet. more than 600 million people across india. think of it this way. it's as if the entire population of north and central america combined were thrown in the dark. jim avila answers the question, could it happen here? >> reporter: shades of the great blackout of 2003, america's largest, knocking 55 million in the northeast into the dark. but this time it's twice the population of the united states without power. india, where subways are stopped and no air conditioning in 100-degree weather today. in great supply, frustration and despair. >> the whole system was at a standstill. that goes to show how vulnerable we are. >> reporter: and today at the federal energy regulatory
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commission's command center, a ripple of uncertainty about how vulnerable this country is. can something like india happen here? >> it can't spread to california because the grid is divided in the middle of the nation here. >> reporter: the main difference, say engineers, is america's grid is now monitored more closely than ever, checking for line surges 30 times a second. and since the northeast's 2003 blackout, 16,000 miles of new transmission lines have been added to the grid. still, some in the northeast are more than 70 years old. >> a lot of it is old. there is no question about it. >> reporter: today's biggest domestic fear, cyber attack on the grid. >> recently, the government held a white house level cyber exercise in which the scenario was a terrorist attack that took down the power grid. >> reporter: through their concern, regulators point out even with the hottest summer on record, unlike india, just emerging from the dark, america's grid is holding. jim avila, abc news, washington.
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and now your voice, your vote. the presidential race. and former governor mitt romney has just returned to the united states after his big trip overseas. the candidate hoping the trip will show he is ready for the diplomatic stage. but an eruption from his traveling team stole the spotlight tonight. and david muir joins us from poland's capital, warsaw. david? >> reporter: diane, good evening. mitt romney's foreign trip is over. but not without one more unwelcome moment that you speak of. a spokesman for the campaign got into it with a member of the press. i asked a senior adviser here how the trip went. he said, without flinching, it went great. >> reporter: in the final hours of the tour here, mitt romney visiting the tomb of the unknown solt jer in warsaw. the kind of photo op the campaign hoped for many of. but there was also this today.
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>> what about your dog? >> reporter: he didn't answer but an angry spokes person did, telling them to shove it. >> we don't have a chance to ask him questions. >> there is a holy sight for the polish people. >> reporter: yet another unwelcome headline after romney unset the brits after the olympics. and the palestinian, after he suggested that the culture is superior. the campaign called it a miscalculation. the reporters arguing there was just one press conference in the tour where me took just three questions. and candidate obama, on his four, four press conferences, at least 25 questions. today, they did have high profile one on ones. ours included during which we asked romney about the negative headlines. starting with when he said he was unt sure the london games would go well. would you answer the so well? >> i tend to tell people what i believe. referring to the comments made
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in the media, it's something that i felt was an honest reflection of what was being -- what was concerning folks. >> reporter: and tonight a senior adviser argues that is exactly what you want from a president. someone who says what they believe. as romney heads back to the u.s., eager to turn the page. mitt romney back in boston tonight, ann romney back to london to watch her prized horse compete in the olympics. and the other race we are following, the choice of a running mate. mitt romney will not do that until ann is back in the united states. if her horse does well, she won't be back until august 9th or 10th. a little bit of help with the timetable in the next chapter of the presidential race. >> watching every move. thanks so much, david muir. and police back here at home tonight may be one step closer to solving the walmart case. who is phoning in all of bomb threats to stores from coast to coast? forcing the stores to evacuate
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shoppers. alex perez tonight has a promising new clue. >> reporter: bomb squads, police k-9 unites and panic. a scene becoming all too familiar at walmart stores across the country, most having one thing in common -- a chilling, robotic-sounding voice calling in a bomb threat warning the stores they have two hours to evacuate or everyone would die. >> a lot of people don't know what is going on. even the employees. they were just being rushed out. >> reporter: from arroyo grande, california, out west to secaucus, new jersey, out east and missouri and kansas in the midwest, 15 bomb threats since friday. the calls each triggering store evacuations and searches. walmart says they are working with investigators to provide any information that might help catch the caller. authorities believe one person is likely behind most of these threats, and they suspect that person is using a spoofing device to make the calls difficult to trace. >> until they determine who the caller actually is, they have to treat every one like they are real. >> reporter: but today, a possible break. investigators traced one of
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those calls to ft. meyers, florida. and police are responding in full force to each threat, but so far, no bombs have been found. alex perez, abc news, chicago. and still ahead here, as we said, can an olympic woman really swim faster than a male olympian? what we learned tonight about that chinese swimmer. it's the little things in life that make me smile. spending the day with my niece. i don't use super poligrip for hold because my dentures fit well. before those little pieces would get in between my dentures and my gum and it was uncomfortable. even well-fitting dentures let in food particles. super poligrip is zinc free. with just a few dabs, it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. so it's not about keeping my dentures in, it's about keeping the food particles out.
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you'll want to get up and go. so our research shows in the history of the olympics, no woman has ever beaten a man's speed in the same event. so what really happened when that chinese swimmer went so fast, she almost beat michael phelps? she won the gold medal. let's go back to bill weir at the olympic games for answers. >> reporter: the old slogan "you've come a long way, baby" may seem condescendingly sexist in 2012, but no denying the best female athletes of today could beat the best men of yesteryear. this weekend, 16-year-old ye shiwen covered two laps of the pool just as fast as "tarzan" johnny weismuller did in the '28 olympics and faster than mark spitz in the than mark spitz in the '69 world championships. but what has all of london
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talking is how her times compare to the men of today. in the 400 medleys, she swam those final two laps almost exactly as fast as michael phelps, and in the last 50 meters, was faster than ryan lochte. "every time we see something 'unbelievable,' history shows us that it turns out doping was involved," john leonard told a british paper. and though the so-called "mandarin mermaid" passed her drug test saturday, parents of american swimmers are suspicious as well. >> if it's within the rules today, they might have to change the rules later when they found out what they did. >> reporter: in china, there is outrage over the allegations, and charges of racism. >> translator: i think the accusations are unfair. people may think asians are not as strong as americans or europeans. >> reporter: but biology tells us that women like ye can't be faster than her male peers over the long haul, because a man's heart pumps about 16% more blood per beat, his lungs hold up to 30% more oxygen, and longer legs mean stronger kicks. but when it comes to destroying other women, chinese officials point to her expensive training to explain her explosive times,
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and her physical growth. when she won the asian games at 14, she was just over 5'2." she's grown four inches since, and given her huge hands and feet, several former olympians say her speed spurt is reasonable. "my results come from hard work and training," ye told the china news service last night. "the chinese people have clean hands." among those coming to her defense, bob bowman, the man who has been woshing as a coach to michael phelps since help was 10 years old. he said it's a result of cynicism after all the positive tests from the chinese in the '90s. and some american tests. if she is racing that clean that fast, she is paying for the sins of the past. >> that was a sportsmanlike thing for the coach to say. thanks again, bill weir from london. up ahid back here, she uses
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so here are the answers to our parenting olympics quiz. on average, it costs almost $250,000 to train a champion. on average, parents take their kids to and from about 20,000 hours of practice. from our powerhouse sister station espn, analyst julie foudy is here are the parents behind the gold. >> reporter: behind almost every stoic olympian is a loving but nervous parent. who can forget gymnast ali raisman's parents' machinations as she competed on the uneven parallel bars on sunday night? look how her anxious parents side by side with their daughter cringe with every move. or john orozco's mother not
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looking as he excelled on the pommel horse last saturday? for some parents just watching their child compete in these games is itself an olympic feat. >> it's so nerve-racking, you just get sick to your stomach. to be perfectly honest, the shakes and your legs start bouncing. >> reporter: ryan lochte's mom gets as much exercise as her son does when he swims. >> i do most of the workout. i stress beforehand. and then he swims and i swim with him. and then after that i rejoice with him. >> reporter: for most parents like those of swimmer missy franklin, the nerves, the disappointments, the victories are all a result of their children's hard work and the sacrifices they made. none more so than gymnast gabby douglas' single mom, who eventually, anxiously sent her daughter 3,000 miles away to train in iowa. gabby's hard work earned her a profile on youtube by procter and gamble.
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>> ho you i send my youngest child away to a community i don't know? how can i do that? >> reporter: she did it because she believed in her daughter, and today that sacrifice paid off. gabby and her teammates won gold. all worth it to represent your country. julie foudy, abc news, london. >> also part of team usa. thanks so much for watching. remember, "new york med," another extraordinary episode tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. >> will oakland police ever changeei thr ways? the shootings and racist that could result in a federal take over . >> tax talk. city leaderships line up
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behind a major overhaul that will not tax new jobs. >> apple accuses a major rival of illegal copies some of its most popular products. >> and a better way to fight forest fires. wasting its money on big oil tankers. they rejected the cost-cutting advice. >> i am larry beil. we started with a destructive fire in palo alto. >> it involved a kid playing in the garage with a candle and it got much worse. our abc news reporter joins us. first, karina, is everybody okay? >> yes, there are serious injuries but a mother was burned on her arm trying to make sure all of her kids were okay . the family of 7 who lived
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behind me in the home on jasmine way has lost everything. there were no serious injuries . fire chief said it had the potential to be much worse. the fire started in the garage, it was an accident and the nine year old boy was play building a fort using a mattress and he made the mistake having candles and matches in the fort. three other people were in the house at the time. the mother, the infant and the boy's sister. the boy tried to alert them and when his mom realized what was happening, she didn't know if he was in the house. >> i thought my son was still in the house. so i got burned a little bit, trying to find my son. luckilyy -- luckily he got he


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