SI's Daily Olympic Briefing: Aug. 12
So read the main editorial Saturday in
• The United States approaches Olympic basketball with a gold-or-bust attitude and the Americans have won five of the last six Olympic gold medals. Four years ago, Team USA defeated Spain 118-107 to win the gold in Beijing. It will likely be the same here: The U.S. has never lost to Spain in 10 Olympic basketball games. (10 a.m.)
• Russia and Australia will play in the bronze medal game (6 a.m.).
• The runners to watch in the men's marathon (6 a.m.) are Kenya's Wilson Kipsang and Abel Kirui and Ethiopia's Ayele Abshero. Kirui won this year's London Marathon and has said he thinks he can break the Olympic record of two hours, six minutes and 32 seconds set by the late Sammy Wanjiru in Beijing four years ago. The Americans in the race are Abdi Abdirahman, Ryan Hall, and Meb Keflezighi. The race starts and finishes in the Mall near Buckingham Palace.
• Men's boxing will award five medals today in the following weight divisions: flyweight (8:30 a.m.), lightweight (8:45 a.m.), welterweight (9:15 a.m.), light heavyweight (9:45 a.m.) and men's super heavyweight (10:15 a.m.).
• The women's combined modern pentathlon concludes at 1 p.m. with Margaux Isaksen and Suzanne Stettinius competing for the USA. SI's pick for gold is Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania. Mahairi Spence has a big chance for Great Britain, as well.
• World champion Brazil plays Russia for the gold medal in the men's volleyball final (8 a.m.) at Earls Court. The teams played in the preliminary round with the Brazilians sweeping the Russians in three games. Bulgaria plays Italy in the bronze medal match (4:30 a.m.).
• The men's gold medal match (10:50 a.m.) in water polo between Italy and Croatia offers great theater. World champion Italy defeated Croatia in the semifinals of the 2011 world championships, but Croatia beat the Italians (11-6) in group play in London. The Italians have won three Olympic golds in men's water polo while Croatia's best result was a silver at Atlanta in 1996. Serbia-Montenegro play for the bronze medal at 9:30 a.m.
• The men's freestyle wrestling finals for 66kg (145 pounds) and 96kg (211 pounds) will be held and SI's picks are a pair of Iranians: Mehdi Taghavi Kermani in the 66kg and Reza Yazdani in the 96kg. Jake Varner of the U.S. is a medal threat in the 96kg event. (Jared Frayer will wrestle in the 66kg.) The competition starts at 3:30 a.m.
• Gold gets awarded in BMX's men's cross-country (8:30 a.m.). Australia's Sam Willoughby is SI's pick for gold.
• Defending Olympic champion France faces Sweden in the men's gold medal match in handball (10 a.m.). The bronze medal match will be contested by Hungary-Croatia (6 a.m.).
• Russia, Italy and Belarus are the favorites in today's rhythmic gymnastics all-around (9:16 a.m.)
• Thanks for the reading the briefing. Perhaps we'll see you again in Sochi.
"You know, a lot of people joke and laugh about the sport and the event. My reaction to that is to say, 'go out and try it for yourself. It is a really grueling event. It's very, very hard and you have to work hard at it. Your body is in a lot of pain just starting the race." --