Thursday at the Olympic Games: Ashton Eaton tries to wrap up the decathlon, Usain Bolt runs again, and the U.S. women play for the water polo gold.
Oh, and the USA and Japan will play a rematch of their classic World Cup final from last summer.
WHAT HAPPENED WEDNESDAY
I admit it. I looked at my projections for Wednesday and thought, “Oh, no — I picked the USA to win four golds in track and field. That won’t happen.”
Well, no, it didn’t. They just won three. And two silvers. And two bronzes. In four events:
- Men’s 110 hurdles: Aries Merritt gold, Jason Richardson silver
- Women’s long jump: Brittney Reese gold, Janay Deloach bronze
- Women’s 200: Allyson Felix gold, Carmelita Jeter bronze
- Women’s 400 hurdles: Lashinda Demus silver
Those were all the track and field finals from Wednesday. Also, most U.S. athletes advanced through their heats. Then there’s the small matter of the decathlon, where Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee are 1-2 as predicted.
But wait, there’s more. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings capped their glorious career with another gold, beating April Ross and Jen Kessy in the all-American beach volleyball final. Claressa Shields clinched at least a silver in boxing. Clarissa Chun fought through a brutal draw to take bronze in wrestling.
Yet aside from the U.S. men’s hoops team making an emphatic fourth-quarter statement against Australia, it was a dreary day for U.S. men’s teams. The water polo team’s little slide in the group stage carried over to an 8-2 quarterfinal ouster. The volleyball team that was so impressive in winning its group lost in straight sets to Italy.
Worst of all for me, Iceland’s handball team lost a classic two-overtime battle with Hungary, which somehow won its handball quarterfinal but not its water polo quarterfinal. Strange.
MEDAL PROJECTION UPDATE
Did I not tell you the USA would surpass China? The gold medal count may still in doubt. Overall medals? It would take some really surprising results at this point.
My wrestling and taekwondo picks were OK. Equestrian and canoe/kayak? Not really.
But China has fallen into second place in another category — my “underprojected” count.
Underprojected: South Korea 5, China 4, Canada 4. Then a funny thing about the next ones — North Korea, Mexico and Colombia are all at 4, with 5 actual medals to 1 projected medal. South Africa can top that — I picked them for 0 so far, and they have 4. The gaggle at an underprojection of 3 is a bit higher in the medal count — Netherlands, Denmark, Cuba.
Overprojected: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie … oy. They’re the big leaders at 8. Then it’s Turkey at 6. Germany and Britain are at 5, but no one in Britain seems the least bit worried at this point. Brazil and New Zealand are at 4. And it’s a diverse group at 3 — Chinese Taipei (only 1 of a projected 4), Slovakia, Kenya and Italy.
Russia is back in “underprojected” territory — 51 projected, 52 actual.
THURSDAY’S VIEWING RECOMMENDATIONS
The schedule’s getting thinner. The networks don’t even sign on until 8 a.m. Not sure what NBC Sports Network is showing that’s more important than the open-water race, but …
- 4:00: Track and field, decathlon, 110 hurdles
- 4:00: Taekwondo, women’s 57kg/men’s 68kg preliminary round. Another four-hour session. U.S. entries listed separately.
- 4:15: Taekwondo, men’s 68kg preliminary round, Terrence Jennings.
- 4:30: Canoe/sprint, men’s C2 1,000 final. Picks: GER-ROU-AZE
- 4:30: Track and field, women’s high jump qualifiers. Newcomer Brigetta Barrett joins experienced contender Chaunte Lowe and really experienced Amy Acuff, who made a terrific comeback to make the team.
- 4:48: Canoe/sprint, men’s K4 1,000 final. Picks: CZE-GER-DEN
- 4:50: Track and field, decathlon, discus.
- 5:00: Diving, women’s platform semis.
- 5:08: Canoe/sprint, women’s K1 500 final. Picks: UKR-GER-HUN
- 5:35: Canoe/sprint, women’s K2 500 final. Picks: GER-POL-HUN
- 6:35: Track and field, men’s 4×400 relay heats. USA looking to bounce back from failing to get a runner in 400 final. But other teams don’t look any stronger.
- 7:00: Swimming, women’s 10k open water. Picks: GBR-ITA-GRE
- 7:00: Rhythmic gymnastics, individual qualifiers. Metro DC’s own Julie Zetlin.
- 7:00: Sailing, women’s match race, placements 5-8
- 7:30: Taekwondo, women’s 57kg preliminary round, Diana Lopez.
- 7:30: Equestrian, dressage final. Picks: NED-GER-NED
- 7:55: Track and field, decathlon, pole vault
- 8:00, NBC Sports Network: Women’s soccer, bronze medal game, Canada-France.
- 8:00: Sailing, men’s 470, medal race. Australian and Britain dueling for gold. Picks: AUS-GBR-CRO
- 8:07: Wrestling, women’s 72kg qualification. Ali Bernard.
- 8:14: Wrestling, women’s 55kg round of 16. Kelsey Campbell.
9 a.m.: MSNBC signs on with dressage.
- 9:03: Wrestling, women’s 72kg round of 16. Best guess at when Ali Bernard would wrestle.
- 9:10: Wrestling, women’s 55kg quarterfinals.
- 9:38: Wrestling, women’s 72kg quarterfinals.
- 9:50: Rhythmic gymnastics, team qualifiers.
- 10:00: Women’s volleyball, semifinals, USA-South Korea.
- 10:00: BMX, men’s quarterfinals.
- 10:00: Taekwondo, women’s 57kg/men’s 68kg quarterfinals.
- 10:00: Sailing, women’s match race, placement 5-6 and 7-8.
- 10:00, NBC: Synchronized swimming, team technical routine.
- 10:06, NBC Sports Network: Wrestling, women’s 55kg semifinals.
- 10:20, NBC Sports Network: Wrestling, women’s 72kg semifinals.
- 11:00, MSNBC: Men’s field hockey, semifinals, Germany-Australia.
- 11:30: Boxing, women’s fly final, Ren Cancan (China)-Nicola Adams (Britain). Picks: GBR-CHN-IND-RUS
- 11:45: Boxing, women’s lightweight final, Katie Taylor (Ireland)-Sofya Ochigava (Russia). Picks: IRL-RUS-GBR-CHN
- 12:00, NBC Sports Network: Women’s basketball, semifinal, USA-Australia
- 12:00: Taekwondo, women’s 57kg/men’s 68kg semifinals.
- 12:15: Boxing, women’s middleweight final, Claressa Shields (USA)-Nadezda Torlopova (Russia). Picks: GBR-RUS-USA-CAN
- 12:30, MSNBC: Women’s handball, semifinals, Norway-South Korea.
- 12:45: Wrestling, women’s 55kg/72kg repechage/bronze.
- 1:30: Track and field, decathlon, javelin
- 1:40, NBC: Women’s water polo, bronze medal game, Australia-Hungary.
- 2:00, MSNBC: Beach volleyball, men’s bronze medal match. Latvia-Netherlands
- 2:00: Diving, women’s platform final. Picks: CHN-CHN-MEX
- 2:03: Wrestling, women’s 55kg final. Picks: JPN-CAN-AZE-RUS
- 2:20: Track and field, men’s triple jump final. Will Claye and Christian Taylor look solid. Picks: USA-GBR-USA
- 2:28: Wrestling, women’s 72kg final. Picks: BUL-RUS-USA-CHN
- 2:30: Women’s volleyball, semifinal, Brazil-Japan.
- 2:30: Track and field, women’s 800 semis.
- 2:45, NBC Sports Network: Women’s soccer, gold medal game. USA-Japan. Picks: USA-JPN-SWE
- 3:00, NBC: Women’s water polo, gold medal game, USA-Spain. Picks: USA-AUS-RUS
- 3:00: Track and field, men’s 800 final. Can Nick Symmonds really do it? Picks: KEN-SUD-USA
- 3:00, MSNBC: Taekwondo, women’s 57kg/men’s 68kg repechage/bronze
- 3:20: Track and field, women’s 4×100 relay heats. Don’t drop the baton.
- 3:55: Track and field, men’s 200 final. Bolt, Bolt, Bolt, Bolt (and Blake and Spearmon). Picks: JAM-JAM-USA
- 4:00: Track and field, women’s javelin final. Picks: CZE-RSA-GER
- 4:00, MSNBC: Women’s basketball, semifinal, Russia-France.
- 4:00, NBC: Beach volleyball, gold medal match. Brazil-Germany. I’ve missed a pick here. Picks: USA-BRA-GER
- 4:20: Track and field, decathlon, 1,500 (final event). Picks: USA-USA-GER
- 5:00: Taekwondo, women’s 57kg final. Picks: CHN-GBR-CRO-USA
- 5:15: Taekwondo, men’s 68kg final. Picks: IRI-TUR-GBR-JOR
Also other semifinals in women’s handball and men’s field hockey. And placement games in men’s field hockey and women’s water polo.
Check the full schedule for time updates and results throughout the day: London2012.com
You know who actually has the best glance of how Americans are faring? Wikipedia.
I’ll be doing this daily during the Games. As a reminder, you’ll also find my work at Bleacher Report, and I’ll be helping Trapit capture the best Olympic news sources. Follow @TrapitSports or all Olympic-related Trapit feeds on Twitter for more.