Daily Briefing, Aug. 20
It's Ladies Day (and Night) in Beijing as the world's greatest female athletes will be featured at venues across the city. The highlights:
• After a thrilling nine-inning, 4-1 win over Japan, the U.S. women's softball team goes for its fourth consecutive gold medal against ... Japan. (Japan defeated Australia 4-3 in 12 innings to earn another shot at the American juggernaut). First pitch is 6:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning. The U.S. has won 22 consecutive Olympic softball games, and has outscored opponents 57-2 in Beijing.
• Mercenary or post-Cold War progressive? The saga of
"I feel she's a part of us," says Russian center
• One of the hottest tickets in Beijing is the beach volleyball gold-medal match (11 p.m. ET Wednesday) featuring
• The U.S. faces Cuba in what should be a heated semifinal (12:30 a.m.) in women's volleyball. Cuba has won three of the last four Olympic Games. Earlier in the tournament, Cuba beat the U.S. in pool play.
• The women's water polo gold medal match (6:20 a.m.) pits the U.S. against the Netherlands. The teams last played in December 2007 at the Holiday Cup in Long Beach, Calif., an 8-5 win for the Dutch.
• It's a loaded field in the women's 200 final (7:30 a.m.):
• The men's 400 final (10:20 a.m.) sets up as one of the most-anticipated events of the Games. Can defending champion
• Oh, what could have been. With
• The 4x100 relays begin preliminary heats. The U.S. runs at 8:20 a.m. and mighty Jamaica (
• BMX will declare its first Olympic champion today and it's a good bet an American will be on the podium. U.S. riders
• Women's 10-meter platform holds its semifinals (10 p.m.). The top 12 from the semis will then return for finals at 8 a.m. The Americans to watch are '00 gold medalist
• Some other finals: The women's 20km walk (9 p.m.), men's open-water swimming 10km final (9 p.m.), the individual jumping equestrian final (7:15 a.m.) and the multihull-tornado race in sailing (1 a.m.). Men's freestyle wrestling will award golds in three weight classes: 84 kg (5:20 a.m.), 96 kg (6:15 a.m.) and 120 kg (7:20 p.m.).
• Finally, it's the first day of competition in the men's decathlon. The events include the 100, shot put, high jump, long jump and the 400. American
"It's the most impressive athletics feat I've ever seen in my life."
"I didn't see that I was given a yellow card. Maybe it was where I was pulling away from the two Brazilian girls who were quite aggressive, and bordering un-sportsmanlike-like. This is swimming, not boxing."
• Just when you thought the rest of the Olympics would be a snooze after
• There are certain Olympic results that have come seemingly out of nowhere and whose aftershocks have altered the landscape. Bolt's strikes me as belonging on that list. What other summer events would you say have had such