Olympics 2012: What to Watch Monday
First off, we bring you a recap of the must-know news from the weekend events we were watching, plus some of the drama that unfolded when we weren't.
A large breakaway group managed to stay away from the peloton in the men's road race, despite Britain's wearying effort to grind down the gap and deliver Mark Cavendish for a bunch sprint. Instead, it was Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov who timed his moves perfectly, jumping from the break with 10km to go and taking the gold in his last season of pro racing. USA's Taylor Phinney rollled in eight seconds later, just out of medal contention. Fabian Cancellara crashed hard, raising fears he wouldn't be fit for Wednesday's time trial, but reports are now saying he's OK to ride.
Ryan Lochte struck first in his rivalry with teammate Michael Phelps, taking gold in the 400m IM, while Phelps floundered, coming in fourth.
American Elizabeth Beisel won silver in the 400m IM, avenging her fourth place finish in this event in Beijing. Coming in first was China's Ye Shiwen, who set a new world record along the way.
Dutch rider Marianne Vos outsprinted Britain's Lizzie Armitstead by more than a bike-length in the women's cycling road race, taking gold in the pouring rain. In doing so, the perpetual runner-up broke the curse that's overshadowed her last five years of competition. She finished sixth in Beijing, and second place at five consecutive world road race championships.
The men's 4x100m relay was markedly similar to the last Olympics, only with the opposite result. In Beijing, American anchor swimmer Jason Lezak came back from an impossible deficit by swimming the fastest 100m split ever and edging out France for gold. This time, anchor swimmer Ryan Lochte was overtaken by France's Yannick Agnel, despite beginning his leg with nearly a body-length lead (click here for an interesting analysis of Lochte's inclusion in the relay). Team USA settled for silver. The "powerhouse" Australians, meanwhile, finished out of contention.
Al Bello/Getty Images
American comeback kid Dana Vollmer set a world record in the 100m butterfly after eight years away from the Olympics. The 24-year-old first won gold as part of the 4x200m freestyle team in Athens in 2004, but failed to qualify in any events for Bejing in 2008.
Skeet shooter Kim Rhode hit 99 out of 100 clay pigeons to become the first American ever to medal in five consecutive Olympics. Her almost-perfect score earned the 33-year-old sharp shooter her third gold medal. Chances are she'll be back to compete in Rio in 2016.
A fairly new Olympic rule prevented reigning world gymnastics all-around champion Jordyn Wieber from advancing to the individual all-around finals, despite earning the fourth best qualifying score. The rule, in place since the Athens Olympics, limits each country to only two women among the 24 competing in the finals. Since her teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas finished second and third, respectively (Russia's Viktoria Komova was first), she won't be able to defend her world championship.
WHAT TO WATCH: MONDAY, JULY 30
Swimming—Women’s 100m Backstroke Final (8pm-12am, NBC)
See 17-year-old phenom Missy Franklin—the “female Michael Phelps—go for gold in her first of four individual events. She’s also set to take part in three relays, setting a record for the most Olympics events a woman has ever qualified for.
Swimming—Women’s 100m Breaststroke Final (8pm-12am, NBC)
Until less than a month ago, Breeja Larson, 20, was unknown among elite swimmers. Then she won the 100m breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials, taking down heavy favorites Jessica Hardy and 2008 silver medalist Rebecca Soni in the process. “I never heard of her before,” Hardy said after finishing third that race. Neither had we, but we hope to hear more after this race.