Daily briefing, Aug. 21
"The 4x100-meter relays have long been U.S. property," says Layden. "Americans don't always win. Sometimes they mess up the baton passes, sometimes they just get beat. But U.S. four-by-ones are almost always the favorites. It would have been hard to make a case for the U.S. winning a gold medal in either the men's or women's sprint relay even before they messed up the baton tosses on Thursday. Jamaican women swept the open 100 meters and Jamaican men have Bolt on the anchor. You could have argued that neither race would have been close."
• The modern pentathlon features five sports in one day: pistol shooting, epee fencing (against every competitor in the field), swimming (200 free), show jumping (on a horse that is randomly selected 20 minutes before competition), and running (a 3-kilometer cross-country run -- pursuit style). American
• BMX will declare its first Olympic champion at 10:30 p.m. and it's a good bet an American will be on the podium. U.S. riders
• The men's gold medal will be handed out in beach volleyball at 11 p.m. Thursday. Brazil's
• The men's indoor volleyball semifinals (12:30 a.m.) pits Russia against the U.S., which last won a medal in 1992, taking a bronze in Barcelona. Brazil plays Italy in the other semifinal (8 a.m.).
• The Olympic heavyweight champion often augurs a big professional future:
• Two-time gold medalist
• The U.S. men's baseball team faces Cuba in a semifinal game (6 a.m.). Last Friday, Cuba beat the U.S. 5-4 in 11 innings. Korea and Japan play in the other semifinal (10:30 p.m. Thursday)
• The men's water polo semifinals (7:40 a.m) features Serbia against the U.S. It's the fourth time the teams have met in '08. Serbia is 3-0 in those games.
• A marquee event for the locals: The women's singles gold medal match in table tennis (8:30 a.m.) will be watched by hundreds of millions of Chinese.
• The women's 5,000 final (8:40 a.m.) will feature an American trio:
• Other finals include the men's 50-kilometer walk (7:30 p.m.) and the men's under 80kg in taekwondo (8:15 a.m.).
•The decathlon's final day concludes with the 1,500 (9:40 a.m.).
• Finally, it's going to be a fantastic scene at Wukesong Arena as the U.S. men's basketball team (6-0) plays defending Olympic champion Argentina (5-1) at 10:15 a.m. It's a rematch of the '04 Olympic semifinals when Argentina beat the U.S. 89-81. The winner plays the Lithuania-Spain winner (8 a.m.) on Sunday in the gold-medal game.
"They know they've got to see me in October, so they won't say much."
"He's a ship and the rest of us are yachts, and you have to find your way around that big old vessel."
"My performance had nothing to do with my preparation for the meet, but the way the meet was run. If you watch the event, you will see that they made us wait there for an hour. Why does the competition start at 8:40 p.m. and we are still jumping at midnight?"
• "To me, Bolt's celebrations (including his dances)