Olympics 2012: What to Watch Wednesday

Highlights from Tuesday'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!

WHAT HAPPENED TUESDAY
Team USA turned in a near-perfect performance to win gold in the artistic gymnastic women's team final, coming out a whopping five points ahead of second-place Russia.

Frenchman Tony Estanguet took his third straight Olympic championship in whitewater canoe singles (C-1).

Michael Phelps won his 18th and 19th career Olympic medals, securing his place in history as the winningest Olympian ever. The 18th, a silver in the 200m butterfly, was something of a disappointment, since he's commanded that event on the world stage for the past eight years. In the 4x200m relay, though, his teammates Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens gave him a commanding enough lead that not even France's Yannick Agnel could catch him to snatch away gold, despite swimming a faster leg.

Swimmer Allison Schmitt set a new Olympic and American record—1:53.61—in the 200m freestyle, which was good enough for gold.

The American women's soccer team defeated North Korea 1-0, giving them a perfect record in the first round of qualifying play. Forward Abby Wambach scored the lone goal, giving her a goal in every game so far.

Two of the top seeded women's badminton teams—China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang and South Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na—tried to deliberately throw their match yesterday. Both teams had already qualified for the quaterfinal, so they played poorly on purpose in order to draw an easier team in the next round. The audience booed and jeered them, and the IOC is considering taking disciplinay action against them.

China's Ye Shiwen, suspected of doping since shattering the 400m IM world record (as a dark horse competitor, too), easily took gold in Tuesday's 200m IM final, too. Her coaches continue to support her claim that she's never taken performance-enhancing drugs.

WHAT TO WATCH WEDNESDAY, AUG. 1
*Cycling—Women’s Time Trial (7:30-8:45am, NBC Sports Network)
American Kristin Armstrong crushed the time trial in Beijing, but has since retired and given birth to a baby boy. In 2010, she returned to cycling and—unlike the other, more famous Armstrong—has returned to form, winning all eight time trials she’s raced since then. Look for her to set the gold standard once again. (*This is NOT on broadcast television.)

Cycling—Men’s Time Trial (10-11am, NBC)
This race could well be the feather in the cap of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, who dominated both individual time trials in the Tour. In both stages, he beat reigning world champion Tony Martin and former champ Fabian Cancellara by a minute or more.

Canoe/Kayak—Men’s Whitewater K-1 Final (2:30-3pm, NBC)
Top contenders in this race include current (and two-time) world champion and heavy favorite Peter Kauzer from Slovenia, and French paddler Etienne Daille, who comes from Olympic-caliber paddling stock (his parents paddled for France and Czechoslovakia) and has had an impressive 2012 world cup season. American Scott Parsons should make the final, which makes him a potential (if long shot) podium contender.

Swimming—Finals Galore (8pm-12am, NBC)
There's plenty of swimming to see tonight, including finals in the men’s 200m breaststroke and 100m freestyle (Team USA's Nathan Adrian has the second best qualifying time, after Australia's James "The Missile" Magnussen), plus the women’s 200m butterfly (America's Kathleen Hersey is top-seeded) and 4x200m freestyle relay.

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