Olympics 2012: What to Watch Thursday

Highlights from Wednesday'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!

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings secured their place in Olympic history yesterday, winning an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal in women's beach volleyball in a 2-0 win over fellow Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy. The legendary pair has never lost an Olympic match. After the victory, May-Treanor announced she's quitting volleyball to start a family, while Walsh Jennings plans to carry on through Rio in 2016.

Lolo Jones cried on the "TODAY Show," because The New York Times said image is more important to her than accomplishment. I bet they feel bad now.

Allyson Felix easily won gold in the women's 200m, beating runner-up (and 100m gold medalist) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price of Jamaica by 0.21 seconds, the largest margin in an Olympic final in 20 years. America's Carmelita Jeter (100m silver medalist) took bronze.

Team USA doubled up in the men's 110m hurdles, with Aries Merritt leading in Jason Richardson for gold and silver, respectively.

A lucrative career for retired gymnasts, it turns out, is joining the circus.

This circus act used to be an Olympian.
Former British gymnast Paul Bowler performs as part of Cirque du Soleil. (Mike Beard)

American long jumper Brittney Reese outdistanced her rivals with a gold-winning final jump of 23', 4.5" Teammate Janay Deloach will take home the bronze.

Swimming—Women's 10k Marathon (11:15-11:30am, 1-1:15pm, 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. Two (of 25) of those sets of sharp limbs in today's final will belong to Americans.

Look at the crazy water bottle hand-offs.
Crazy water bottle hand-offs in the 10k open water swim. (Mike Lewis/OlaVistaPhotography.com)

*Soccer—Women's Final (2:30-5pm, NBC Sports Network) *THIS IS NOT ON BROADCAST
Team USA (who's won three of the last four Olympics) faces Japan in a rematch of the 2011 World Cup final, which Japan won on penalty shots. Since then, Japan has had less ball possession in its games and the U.S. has adopted a more aggressive offense behind the likes of Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach, both good signs for the Americans. However, in matches against Japan this year, they've lost once (March 5) and ended in a draw once (April 1). It could go either way, to be sure.

Water Polo—Women's Final (3-4pm, NBC)
Team USA battles Spain for the gold medal, looking to avenge its one-goal loss to Australia four years ago in the Beijing final.

Track & Field—Men's 200m Final (8pm-12am, NBC)
World record-holder and 100m champion Usain Bolt is looking to double up on golds in this race, though his qualifying time of 20.18 wasn't even close to that of countryman Yohan Blake (20.01). Was he just saving his legs for the final? Only time will tell.

Track & Field—Men's 800m Final (8pm-12am, NBC)
Kenya's David Rudisha is favored to win this race. Rudisha owns five of the 10 fastest times in history, including the world record of 1:41.01, but he's never won Olympic gold.

Track & Field—Men's Triple Jump (8pm-12am, NBC)
Will Claye (Team USA) has the best jump this season—17.7 meters—in a field of 12. In the qualifying round, however, he had the sixth best jump.