Heroes fell this weekend in London, with a clearly frustrated/disappointed Michael Phelps failing to medal in the 400 IM on Saturday night, then having to settle for a silver medal in the Men’s 4×100 freestyle relay (a race the U.S. has now only not won three times since its inception) on Sunday. It was also a heartbreaker over in the gymnastics venue with Jordan Wieber, the reigning world champion and heavy favorite going in to the Games, who failed to qualify for the biggest prize in women’s gymnastics: the Olympic all-around champion. These storylines will continue this week, as will Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings’ attempt at one more unbroken run to Gold, U.S. Diving’s return to the podium and the best hopes for U.S. team gold in gymnastics for both the men and the women since 1984 and 1996, respectively.
The Games have begun and truly anything can happen! Here’s what I’ll be watching this week. (My watch time is generally being limited to primetime presentations, but remember, Olympic coverage is available throughout the day on the networks of NBCUniversal and anytime on nbcolympics.com. Just be careful when you visit nbcolumpics.com because there may be spoilers, as they’re truly broadcasting everything live online.)
Tonight is the team final for men’s gymnastics, where not medaling would be a huge disappointment. Gold is within their grasp at this point and they want that more than anything. Men’s synchronized platform diving awards it’s gold medal tonight, where Americans David Boudia and Nick McCrory are in the hunt. British diver Tom Daley, one of the more photogenic faces at the aquatic center, will be a crowd favorite as the English team also tries to unseat the Chinese at the top of the podium. In the pool, Ryan Lochte will defend his world title in a competitive 200m Freestyle race and Missy Franklin attempts her first individual medal in the 100m backstroke.
Again, gymnastics takes center stage as the women compete in the team final against world powerhouses Russia, Romania and China. The U.S. women are the heavy favorites going in, but with the 3 up, 3 count rule, any mistakes could be catastrophic. Michael Phelps returns to the aquatic center for another relay (4×200) that the Americans are heavy favorites to win and an individual event for him in the 200m fly. Phelps training buddy, Allison Schmidt will go for gold in the women’s 200 free, alongside Missy Franklin as they both attempt to dethrone the reigning world record holder Fredrica Pellegini.
Tonight it’s the women’s turn to defend the 4×200 relay. The U.S. women have lost this event only once (Beijing) since it was added to the Olympic program in 1996. The sprinting competitions start with the men’s 100m free, always an exciting race, while Japanese breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima begins his history-making attempt to complete a third straight sweep of the 100m and 200m breaststroke. The men compete for their gymnastics all-around medals with Americans Danell Leyva and John Orozco both qualifying. Beach volleyball also continues tonight & we’ll see if Walsh-Jennings and May-Treanor can continue their unbelievable dominance on the sand. And earlier in the day, the historic grass courts of Wimbledon will see the start of the mixed doubles tournament, which makes its return to the Olympics following an 88-year absence.
By now, you know what I’m watching…women’s gymnastics of course! The all-around competition will begin tonight, without world champion Jordan Wieber. American women have won the last two Olympic all-around gold medals and want to bring it home this year too! Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas qualified 2 and 3 respectively for the all-around competition. The scores from qualifying won’t count, but typically tend to be a good indicator of the contenders. At the pool, we’ll all be watching the 2nd Lochte-Phelps showdown with the 200 IM, assuming nothing crazy happens in prelims, which isn’t totally out of the question based on this past weekend! Phelps may be the reigning Olympic champion but I think Lochte is hungry for this one. We’ll see how much motivation Phelps can pull out of the disappointment that was the 400 IM and put it to use here. Missy Franklin should compete in the 100m freestyle, the fifth of seven events on her Olympic program, with Rebecca Soni, reigning Olympic and world champion, swimming the 200m breaststroke and hoping for her chance to complete the first women’s breaststroke sweep in 16 years. For those of you needing a swimming/gymnastics break, the the U.S. Rowing women’s eight has won every world and Olympic title since 2006 and hopes to continue that streak tonight in the gold medal race.
Michael Phelps hopes to return for his last individual event – the 100m fly, which was a heart-stopper of a race in Beijing when he beat Cavic by just .01 seconds. Time will tell how the event shakes out this year and I’m sure Phelps wants to make this one a high note of these games for him. The always fun “splash & dash” – the 50m freestyle – is also underway tonight to see who can say they’re the fastest man in the pool. The first primetime track & field event is tonight with the men’s shot put gold medal final.
The final night of swimming could see an end to the historic career of Michael Phelps – he’s said repeatedly, emphatically that these Games will be his last. Likely at this point to be the most decorated Olympian of all-time (already the record holder of the most gold medals), he will finish his career swimming the butterfly leg of the men’s 4×100 medley relay, a nice bookend to a career that began by swimming the 200m butterfly in the 2000 Sydney Olympics at age 15. The U.S. has won this event every time they’ve raced. Likewise, the U.S. women are hoping to overtake the 2008 champions (Australia) with Missy Franklin expected to anchor. The fastest women in the pool honors will also be settled tonight with the 50m freestyle race. In track & field, we’ll see gold medal finals in men’s long jump and the women’s 100m, where we’ll likely see the first showcase of the U.S.-Jamaica sprint rivalry.
Earlier in the day you can watch gold medal finals in men’s tennis, equestrian team jumping and cycling (track). Gold medal pursuits continue into primetime with gymnastics event finals, track & field and women’s springboard diving. Beach volleyball quarterfinals are tonight as well, where a loss will count you out. If your tolerance for gymnastics is waning (never!), then just be sure to watch McKayla Maroney on vault. The 16 year old American is the best in the world on the event and flies higher than I thought possible on the apparatus. She’s special. Another story in this event final is 37 year old Oksana Chusovitina, competing in her unheard-of 6th Olympic games. The men will compete on the pommel horse (a weak spot in the U.S. armor) & floor exercise. Tonight also marks Usain Bolt’s attempt to sweep the men’s sprints events, starting with the 100m final. His countryman & teammate, Yohan Blake is gunning for him along with American sprinters Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin (again, assuming that nothing crazy happens in qualifying, but with the new false start rules, we could see some heartbreaking DQs if nerves take over on the track).
What events are you watching? What did you think of this past weekend’s events? Am I missing anything about the Olympic so far? I welcome your comments and suggestions!
Thanks for visiting the Bright House Networks Blog. We welcome you to participate in the conversation on House2House. Please note, any service-related concerns will not be resolved on the Blog. They will be addressed by our dedicated Customer Care team (select from above Online Care options). Also, to find out if a product or service is available in your area,