SI's Daily Olympic Briefing: Aug. 8
Allyson Felix tries to add an Olympic gold medal in the 200 to her stellar resume
The U.S. meets upstart Australia in the quarterfinal round of men's basketball
The women's beach volleyball final will be a showdown of two U.S. teams
LONDON -- The résumé glitters with everything but individual gold. Allyson Felix owns world championship titles and Olympic relay gold medals, and two months ago she ran 21.69 in the 200 at this year's Olympic Trials, the sixth-fastest time in history and the third-fastest by a female American performer. No other woman in the world has broken 22 seconds in 2012.
Now comes her moment. Felix is the favorite in today's 200 (4 p.m.), a race that can cement her legacy in the sport. She won her semifinal Tuesday night in 22.31 and looked like a champion-in-waiting. "She has run at least 125 200-meter races since her freshman year in high school, and on her game, she is one of the most graceful, women's half-lap runners in history," writes SI.com's Tim Layden.
As always, Felix will be flanked by Jamaican rivals Shelley-Ann Fraser Pryce, the winner of the 100, and Veronica Campbell Brown, who defeated Felix in this race in both 2004 and 2008. The other Americans to watch are Carmelita Jeter and Sanya Richards-Ross. Campbell-Brown ran a season-best 22.32 in her semi. Jeter ran 22.39 in hers.
The 200 is one of the great races on a loaded track and field card and part of a great day in London featuring additional medals awarded in beach volleyball, boxing, canoe sprint, equestrian, sailing, table tennis, taekwondo and wrestling.
Track and field hands out four medals, including the women's long jump (3:05 p.m.) where Brittney Reese of the U.S. is SI's pick to win gold. Reese can become the second American to win this event and the first since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988. Then comes the women's 400 hurdles (3:45 p.m.), which is a showdown between Natalya Antyukh of Russia, Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova and Lashinda Demus of the U.S.
The 110 men's hurdles blew up in the opening heat Tuesday when Liu Xiang went down with an injury prior to hitting the first hurdle. (SI.com's S.L. Price captured Liu's tortuous day here. Americans Aries Merritt and world champion Jason Richardson are medal threats but the wild card is Dayron Robles of Cuba, the defending Olympic champion whose form has been shaky this year. The time of the race is 4:15 p.m.
The biggest non-medal event at the track will be the semifinals of the men's 200 (3:10 p.m.) as Usain Bolt looks to repeat his sprint double magic of Beijing. Bolt, countryman Yohan Blake and Wallace Spearman of the U.S. will likely be the top three fastest qualifiers for the final.
Other non-medal events include men's pole vault and women's hammer throw qualifying (5 a.m.), men's 5,000 round one (5:45 a.m.), women's 800 round one (6:35 a.m.), men's javelin throw (7:05 a.m.) and the women's 1,500 semis (2:45 p.m.).
If that were not enough, the first five events of the men's decathlon (the 100, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400) will also be held. Ashton Eaton of the U.S. -- who set the world record in June -- is SI's pick for gold. American Trey Hardee is also a medal contender.
The quarterfinals for men's basketball begin today and the U.S. meets Australia (5:15 p.m.) in the final game of Day 12. The other quarterfinals include Russia-Lithuania (9 a.m.), France-Spain (11:15 a.m.) and Brazil-Argentina (3 p.m.). Of the U.S.-Australia game, SI.com's Ian Thomsen writes: "Chris Paul will start the quarterfinal Wednesday with the key matchup against point guard Patrick Mills, who drove Australia to an upset win over Russia at the end of preliminaries Monday. The Aussies must generate counter-attacks for easy baskets in the absence of center Andrew Bogut, who would have been their best player. While Mills was a late-season backup for the Spurs who contributed rarely in the playoffs, he has played like a star for Australia in the Olympics."
The women's beach volleyball final will be a celebration of American power. The two-time defending Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Keri Walsh Jennings meet fellow Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in the gold medal match at the Horse Guards Parade (4 p.m.) Phil Taylor takes a look at the matchup. The bronze medal (2 p.m.) match will pit Brazil's Juliana Silva and Larissa Franca against China's Chen Xue and Xi Zhang of China.
Marlen Esparza was the first American to win an Olympic bout in women's boxing with her win over Karlha Magliocco of Venezuela on Monday. The flyweight faces China's Ren Cancan at 8:30 a.m. in the semifinals. A couple of bouts later, American Claressa Shields will fight Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan in women's middleweight semi (9:30 a.m.). Quarterfinal action will also take place in men's light flyweight, light welterweight, and light heavyweight.
The U.S. men's volleyball team meets Italy at 11 a.m. in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Other matches on the schedule are Argentina-Brazil (9 a.m.), Poland-Russia (2:30 p.m.) and Bulgaria-Germany (4:30 p.m.)
The preliminary round of the women's 10-meter platform diving event begins at 2 p.m. Chen Ruolin of China and Mexico's Paola Espinosa are the favorites. American Brittany Viola, daughter of 1988 Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola, will compete for the U.S.
The quarterfinal round for men's water polo has arrived with the U.S. playing Croatia (3 p.m.) in the final match of the day at Water Polo Arena. Other quarterfinals include: Italy-Hungary (1:40 p.m.), Spain-Montenegro (9:30 a.m.) and Australia-Serbia (10:50 a.m.). The U.S. is tied with Croatia 7-7 in head-to-heads at the Olympics, world championships and World Cups. In Beijing, the Americans won 7-5 in the prelims.
China is a heavy favorite over Korea in the men's team table tennis gold medal match (10:30 a.m.). Germany plays Hong Kong for the bronze (6 a.m.). Wang Hao, Zhang Jike and Ma Long are competing for China, and Wang is chasing a record-tying fifth Olympic medal in table tennis.
The women's 49kg (5:15 p.m.) and men's 58kg (5:30 p.m.) in taekwondo will be awarded. Yulis Mercedes of the Dominican Republic is SI's pick in the men's 58kg.
Japan's Hitomi Sakamoto is SI's pick to take gold in women's 48kg wrestling (12:45 p.m.) Russia's Svetlana Tsarukayeva is the favorite in the women's wrestling 63kg category. Japan's Kaori Icho is aiming to become the first woman to win three Olympic wrestling gold medals having been 63kg champion in Athens and Beijing.
Four medals will be awarded in canoe sprint, including kayak single 1000m men (4:30 a.m.), canoe single 1000m men (4:48 a.m.), kayak double 1000m men's final (5:16 a.m.) and kayak four 500m final (5:44 a.m.). In the women's 500m, Germany's Katrin Wagner-Augustin can become only the second woman in Olympic history, after U.S. women's basketball player Lisa Leslie, to win a gold medal in one event at four consecutive Games.
The women's and men's BMX seeding runs begin at 10 a.m.
In equestrian, the jumping individual final begins at 9:55 a.m. Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson is SI's pick to win gold. Defending Olympic champion Eric Lamaze can become the first equestrian athlete to win gold in individual jumping at two consecutive Olympics. The Americans in the event are Beezie Madden and Mclain Ward.
Sweden-Denmark (1 p.m.) is one of four men's quarterfinal matches in handball today.
It's Netherlands-New Zealand (10:30 a.m.) and Argentina-Great Britain (3 p.m.) in the semifinals of women's field hockey.
Gold will be awarded in the 49er men's medal race (8 a.m.) in sailing with Australia's Iain Jensen and Nathan Outteridge as the favorites.
"There are no prospects for Russian handball. None whatsoever. However, if my immediate resignation would have helped it, I would've submitted it right now. I'm afraid nothing will help Russian handball as things stand at the moment." -- Russia handball coach Evgeny Trefilov after South Korea beat his team 24-23 in the women's handball quarterfinal.
4.8 billion: Estimated global audience, as predicted by the IOC, of the London Olympics.
556: Number of athletes competing for Great Britain (287 men, 269 women) at the London Games.
22: Gold medals for Great Britain. That's Team GB's best total since the 1908 Olympics, which were also held in London.
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