Olympics 2012: What to Watch Saturday

Highlights from Friday's action, plus what's worth watching today
Staff Writer

Because the Olympics are too HUGE to watch them all...we're breaking down each day’s broadcast coverage to bring you an action-packed daily blueprint that is sure to capture the drama and pageantry, the inspiring successes and (hilarious, we hope) disappointments that make the Olympics so special. So grab the remote control, pull up an easy chair and let the games begin!

THE DAY 7 DOWNLOAD (THAT'S FRIDAY, FOLKS)
Missy Franklin set a new world record on her way to gold in the 200m backstroke. Her time of 2:04.06 beat the old record by 0.75 seconds. Russia's Anastasia Zueva won silver, and American Elizabeth Beisel took bronze. It was Franklin's third gold medal of this Olympics, and her fourth overall.

In his final solo Olympic effort (or so he claims)—the 100m butterflyMichael Phelps turned up the drama. In seventh place at the turn, he kicked it in hard and edged out tied swimmers Chad Le Clos (South Africa) and Evgeny Korotyshkin (Russia) for the gold medal. This marks his third victory in four days and his 17th career gold medal. Today, he competes in his final race, the 4x100m medley relay, where the U.S. team is heavily favored.

Michael Phelps celebrates gold in the 100m butterfly.

Michael Phelps celebrates 100m butterfly success (Getty).

Katie Ledecky, the youngest U.S. Olympian at 15, nearly broke the world record in the process of taking gold in the 800m freestyle. Her closest competitor, Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia, was more than four seconds behind her. Meanwhile, reigning Olympic champ and world record-holder Rebecca Adlington of Britain took bronze.

Serena Williams beat no. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka (Russia) 6-1, 6-2 to advance to this morning's gold medal final in singles tennis against Maria Sharapova (Russia). Though Sharapova is a four-time Grand Slam winner and known for her mental toughness, she hasn't beaten 14-time major winner (including the most recent Wimbledon) Williams since 2004.

Defending Olympic beach volleyball champs Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers were knocked out of contention in the round of 16 by Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai.

Roger Federer (Switzerland) advanced to the gold medal final, but only after a grueling four hour and 26 minute win over Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro. It was the longest three-set match in Olympic history. In a rematch of last month's Wimbledon final (Federer won, if you don't recall), Federer will play Andy Murray in Sunday's final.

  Federer advances to the gold medal game. 

Federer is elated to move on to the final (Getty).

The U.S. women's soccer team advanced to the semi-finals with a 2-0 win over New Zealand. After scoring their first goal, the American women performed choreographed victory cartwheels, much to the chagrin of their opponents.

American Reese Hoffa, the far-and-away favorite in the men's shot put, was only good enough for bronze. Teammate Christian Cantwell came in fourth.

Amy Hastings, Janet Bawcom and Lisa Uhl of Team USA finished within about two seconds of each other in the women's 10K, but their times were only good enough to place 11, 12 and 13. The race went to Kenyan (though she trains in Oregon) Sally Kipyego.

Kipyego takes gold, with no Americans in sight.

Kenya's Kipyego on her way to victory (AP Photo/Jeff Dunham).

WHAT TO WATCH SATURDAY
Tennis—Women's Singles (9-11am, NBC)

There's more than just the gold medal on the line in this final between tennis legend Serena Williams and sometimes-rival Maria Sharapova (see above).

Track & Field—Men's Qualifying Heats (11:15-11:45am, NBC)
Not only will this be your first peek at how the 100m Usain Bolt-Tyson Gay-Yohan Blake rivalry will play out, but it will also be the public's first glimpse of double amputee Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorious in the Olympics as he looks to qualify in the 400m.

Track & Field—Men's 10,000m (4:15-5pm, NBC)
Coming off of a strong Trials performance in the 5,000m, American Galen Rupp looks to stun the world by winning this race. Also stunned would be British superstar Mo Farah, who Rupp hasn't beaten in seven meetings, and defending champion Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia). Though he's had a generally disappointing 2012 to date, Bekele has never lost a race at this distance (that he's finished, anyway).

Track & Field—Women's 100m (8pm-12am, NBC)
Team USA's Carmelita Jeter is perhaps America's best chance to beat the Jamaicans in the 100m dash at this year's Olympics. She had the fastest qualifying time—10.83—putting her ahead of Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare (10.93) and two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica.

Swimming—Finals (8pm-12am, NBC)
Swimming winds down tonight, with finals in the women's 50m freestyle and 4x100 medley relay, plus the men's 1,500m freestyle and 4x100 medley relay (the Americans are favorites, with three individual event gold medalists—including Phelps—and one bronze medalist).

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