U.S. Paralympic swimmers find London to their liking

The USA stands sixth in the overall medal count at the Paralympics, where China has been dominant.

As in the Olympics, the USA is strong in swimming, with a mix of veterans from past Games and veterans of a different sort.

Jessica Long, whose legs don’t extend past her knees, has been winning Olympic gold since she was 12. Now 20, she’s likely to surpass her 2008 medal haul of four golds, a silver and a bronze. She already has three golds and a silver. And you may have seen her in commercials:

Newer on the Paralympic scene is Brad Snyder. Less than a year ago, he lost his sight in an explosion in Afghanistan. (The Post also has a photo gallery.) He has two medals and seems to be one of the friendliest interview subjects you could ever meet:

A few other Paralympic notes:

– Oscar Pistorius is apologizing for griping about his opponent’s prosthetic blades just after he took silver in the men’s 200 meters. Gareth Davies, a name some of you might recognize from MMA circles, wonders if Pistorius has destroyed his “brand.”

– Soccer fans should check out Jefinho. As you can guess from the name, he’s Brazilian. And he does 1-on-4 dribbling with mesmerizing foot action. He plays in the 5-a-side soccer variety, which means he can’t see what he’s doing.

Closing ceremony chatterColdplay, Rihanna and now Jay-Z.

– A Paralympic-specific method of cheating called “boosting” sounds gruesome. And even die-hard steroid fans would have to concede the risks.

Prince Harry is still checking out the Games. The U.S. media are not.

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Weekend Paralympic links

The Paralympic Games start Wednesday with the opening ceremony. Then we’ll have archery, track cycling, equestrian, goalball, judo, powerlifting, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball on Thursday

No, I’m not doing medal projections. That’s a bit too complicated. But I will grab some of the more interesting things I see and pass them along.

Like so:

Tatyana McFadden is doing five events ranging from the 100 meters to the marathon. Let’s see Usain Bolt top THAT.

– Need a guide to the Paralympic classifications? Give it a try.

– A Norwich charity is helping North Korea participate in the Paralympics for the first time.

– The Paralympic torch made a ceremonial stop in Trafalgar Square.

Olympic legacy: White elephants, tourist attractions or training centers?

You may have seen some of the depressing photos of abandoned Olympic venues in recent days — from Beijing, from Athens, from all over.

Is the USA doing any better? A travel-planning site called RoadTrippers sent out a release today highlighting a few thriving venues from Squaw Valley (though it’s labeled as the “only venue in use from ’60 Winter Olympics”), the Lake Placid center that saw Sonja Henie in 1932 and the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980, the still-useful speedskating oval and Olympic Park from Salt Lake City, and the still-dancing fountains at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park.

Winter Olympics are mostly about using a couple of arenas and putting up temporary stands for skiing and snowboarding events. The biggest questions are the sliding track (luge, skeleton, bobsled) and the ski jumps. Sarajevo, as seen above, has a couple of nasty leftovers, but the region had more pressing issues in the 90s. Salt Lake City is happily using its facilities. The bobsled/skeleton federation has events in Cesana (2006) and Whistler (2010) this winter. Getting into the mix in ski jumping is more difficult, with so many facilities in Europe hosting traditional stops. Whistler Olympic Park as a whole gets some use, but the Canadian ski jumpers seem to prefer Calgary, another former Olympic host.

The Summer Games can be trickier. One good reason for that: They’re huge.

The best way to save costs and minimize abandonment, of course, is to use a lot of pre-existing facilities. Atlanta got by with a lot of college gyms and pools. Some specialized facilities, like the Georgia International Horse Park and the beach volleyball venue, segued nicely into other uses. The tennis center’s fate is still in the air. As for the shooting center, Wikipedia states with no source other than common sense that it’s difficult to attract major competition when Fort Benning isn’t that far away.

Sydney 2000 changed the rules. Tons of new venues, mostly concentrated in one big park. But in sports-mad Australia, those facilities were welcomed and mostly still in use. One arena has even hosted multiple UFC cards.

Then, alas, came Athens. Greece simply couldn’t afford the Olympics, much less the upkeep afterwards. It’s no surprise to see abandoned facilities in the pictures above.

Beijing shocks me. And it shocks someone at Deadspin who calls the “ruin porn” pictures “dishonest crap.” Several of those venues were supposed to be temporary. The Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are tourist attractions near the big convention centers that housed us friendly media types and a few competitions during the Games. And I don’t know what they’re supposed to do with the canoe slalom course built in the middle of nowhere.

The picture that makes the least sense to me, though, is the beach volleyball picture. That was supposed to be a temporary facility, and it’s in a busy neighborhood. You’d think it would’ve been torn down between the twin forces of national pride and locals wanting their park back.

London also went with some temporary facilities. Others will go to local club teams — Wimbledon fans will note the irony in a basketball team leaving Milton Keynes to go to London and play in the “Copper Box.” Cycling-mad English folks will probably figure out a use for the velodrome.

You’d think the IOC would have some consideration for the expense of all these venues when it ponders the Olympic program. You’d think. But they added golf to the 2016 Games. And Rio had to start taking bids. Then they get the joy of securing a golf course. Maybe Tiger can pay for it.

2012 medal projection redux: What we learned

Update: This is now adjusted to reflect our first doping case: Belarus loses gold, New Zealand up to gold, Russia up to silver, China up to bronze. That’s one more medal for China.

When we started, I said I thought the Wall Street Journal had the best projection model. I’d say they were pretty close.

Here’s the table, updated with the “actual” column:

Table 32 – Sheet1

xxx

I added up the differences between the actual and each of the picks for these 10 countries. Here’s what I wound up with:

  • 32: Wall Street Journal
  • 38: Sports Illustrated
  • 55: SportsMyriad
  • 58: Infostrada/USA TODAY
  • 58: Tuck School of Business model
  • 79: Johnson/Colorado College model
It’s a band of pastry chefs! No, wait — those are American gold medalists. Look, enough with the designers — the next Olympic uniforms should be designed by Levi Strauss.

So what have we learned?

1. It pays to go sport-by-sport. Call it the philosophy major’s revenge over the economists. (Kidding!)

2. As expected, the WSJ effort’s to factor in probabilities paid off pretty well.

3. SI’s pretty good at this.

4. I put too much faith in the home-country bump. But I had a feeling that would be the case.

One more bit of numbers to toss out: How far off was I in predicting gold medals? Let’s take a look:

Overprojected: USA 9, Japan 7, Australia 6, Kenya 4. Tied at 3: Greece, Slovakia, Iran, Britain.

Underprojected: South Korea 5, Hungary 5, France 4, North Korea 4. Tied at 3: China, Kazakhstan, Cuba, South Africa.

Want to dig into any more numbers? Knock yourself out.

The fun part: This is only the beginning. I’ve compiled too much data to stop now. I’m going to start building out pages on Olympic sports with the goal that we’ll know roughly what to expect in World Championships. Then we’ll adjust those pages with World Championship results so that we can rev up in 2015 with projections for 2016.

And I’ll do the same for winter sports. We have considerably fewer of those.

Only 543 days until Sochi!

Update: The WSJ is pretty happy with its projections.

Olympic Daily Glance, Day 16 — Out with a bang (modern pentathlon)

Sunday at the Olympic Games: Can you guess the last event of the Olympics? All by itself, unless one of the team sports goes into quintuple-overtime. And then the competitors have about 2 1/2 hours to get over the closing ceremony. Unless you’re on NBC time.

Speaking of NBC, though, the day is so light that you may see just about everything on one of the networks. Given the “Olympic Event(s) TBA” on the schedule, you may see some things more than once. The only sad part is the knowledge that you’ll be watching some of this after the athletes have packed up and headed over for closing.

The awkward part for NBC and U.S. media in general: Not a lot of Americans here. The only team finalist is in men’s hoops, and there are no American boxing finalists. That leaves five individual events with Americans involved, and they’re not favored in any of them.

So this is it. Then I’ll start going through the highlights to see all the stuff I missed.

WHAT HAPPENED SATURDAY

Not a bad start for the USA on the final big day of competition. Georgia Gould took bronze on the treacherous mountain bike course, and U.S. wrestlers got into medal contention. Only one of the wrestlers, Coleman Scott, was able to convert the opportunity for bronze.

The marquee U.S. women’s teams split — gold in basketball, silver in volleyball.

The U.S. tracksters had a couple of agonizing near-misses, particularly the fourth-place finish for redoubtable veteran Bernard Lagat. But Brigetta Barnett took a surprising silver in the high jump. And the relays got around the track without incident, leading to a rather predictable gold in the women’s 4×400 and a close second to world record-setting Jamaica in the 4×100. The U.S. squad of Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey set an American record — a staggering achievement when you think back over the years.

Then came the shocker: David Boudia upset the Chinese divers to win on the platform.

Mexico kept Brazil away from its long-coveted soccer gold and perhaps made a few U.S. fans shudder at the thought of the future.

MEDAL PROJECTION UPDATE

Again, I nailed an eclectic batch of events — women’s 4×400 relay, women’s 20k walk, women’s high jump. I had the right medals but the wrong order (gold and silver reversed) in the men’s platform diving and men’s hockey. And yes, I nailed the rhythmic gymnastics all-around.

Britain won’t meet my ridiculously high projection, but it still has a shot at the 66 medals the Wall Street Journal projected. And hey — UK Sports itself only sought “a minimum” of 48.

The USA will fall a good bit short of my picks and just slightly short of the Wall Street Journal’s total of 108.

China is now only three medals ahead of projections.

Overprojected: Britain 13, USA 9, Australia 8, Germany 7, Greece 4, Azerbaijan 4, Russia 4.

Underprojected: Colombia 7, Ukraine 6, Spain 5, North Korea 5. Tied at 4: South Korea, Netherlands, Cuba, Mexico, South Africa, Georgia.

SUNDAY’S VIEWING RECOMMENDATIONS

Since nearly everything is televised at some point, I’m including some extra info about broadcast times.

3-4 a.m.:

  • 3:00: Modern pentathlon, women’s fencing phase. (see 9 a.m.)
  • 3:30: Wrestling, 66kg/96kg qualifications (MSNBC picks up at 7 a.m.)
  • 4:00: Wrestling, 66kg/96kg round of 16
  • 4:30: Men’s volleyball, bronze medal match, Bulgaria-Italy.**

5 a.m.:

  • 5:00: Wrestling, 66kg/96kg quarterfinals
  • 5:20: Men’s water polo, seventh-place game, USA-Australia.
  • 5:30: Wrestling, 66kg/96kg semifinals

6 a.m.:

  • 6:00, NBC: Track and field, men’s marathon. Picks: KEN-ETH-ETH
  • 6:00, NBC Sports Network: Men’s basketball, bronze medal game, Argentina-Russia.
  • 6:00: Men’s handball, bronze medal game, Hungary-Croatia. (NBC Sports Network at 7:45)
  • 6:40: Men’s water polo, fifth-place game, Spain-Hungary.

7 a.m.: MSNBC will catch us up on wrestling. NBC Sports Network offers up men’s handball bronze at 7:45.

  • 7:35: Modern pentathlon, women’s swimming phase. (see 9 a.m.)
  • 7:45, MSNBC: Wrestling, 66kg/96kg repechage/bronze

8 a.m.:

  • 8:00: Men’s volleyball, gold medal match, Russia-Brazil.** Picks: POL-USA-BRA
  • 8:30, MSNBC: Cycling, men’s mountain bike. Picks: CZE-SUI-FRA
  • 8:30, CNBC: Boxing, men’s fly final, Mongolia-Cuba. Picks: RUS-GBR-USA-ITA
  • 8:30: Rhythmic gymnastics, group final. Picks: ITA-BLR-RUS
  • 8:45, CNBC: Boxing, men’s light final, Ukraine-South Korea. Picks: UKR-ITA-KAZ-CUB

9 a.m.: NBC Sports Network catches us up on modern pentathlon (fencing and swimming).

  • 9:03: Wrestling, 66kg final.** Picks: IRI-JPN-AZE-RUS
  • 9:15, CNBC: Boxing, men’s welter final, Britain-Kazakhstan. Picks: KAZ-UKR-GBR-LTU
  • 9:30, NBC Sports Network: Men’s water polo, bronze medal game. Montenegro-Serbia. Picks: SRB-ITA-CRO
  • 9:35: Modern pentathlon, women’s riding phase.**
  • 9:45, CNBC: Boxing, men’s light heavy final, Russia-Kazakhstan. Picks: ALG-CUB-AUS-IRL
  • 9:48: Wrestling, 96kg final.** Picks: IRI-BLR-TUR-AZE

10 a.m.: MSNBC has “Olympic Events” (maybe U.S. game in water polo placement? Or rhythmic gymnastics?) from 10-11. And that’s the last broadcast on that network. NBC Sports Network will show men’s handball on slight delay; start set for 10:45.

  • 10:00: NBC: Men’s basketball, gold medal game, USA-Spain. This will end after the CNBC boxing final and will therefore be the final live event broadcast on TV. Picks: USA-ESP-BRA
  • 10:00, NBC Sports Network: Men’s handball, gold medal game, Sweden-France. Picks: DEN-FRA-ESP
  • 10:15, CNBC: Boxing, men’s super heavy final, Italy-Britain. Picks: GBR-ITA-AZE-CUB
  • 10:50: Men’s water polo, gold medal game, Croatia-Italy.**

11 a.m.: Nothing new, but you can stick with hoops, handball and water polo. Still not the last event of the Games.

Noon: Water polo might still be in progress. Men’s basketball would need to be in overtime. So you might have nothing live to watch, though some delayed broadcasts (see below) pick up during the hour. Still not the last event of the Games.

1:00 p.m.: Are you ready? Everyone flipping on their computers for one last live stream from the Olympics? OK, here you go …

  • 1:00 Modern pentathlon, women’s shooting/running phase (final).** Picks: GBR-GER-LTU

4 p.m.: Closing ceremony. Not that I recommend illegal online streams.**

————————————–

** Delayed broadcasts

  • 12:30, NBC: Men’s water polo, gold medal game
  • 12:45, NBC Sports Network: Men’s volleyball, bronze medal match
  • 2:45, NBC: Wrestling, wrapup.
  • 2:45, NBC Sports Network: Modern pentathlon, women’s wrapup.
  • 3:45, NBC Sports Network: Olympic Events TBA. The only events I see that aren’t set for broadcast elsewhere are the handball final, rhythmic gymnastics final, water polo placement games and perhaps some early wrestling rounds.
  • 4:00, NBC: Men’s volleyball, gold medal game.
  • 7:00, NBC: Prime-time, focusing on closing ceremony.

Check the full schedule for time updates and results throughout the day: London2012.com

REMINDERS

Full TV listings: NBCOlympics.com
Full online listings: Also NBCOlympics.com

You know who actually has the best glance of how Americans are faring? Wikipedia.

I did this daily during the Games. As a reminder, you’ll also find my work at Bleacher Report — I should have a couple more pieces done Sunday. I also helped Trapit capture the best Olympic news sources. Follow @TrapitSports or all Olympic-related Trapit feeds on Twitter for more.

Olympic Daily Glance, Day 15 — The penultimate

Saturday at the Olympic Games: Enjoy today. Not much to see Sunday. This afternoon, the medals will be flying.

WHAT HAPPENED FRIDAY

Two outstanding U.S. performances. The women’s 4×100 relay (Tianna Madison, Bianca Knight, Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter) set a world record of 40.82 seconds. And wrestler Jordan Burroughs had a thrilling, occasionally flashy run to the gold medal.

Aside from that and the requisite U.S. men’s hoops explosion against Argentina, it was a slow day for the USA.  The men’s 4×400 relay was run down on the last leg by the surprising team from Bahamas. Paige McPherson beat world champion Sarah Stevenson and wound up with bronze in taekwondo.

Spain rallied past Russia to face the USA in the men’s hoops final. South Korea won the men’s soccer bronze. France and Sweden advanced to the men’s handball final. It’ll be Brazil-Russia in men’s volleyball, Italy-Croatia in men’s water polo.

MEDAL PROJECTION UPDATE

I nailed some diverse events — men’s pole vault, women’s field hockey and team synchronized swimming. The bad news: I was one-for-eight in taekwondo. The women’s 5,000 was amusing: projection KEN-ETH-KEN, actual ETH-KEN-ETH-KEN-ETH-KEN.

The USA’s so-so day leaves them trailing my projections. They’re safely ahead of China. They’re not going to reach the 113 I projected, and they probably won’t reach the 108 in the next-highest (Wall Street Journal) of the compared projections. The three medals they have in the bag (women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball) will bring them to 97. They’ll get two more in relays unless they drop the batons, getting up to 99 (SI’s projection and Johnson’s projection). Get one more, and it’s 100.

China has 81 and should get the three more to match my projected 84. Maybe not much more.

I picked Russia to finish ahead of China overall. It’s still possible. Russia is only one medal off my projection and should have a very big day Saturday.

Britain’s doing quite well. I just gave them a few too many home-field advantages in my projections.

Huge day for Turkey, which has plummeted in my overprojected category. And thanks to BMX, of all sports, we have a new leader in the underprojected.

Overprojected: Britain 9, Australia 8, Germany 7, USA 7, Greece 4. Tied at 3: Slovakia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kenya.

Underprojected: Colombia 7, South Korea 5, North Korea 5. Tied at 4: Netherlands, Ukraine, Spain, Cuba, South Africa. Tied at 3: Canada, Mexico, Georgia, Argentina, Tunisia.

SATURDAY’S VIEWING RECOMMENDATIONS

3-4 a.m.:

  • 3:30: Men’s hockey, 11th-place game, South Africa-India.
  • 3:45: Modern pentathlon, men’s fencing stage.
  • 4:00, NBC Sports Network: Track and field, men’s 50k race walk. Don’t worry — it’ll still be going when you wake up. Picks: RUS-AUS-JPN
  • 4:00: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg/men’s 80kg preliminaries. No Americans in these classes. Four hours of competition.
  • 4:30: Canoe/kayak, men’s K1 200m final.  Picks: GBR-POL-GER
  • 4:47: Canoe/kayak, men’s C1 200m final.  Picks: AZE-ESP-RUS
5 a.m.:
  • 5:00: Diving, men’s platform semifinals.
  • 5:14: Canoe/kayak, women’s K1 200m final.  Picks: POL-NZL-AUS
  • 5:41: Canoe/kayak, men’s K2 200m final.  Picks: GBR-FRA-RUS

6 a.m.:

  • 6:30: Men’s hockey, fifth-place game, Spain-Belgium.
  • 6:30: Women’s volleyball, bronze medal game, Japan-South Korea.

7 a.m.:

  • 7:00: Sailing, women’s match racing, petite final.
  • 7:30: Cycling, women’s mountain bike.  Picks: CAN-POL-ITA

8 a.m.: NBC Sports Network lists two hours of taekwondo.

  • 8:00: Wrestling, 60kg/84kg/120kg freestyle qualification round.
  • 8:05: Sailing, women’s match racing, final. USA didn’t make it. Picks: USA-GBR-FIN
  • 8:18: Wrestling, 120kg round of 16. Tervel Dlagnev vs. Egypt’s Eldesoky Shaban.
  • 8:20: Modern pentathlon, men’s swimming stage.
  • 8:27: Wrestling, 60kg round of 16. Coleman Scott vs. South Korea’s Seungchul Lee.
  • 8:30: Rhythmic gymnastics, individual all-around final.  Picks: RUS-RUS-BLR

9 a.m.:

  • 9:03: Wrestling, 84kg round of 16. Jake Herbert vs. Cuba’s Humberto Arencibia Martinez.
  • 9:30: Wrestling, 60kg/84kg/120kg freestyle quarterfinals.

10 a.m.: NBC signs on with the morning canoe/kayak, then the women’s volleyball bronze medal game. MSNBC sums up previous modern pentathlon stages.

  • 10:00, NBC Sports Network: Men’s soccer, gold medal game, Brazil-Mexico. Well, I got one medalist right. Picks: BRA-ESP-GBR
  • 10:00: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg/men’s 80kg quarterfinals.
  • 10:30: Wrestling, 60kg/84kg/120kg freestyle semifinals.
  • 10:20: Modern pentathlon, men’s riding stage.
  • 10:30, MSNBC: Men’s hockey, bronze medal game, Australia-Britain.

11 a.m.:

  • Ummm …. keep watching the soccer game?

Noon: We’ll get a peek at the women’s mountain bike at 12:45 on NBC.

  • 12:00, NBC Sports Network: Track and field, women’s 20k race walk.  Picks: RUS-RUS-CHN
  • 12:00, MSNBC: Women’s basketball, bronze medal game, Australia-Russia.
  • 12:00: Women’s handball, bronze medal game, South Korea-Spain.
  • 12:00: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg/men’s 80kg semifinals.
  • 12:45: Wrestling, 60kg/84kg/120kg freestyle repechage/bronze.

1 p.m.: NBC shows rhythmic gymnastics.

  • 1:30: Women’s volleyball, gold medal game, USA-Brazil.  Picks: USA-BRA-CHN
  • 1:45, MSNBC: Modern pentathlon, men’s shooting/running stage (final).  Picks: RUS-RUS-HUN
  • 1:46: Wrestling, 60kg final.  Picks: RUS-JPN-AZE-PUR

2 p.m.: NBC peeks at the women’s mountain bike before picking up wrestling. Then it goes back to the mountain bike. NBC Sports Network has delay on women’s handball bronze game. MSNBC lists taekwondo at 2:15.

  • 2:00: Track and field, women’s high jump final. Picks: RUS-USA-RUS
  • 2:20: Track and field, men’s javelin final.  Picks: CZE-NOR-GER
  • 2:21: Wrestling, 84kg final.  Picks: AZE-UKR-USA-UZB
  • 2:30: Track and field, men’s 5,000 final.  Picks: GBR-ETH-USA
  • 2:56: Wrestling, 120kg final.  Picks: RUS-GEO-UZB-USA

3 p.m.: NBC leaves it vague: “Olympic programming.”

  • 3:00, MSNBC: Men’s hockey, gold medal game, Germany-Netherlands. Picks: AUS-NED-GBR
  • 3:00: Track and field, women’s 800 final.  Picks: RUS-KEN-RSA
  • 3:00: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg/men’s 80kg repechage/bronze.
  • 3:25: Track and field, women’s 4×400 relay.  Picks: USA-RUS-JAM
  • 3:30, CNBC: Boxing, men’s light fly final. China’s Zou Shiming vs. Thailand.  Picks: CHN-MGL-RUS-KOR
  • 3:30: Diving, men’s platform final.  Picks: CHN-USA-GBR
  • 3:30, NBC Sports Network: Women’s handball, gold medal game, Norway-Montenegro. Yes, Montenegro.  Picks: NOR-FRA-RUS
  • 3:45, CNBC: Boxing, men’s bantam final. Ireland’s John Joe Nevin vs. Britain’s Luke Campbell.  Picks: CUB-GBR-TJK-IRL

4 p.m.:

  • 4:00: Track and field, men’s 4×100 relay.  Picks: JAM-USA-GBR
  • 4:00, NBC: Women’s basketball, gold medal game, USA-France.  Picks: USA-AUS-RUS
  • 4:15, CNBC: Boxing, men’s light welter final. Cuba-Ukraine.  Picks: GBR-CUB-ITA-MGL
  • 4:45, CNBC: Boxing, men’s middle final. Brazil-Japan.  Picks: UKR-JPN-UZB-IRL

5 p.m.:

  • 5:15, CNBC: Boxing, men’s heavy final. Italy-Ukraine.  Picks: ITA-UKR-AZE-CHN
  • 5:15, NBC Sports Network: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg final.  Picks: FRA-MEX-MAR-RUS
  • 5:30, NBC Sports Network: Taekwondo, men’s 80kg final.  Picks: KOR-CAN-UZB-ITA

Also: nothing. I’ve listed absolutely everything. Check the full schedule for time updates and results throughout the day: London2012.com

REMINDERS

Full TV listings: NBCOlympics.com
Full online listings: Also NBCOlympics.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.

The real flaw in NBC’s broadcast strategy

NBC’s prime-time emphasis makes sense. People work during the day. Families still do most of their TV viewing in prime time.

But it’s growing clearer that people want to make that choice for themselves, not have it forced upon them:

Gallup: People want Olympics televised live and in prime time | Poynter..

Now here’s the flaw in NBC not wanting to “spoil” an event such as, say, their prime-time BMX segment by broadcasting the event live in its entirety:

To be truly surprised by what “happens” in prime time, people have to avoid news sites, sports sites, Twitter and Facebook. And yet NBC thinks people are going to go to all that effort but accidentally flip the channel to NBC Sports Network at 10 a.m.?

Olympic Daily Glance, Day 14 — The end is near

Friday at the Olympic Games: Made for BBC prime time. Not much going on during the daytime hours over there. Then everything in their evening/our afternoon.

WHAT HAPPENED THURSDAY

Could the U.S. women’s teams be doing any better? At the same time the soccer women were winning a classic final against Japan, the water polo team was cruising to an 8-5 win in the final over Spain. Two golds down, two more to go? In semifinal action: The volleyball team swept South Korea, and the basketball team shrugged off a serious challenge from Australia.

Individually, U.S. women are faring quiet well as well. Claressa Shields took boxing gold, and Haley Anderson was a surprise silver medalist in the open water of Hyde Park.

And the men? Oh, just a pair of gold-silver finishes. As expected, Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee went 1-2 in the decathlon. Almost as expected, Christian Taylor and Will Claye finished 1-2 in the triple jump.

Not a bad day for the British Isles, either. The boxing arena was rocking as Britain’s Nicola Adams and Irish great Katie Taylor took their golds. Britain also took gold in taekwondo (Jade Jones) and gold and bronze in the slightly quieter dressage.

MEDAL PROJECTION UPDATE

Did well in women’s boxing, to my surprise. And taekwondo. Not as well in canoeing.

Congratulations, Australia, you’re off the hook. And China? You’re no longer making me look bad.

Overprojected: Germany 9, Britain 7, Turkey 6, Australia 6, New Zealand 4, USA 4. Tied at 3: Greece, Slovakia, Brazil.

Underprojected: South Korea 5, Colombia 5. Tied at 4: Canada, Spain, Cuba, North Korea, South Africa. Then Mexico at 3.

FRIDAY’S VIEWING RECOMMENDATIONS

It’s getting more and more difficult to get up at 5 a.m. My apologies to the U.S. field hockey team.

3-6 a.m.: No TV.

  • 3:30: Women’s field hockey, 11th-place game, USA-Belgium.
  • 4:00: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg/men’s 80kg preliminary rounds. U.S. bouts listed separately.
  • 4:15: Taekwondo, men’s 80kg preliminary round. Steven Lopez vs. Azerbaijan’s Ramin Azizov.
  • 4:30: Canoe/kayak, men’s K1/K2/C1 and women’s K1 200-meter heats/semifinals. Tim Hornsby (K1) and Carrie Johnson.
  • 5:30: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg preliminary round. Paige McPherson vs. … Britain’s Sarah Stevenson? Who’s making these draws?
  • 6:30: Women’s field hockey, fifth-place game, China-Australia.
7 a.m.: No TV.
  • 7:00: Rhythmic gymnastics, individual all-around qualification.
  • 7:00: Sailing, men’s 470 medal race. Rescheduled from yesterday. Picks: AUS-GBR-CRO
  • 7:00: Swimming, men’s open-water. Picks: GRE-GER-RUS

8 a.m.: NBC Sports Network signs on with a delayed broadcast of USA field hockey.

  • 8:00: Sailing, women’s 470 medal race. Picks: ESP-GBR-JPN
  • 8:00: Wrestling, men’s 55kg/74kg freestyle qualification rounds.
  • 8:20: Wrestling, men’s 55kg freestyle, round of 16. Sam Hazewinkel.
  • 8:30: Boxing, men’s semifinals. In order, half hour per class: Light fly, bantam, light welter, middle, heavy.

9 a.m.:

  • 9:00: Sailing, women’s match race semifinals.
  • 9:10: Wrestling, men’s 74kg freestyle, round of 16. Jordan Burroughs. He’s a big favorite.
  • 9:10: Wrestling, men’s 55kg/74kg freestyle, quarterfinals.
  • 9:20, NBC Sports Network: Men’s water polo, placement rounds, USA-Spain.
  • 9:50: Rhythmic gymnastics, team qualification.

10 a.m.: NBC chose synchro? Over BMX?

  • 10:00: BMX, men’s and women’s semis.
  • 10:00, NBC: Synchronized swimming, team final. Picks: RUS-CHN-ESP
  • 10:00, NBC Sports Network (at 10:20): Taekwondo, women’s 67kg/men’s 80kg quarterfinals.
  • 10:00, MSNBC: Men’s volleyball, semifinal, Bulgaria-Russia.
  • 10:00, NBC Sports Network (at 10:45): Wrestling, men’s 55kg/74kg freestyle, semifinals.
  • 10:30: Women’s hockey, semifinal, New Zealand-Britain.
  • 10:40: Men’s water polo, semifinal, Croatia-Montenegro.

11 a.m.: NBC recaps canoe/kayak and swimming.

  • 11:30: BMX, women’s final. Picks: FRA-AUS-USA
  • 11:40: BMX, men’s final. Picks: USA-AUS-LAT

Noon: NBC plans to show a lot of rhythmic gymnastics and more swimming.

  • 12:00, NBC Sports Network: Men’s basketball, semifinal, Spain-Russia.
  • 12:00, MSNBC: Men’s handball, semifinal, Hungary-Sweden.
  • 12:00: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg/men’s 80kg semifinals.
  • 12:45: Wrestling, men’s 55kg/74kg freestyle, repechage/bronze.

1 p.m.:

  • 1:30: Men’s water polo, placement rounds, Hungary-Australia.

2 p.m.: All this stuff, and MSNBC plans to show the Britain field hockey game from earlier.

  • 2:00: Track and field, men’s pole vault final. Brad Walker is the lone American. Picks: FRA-GER-GER
  • 2:00: Diving, men’s platform prelims.
  • 2:03: Wrestling, men’s 55kg freestyle final. Picks: RUS-BUL-JPN-IRI
  • 2:10: Track and field, women’s 4×400 first round.
  • 2:30: Men’s volleyball, semifinal, Brazil-Italy.
  • 2:35: Track and field, women’s hammer throw final. No Americans made it. Picks: RUS-GER-BLR
  • 2:45: Track and field, men’s 4×100 first round.
  • 2:45, MSNBC: Men’s soccer, bronze medal game, Japan-South Korea. Your 2002 World Cup special.
  • 2:50, NBC: Wrestling, men’s 74kg freestyle final. Picks: USA-RUS-IRI-KAZ
  • 2:50: Men’s water polo, semifinal, Italy-Serbia.

3 p.m.:

  • 3:00: Women’s hockey, semifinal, Netherlands-Argentina.
  • 3:00: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg/men’s 80kg repechage and bronze.
  • 3:05, NBC: Track and field, women’s 5,000. Molly Huddle and Julie Culley. Picks: KEN-ETH-KEN
  • 3:30: Boxing, men’s semifinals. In order, half hour per class: Fly, light, welter, light heavy, super heavy.
  • 3:30: Men’s handball, semifinal, France-Croatia.
  • 3:40: Track and field, women’s 4×100 final.  Picks: USA-JAM-TRI
  • 3:55: Track and field, women’s 1,500. Shannon Rowbury and Morgan Uceny. Picks: MAR-ETH-RUS

4 p.m.: MSNBC has scheduled the France-Croatia handball semi for 4:30.

  • 4:00, NBC Sports Network: Men’s basketball, semifinal, USA-Argentina.
  • 4:20: Track and field, men’s 4×400 final. Picks: USA-JAM-GBR

5 p.m.:

  • 5:15: Taekwondo, women’s 67kg final.
  • 5:30: Taekwondo, men’s 80kg final.

Also: nothing. I’ve listed absolutely everything. Check the full schedule for time updates and results throughout the day: London2012.com

REMINDERS

Full TV listings: NBCOlympics.com
Full online listings: Also NBCOlympics.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.

Handball’s time has come

Do we even need to call it “team handball” any more? If we say “handball,” will people tune in expecting to see some dudes from Iceland and Hungary slapping a ball around on a racquetball court?

Four years after a small group of American reporters, including me, started chasing the Iceland handball team around, it seems more people are paying attention:

– Wired (UK) calls handball “the most awesome Olympic sport you might not be watching.”

– It made the roundup of espnW’s “surprisingly enjoyable Olympic sports.”

– Time calls my Icelandic guys “the most important team at the Olympics.”

– Even Usain Bolt is down with handball. Well, handball players.

Then we turn to Twitter:

(And yes, Posnanski joined me, Dan Steinberg and a couple of others among the crowd that has discovered the quotability of the Icelandic handballers.)

It’s not a perfect sport. It sometimes bogs down in a half-court set. The constant fouls can interrupt the flow of the game. And Iceland just lost.

But like any sport, it has good games and bad games. And have you not enjoyed the good games?