Olympics 2012: What to Watch Sunday
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 8 DOWNLOAD
Michael Phelps (butterfly) closed out his Olympic career by winning gold in the 4x100m medley relay, along with teammates Matt Grevers (backstroke), Nathan Adrian (freestyle) and Brendan Hansen (breastroke). The win wasn't unexpected, as the U.S. has never lost a 400m medley relay. The victory marked Phelps' 18th career gold medal and 22nd medal overall. Next up for him: a world tour of golf (even though Mom Phelps thinks he should be going back to college).
In track & field, Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) won the silver medal in the men's 10,000m, finishing just half a second behind his training partner, British superstar Mo Farah. In winning, Farah picked up Britain's third gold medal in only an hour (Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon and Greg Rutherford won the long jump). Top-seeded Tariku Bekele (Ethiopia), who'd never before been beaten at the 10K distance, took bronze at just another half a second back from Rupp.
Serena Williams steamrolled Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 on her way to Olympic gold in women's singles tennis. She's also advanced to tomorrow's gold medal match in women's doubles, along with sister/teammate Venus Williams.
The American women's 4x100m medley relay team of Missy Franklin (backstroke), Allison Schmitt (freestyle), Rebecca Soni (breaststroke) and Dana Vollmer (butterfly) set a world record on their way to gold, beating out second-place Australia by two seconds. Franklin finishes this Olympics with four golds and a bronze, while Schmitt leaves with three golds, a silver and a bronze.
Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce successfully defended her Olympic championship in the 100m dash, edging out Carmelita Jeter of the U.S. by .03 seconds. Her 10.75 finish was the second fastest women's 100m time in Olympic history.
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius stole the show at the morning's track & field qualifying heats. Running on his controversial prosthetic "blades," the double-amputee qualified for the men's 400m semifinals with a 45.44, his second fastest time ever.
The women's triathlon ended in a photo finish, with Switzerland's Nicola Spirig and Swedish athlete Lisa Norden clocking times of 1:59.48. After examining finish line cameras, it was determined that Spirig crossed before Norden to earn gold. Sarah Groff of Team USA finished 12 seconds later, good for fourth.
Three Americans—Ryan Bailey (9.88), Justin Gatlin (9.97) and Tyson Gay (10.08)—ran faster times than Jamaican wunderkind Usain Bolt (10.09) in Round 1 of the men's 100m. Maybe he's beatable, after all.
WHAT TO WATCH SUNDAY
Track & Field—Women's Marathon (6-9am, NBC)
Team USA's Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Davila will face stiff competition. Seven starters have raced sub-2:20, and these three women aren't among them. Mary Keitany of Kenya and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia have the best times in the field, and several Ethiopians and other Kenyans—including reigning world champion Edna Kiplagat—are strong contenders. The Americans will have to be at the very top of their game to medal.
Tennis—Men's Singles (9-11:30am, NBC)
Roger Federer pulled through the longest tennis match in Olympic history (four hours, 26 minutes) to advance to today's final. Now, in a rematch of last month's Wimbledon final (Federer won, if you don't recall), he plays Andy Murray.
*Tennis—Women's Doubles (12-2:15pm, NBC Sports Network) (THIS MATCH IS NOT ON BROADCAST)
The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, look to win their third Olympic doubles gold (2000, 2008) against the Czech Republic's Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká.
Track & Field—Men's 100m Final (8pm-12am, NBC)
After Round 1, it's apparent that defending Olympic champ Usain Bolt is vulnerable. Besides losing to countryman Yohan Blake in the Olympic Trials, he ran slower times than three Americans in Saturday's competition. Saving up his energy for the final? Only time will tell.
Track & Field—Men's Steeplechase (8pm-12am, NBC)
Evan Jager (USA) has the fourth best qualifying time in this grueling, 3,000-meter race where competitors must navigate barriers and water hazards.
Gymnastics—Apparatus Finals (8pm-12am, NBC)
Individual apparatus finals in the men's pommel horse and floor exercise (look for Team USA's Jake Dalton), plus the women's vault (American McKayla Maroney is the reigning world champion and event favorite).
*all times listed are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)