Thursday at the Olympic Games: The first day of track cycling, the first day of dressage, and a former judo world champion from the USA in action.
WHAT HAPPENED WEDNESDAY
The British gold medal drought ended emphatically. Helen Glover and Heather Stanning raced away from everyone in the women’s pair (rowing) and held on down the stretch. Then Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins dominated the men’s time trial.
The U.S. star of the day: cyclist Kristin Armstrong. She came back from retirement, pregnancy and a nasty crash a few months ago to defend her title in the women’s time trial. (And for the LAST time, no, she’s not related to Lance.)
Not far behind: divers Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen, continuing the USA’s momentum in synchro diving. They took bronze, giving Dumais his first medal in four Olympics.
And there were more stars in the marquee events of swimming and gymnastics. Nathan Adrian ended the USA’s 24-year gold medal drought in the 100-meter free. Rebecca Soni set a world record in a semi. Allison Schmitt ran down Australia in the anchor leg of the 4×200 free relay. On the mat, Danell Leyva made a stirring comeback for bronze.
The other top spots for the USA on a frightfully busy day: U.S. rowers took bronze in women’s quadruple sculls, and most American tennis players cruised, with Venus Williams the lone exception.
The bad news: Khatuna Lorig is the last U.S. hope in archery. Brady Ellison and the others are out, as are three more U.S. boxers. Mariel Zagunis was cruising to her third straight gold but suddenly lost her rhythm in the semifinals and didn’t medal. The U.S. women’s water polo team gave up a late lead and settled for a tie.
And there ain’t no scandal like a badminton scandal ’cause a badminton scandal don’t stop.
MEDAL PROJECTION UPDATE
Nearly went 9-for-9 on rowing medalists, though not in proper order. I also had two events in which I got gold and silver — oddly enough, the USA took a surprise bronze in each one (men’s synchro diving, men’s all-around gymnastics).
So the USA is gaining on China in the “underprojected” category. Remember that if you see any “China beating USA” headlines. The second week is when the USA should pull away, though it’ll depend entirely on track and field.
And North Korea has me baffled. Gee, they’re so forthcoming with information that you figure I would’ve known everything about them. Percentage-wise, excluding countries I had pegged for 0 medals at this point, North Korea is the most underprojected — five medals instead of one. Colombia is next — won three, projected for … um … none. Oops.
Underprojected: China (5), North Korea (4), USA (3), South Korea (3), Canada (3), Colombia (3)
Overprojected: Come on, Britain (6). And Australia (5). Turkey (4), Switzerland (3), Brazil (3)
Check all my work here: full medal projections.
THURSDAY’S VIEWING RECOMMENDATIONS
Times ET. Everything’s available online. NBC, MSNBC and NBC Sports Network may occasionally hop around to other events. Names are U.S. athletes unless otherwise mentioned.
4:00: Archery, women’s round of 16. Khatuna Lorig
4:00 a.m.: NBC Sports Network signs on with men’s basketball, France-Lithuania
4:30: Judo, men’s 100kg early rounds. Kyle Vashkulat at 5:12.
4:30: Rowing, semifinals and finals. The only time we trust is that the women’s eight finals will be at 7:30
- Men’s double sculls: NZL-GBR-AUS
- Men’s lightweight four: GBR-AUS-CHN
- Women’s eight: USA-CAN-GBR
5:19: Judo, women’s 78kg early rounds. Kayla Harrison at 6:15.
5:30: Fencing, women’s team foil quarterfinals. USA vs. South Korea. Semifinals at 7
5:45, NBC SN: Field hockey, U.S. women vs. Australia
6:00: Equestrian, dressage, first day.
6:30, Bravo: Tennis, quarterfinals (first round in mixed doubles). Follow the official site for updated times. Americans and selected others:
- 6:30: Bryan/Bryan vs. Israel’s Erlich/Ram
- 7:00: Britain’s Andy Murray vs. Spain’s Nicolas Almagro
- tba: John Isner vs. Roger Federer
- tba: Serena Williams vs. Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki
- tba: Belgium’s Kim Clijsters vs. Russia’s Maria Sharapova
- tba: Williams/Williams vs. Italy’s Errani/Vinci
- tba: Huber/Bryan vs. Germany’s Lisicki/Kas
Bravo signs on at 7 a.m. and carries tennis until 3.
7:00: Sailing, continuing through roughly noon
9:00: Archery, women’s quarterfinals, semis and medal rounds. Picks: IND-KOR-CHN
9:00: Judo, men’s 100kg and women’s 78kg repechage and medal rounds (11 a.m.)
- Men’s picks: JPN-NED-KAZ-RUS
- Women’s picks: BRA-JPN-USA-FRA
9:00, MSNBC: Water polo (men’s), Serbia vs. Montenegro. Good Balkan rivalry.
9:30: Table tennis, men’s singles, medal matches. Gold at 10:30. Picks: CHN-CHN-GER
10:00: Shooting, men’s double trap final. Picks: USA-RUS-GBR
10:18, NBC: Canoe/kayak, men’s slalom C2. Picks: SVK-GBR-FRA
10:57: Canoe/kayak, women’s slalom K1. Picks: SVK-AUT-ESP
11:00, (NBC for finals): Cycling (track), three events leading up to women’s and men’s team sprints at 12:59. NBC picks up at 12:45.
- Women’s picks: GER-GBR-AUS
- Men’s picks: GBR-GER-FRA
11:30, NBC: Beach volleyball, women’s pool play. Kessy/Ross
11:30: Gymnastics, women’s all-around final. Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. Picks: USA-RUS-CHN
12:00: Badminton, men’s singles quarterfinals. Just trust me. Three Chinese stars, including Lin Dan. Malaysian hope Lee Chong Wei. And the European hopeful — Denmark’s Peter Gade.
1:00: Fencing, women’s team foil, medal bouts. Bronze first, gold at 2:15. Picks: ITA-KOR-RUS
1:20, NBC: Water polo, U.S. men vs. Britain
2:30: Swimming, semifinals and finals
- Women’s 200 breaststroke: USA-RUS-JPN
- Men’s 200 backstroke: USA-JPN-USA
- Men’s 200 individual medley: USA-USA-HUN
- Women’s 100 freestyle: NED-SWE-GBR
3:00, NBC: Volleyball, U.S. men vs. Brazil
4:00: Beach volleyball, men’s pool play. Dalhausser/Rogers
4:00, NBC SN: Boxing, men’s lightweight round of 16. Jose Ramirez. (NBC SN window: 3:30-4:45)
4:15, (second half on MSNBC at 5): Handball, Iceland men vs. Sweden. My guys
4:45: Boxing, men’s middleweight round of 16. Terrell Gausha. Yes, the dude who got the knockout. Not sure whether NBC SN will stick with this long enough to pick up his bout.
5:15, NBC SN: Basketball, men’s group stage. USA vs. Nigeria.
And you might see a bit more badminton, basketball, handball, field hockey and beach volleyball throughout the day.
Check the full schedule for time updates and results throughout the day: London2012.com
You know who actually has the best glance of how Americans are faring? Wikipedia.
I’ll be doing this daily during the Games. As a reminder, you’ll also find my work at Bleacher Report, and I’ll be helping Trapit capture the best Olympic news sources. Follow @TrapitSports or all Olympic-related Trapit feeds on Twitter for more.