LONDON The gymnasts were in their final warm-ups. The spectators were hurrying to their seats. And on the walkway outside Section 101 of the North Greenwich Arena, the Army was being placed on ready reserve.Dozens of soldiers, dressed in camouflage fatigues, were lined up at the entry, prepared to undertake their 11th-hour mission to come to Britains aid.By filling empty seats.I need a group of four, an Olympic volunteer said, sounding as if he was seating a party for tea at the Palm Court. Prepare to move quickly.The empty seat imbroglio continues to be a sticky wicket here in the country that invented sticky wickets. Tickets to Olympic events were announced as being sold out months ago, yet when the Brits turned on the telly this week, they were mortified to see prime seats going unused.So officials have brought in the cavalry because, you know, appearance is everything. The London Olympic organizing committee, LOCOG, has been trying to locate looming no-shows and using another quaint British euphemism return them to the marketplace.Failing that, here comes the Army.10 Games, 10 medalsOnce upon a time, they were the Yankees of womens gymnastics.But as coach Octavian Bellu said Tuesday night of his team from Romania, We have a small group. And we try our best every day to make good things.Because he hails from a nation where Olympic achievements are measured in perfect 10s, Bellu found himself half-lamenting Tuesday that his Romanian girls only won the bronze medal and not the big prize.How many gymnasts do they have in the United States? In China? In Russia? he asked.I feel like a survivor.In a way, Bellu himself is. Bellu is the poor soul who was named Romanias national gym coach after Bela and Martha Karolyi defected to the United States in 1981. The golden bar had already been set pretty high.Yet Bellu, a friendly, multi-lingual 61 years young, has fared well. Indeed, he has survived through 59 world championships medals for his teams, 23 Olympic medals, the breakup of the Soviet Union money train, a brief dabbling in politics and a demi-scandal involving an assistant coach whos now his beloved wife.Yet, heres a remarkable stat: Romanias bronze medal Tuesday marked the 10th consecutive Olympic Games in which its won a womens team medal.No other nation has come close.A silver for the royal jewelsAll England seemed abuzz Tuesday at a historic first.Though they could have barged onto the British team at any time over the years I mean, what coach is going to cut someone with a first name of Duchess? the royals have patiently waited their turn and finally won an Olympic medal.Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, earned an Olympic silver medal at Greenwich Park as a member of Great Britains show jumping equestrian team.The crowd of 23,000 included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate to you American blokes Prince Harry, Zaras mum, Princess Anne, and the Duchess of Cornwall.No Jack Nicholson, however.Unlike some other royals, Phillips, 31, is widely viewed as a legitimate world-class rider who engaged in field hockey, track and gymnastics when she was younger. At the University of Exeter, she specialized in equine physiotherapy.Her mother, Anne, the only daughter of the Queen and Prince Phillip, rode in the 1976 Olympics, finishing 24th. Royalty and Olympics have not been strangers over the years, history tells us.Count Hermann Alexandre de Pourtalès won two medals for Switzerland at the 1900 Olympic Games.His event? Yachting, of course.Most of the royalty Olympians have competed either in equestrian or the sailing events. Yeah, I know, go figure.Best known and certainly the most prolific of the princely (and princessly) Olympians, however, would be Prince Albert II of Monaco.Albert put together a Monaco bobsled team and raced in every Winter Olympics from Calgary in 1988 to Salt Lake City in 2002.At each Games, the Prince would disdain staying at the Ritz and, instead, move into the Olympic Village and live amongst the athletes.He even slummed on occasion with the media, which I can attest from a chance introduction to him during, I think, the Nagano Games in 1998.Hi! he said. Im Albert.And Im nobody, I remember thinking.Even at the Olympics, you see, its always good to be the Queen. Or at least her granddaughter.