Olympics 2012: What to Watch Friday

Highlights from Thursday'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!

Team USA drubbed Australia 86-73 in women's basketball, winning its 40th straight Olympic game, and advancing to its fifth straight gold medal game (which will be against France). Check out this thoughtful piece about America's most dominant—and most ignored—Olympic team.

Usain Bolt took gold in the men's 200m, tying the second fastest time—19.32 seconds—ever run in that event. Leading a Jamaican sweep of the event (Yohan Blake took silver and Warren Weir took bronze), he also became the first person in history to win the 200m in two consecutive Olympics. American Wallace Spearmon took fourth.

American Ashton Eaton is officially the world's greatest all-around athlete, having won gold today in the two-day decathlon with the highest score ever achieved—8,869—in Olympic competition. Teammate Trey Hardee won silver with 8,671.

Team USA won its third straight gold in women's soccer in a 2-1 victory over Japan, avenging its 2011 World Cup loss. Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the Americans. Canada shut out France 1-0 for the bronze.

Connor Fields (USA) advanced to tomorrow's BMX finals, winning each of three qualifying heats. Also, in an unrelated heat, all but one rider crashed in a hilarious/terrible moment.

In the 4x400m relay qualifying heats, American lead-off runner Manteo Mitchell broke his leg halfway around the track, but still held on for a respectable finish time of 46 seconds. His team finished second, good enough to qualify for tonight's finals. It's uknown who will replace him in the final (Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement and Nick Symmonds are all possibilities), but Team USA is talent-rich at this distance.

Seventeen-year-old Claressa Shields won America's first-ever gold in women's boxing, taking down Russian Nadezda Torlopova 17-12 in the middleweight division.

Kenya's David Rudisha broke his own world record on his way to gold in the men's 800m.

A field of 25 women swam 6.2 miles in the open water swim (also known as the 10k marathon), and it still came down to a photo finish between Hungarian Eva Risztov (1:57:38.2) and American Haley Anderson (1:57:38.6). Martina Grimaldi of Italy took bronze.

Team USA doubled up in the triple jump, with Christian Taylor taking gold (17.81 meters) and Will Claye winning silver (17.62 meters).

The American women's water polo team avenged their finals loss from the Beijing Olympics, overpowering Spain 8-5 for the gold medal.

Swimming—Men's 10k Marathon (11:30-11:45am, 12:30-12:45pm, NBC)
This 6.2-mile open water swim event is like a triathlon—all legs and elbows flailing about in close proximity on a lake—without the biking and running portions, of course. One (of 25) of those sets of sharp limbs in today's final will belong to Alex Meyer, the only American in the race and a fourth place finisher at the 2012 Worlds.

Track & Field—Men's 4x400m Final (8pm-12am, NBC)
The U.S. men qualified second to the Bahamas (same time, photo finish), despite their lead runner breaking his leg halfway through his lap. They are still considered top medal contenders. See above for more info.

Track & Field—Women's 4x100m Final (8pm-12am, NBC)
The U.S. women dominated the qualifier for this race, beating their closest opponents by nearly 0.7 seconds (for reference, the time between 2nd and 8th place was 0.43 seconds). They are gold medal favorites.