SI's Daily Olympic Briefing: Aug. 7
LONDON -- The mega-stardom and riches, the talk-shows and the tours, they all are coming for Gabby Douglas. But there is still work to be done in London as the nine-day gymnastics competition concludes today at North Greenwich Arena. Douglas, the Olympic all-around champion with endless moxie and talent, will compete on the balance beam and joins a number of U.S. gymnasts who have qualified for individual events. The schedule includes: the men's parallel bars (9 a.m.), women's balance beam (9:47 a.m.), men's horizontal bar (10:37 a.m.) and women's floor exercise (11:23 a.m.). SI.com's Nick Zaccardi offers a preview
Along with Douglas, Aly Raisman will compete in the balance beam, where she qualified fifth, and in floor exercise, where she qualified first. Jordyn Wieber, the 2011 world all-around champion, is also a contender on the floor.
Douglas qualified third for the balance beam and is a medal threat along with China's Sui Lu, Romania's Catalina Ponor, and Russian Viktoria Komova, the all-around runner-up.
The men's gymnasts will also be heard. Zaccardi calls the men's high bar the can't-miss competition out of the 10 gymnastics event finals. "There will be jaw-dropping release moves, and there will likely be a crash to the mat (crashes more than likely) as well," Zaccardi writes. "He who flies highest and most often without losing his grip should take home gold. [U.S. gymnasts] Danell Leyva and Jonathan Horton, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist on high bar, qualified third and fifth, respectively, into this final. China's Zou Kai, the seventh qualifier but reigning world champion, will try to win his third gold medal of the Games, matching his feat from Beijing. The top two qualifiers, Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands and Zhang Chenglong of China, perform the most difficult high bar routines in the world. The shaggy-haired Zonderland in particular is breathtaking in the air -- when he catches the bar. That's the key in the men's finale."
Gymnastics is one of the showcase events on a day that includes medals in track and field, cycling, diving, equestrian, sailing, synchronized swimming, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling.
• The women's beach volleyball competition has reached the semifinal rounds and the matchups are first rate. The opening semifinal pits the world's current top-ranked team and winners of the most recent world championships -- Brazil's Juliana Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil -- against April Ross and Jennifer Kessy of the U.S. That's followed by the two-time defending Olympic champion Misty May-Treanor and Keri Walsh Jennings playing Chen Xue and Xi Zhang of China. The Chinese women won a bronze in Beijing and will be a tough out.
• After cruising through group play, the U.S. women's basketball team plays Canada at 9 a.m. as the quarterfinals begin in the event. The other quarters include: Australia-China (11:15 a.m.), Turkey-Russia (3 p.m.), and France-Czech Republic (5:15 p.m.). "You'd never know it from the way the U.S. women's basketball team has sailed into the medal round, without an opponent getting within 25 points, but going into the London Olympics the Americans could point to a total of only 10 practices and five games together," writes SI.com's Alex Wolff. "And that's why coach Geno Auriemma has seized upon every opportunity to create cohesion, whether by turning morning shootarounds into more substantive practices or pool-play garbage time into strict exercises in half-court offense." Wolff previews all the quarterfinalists
• Four medals will be handed out in Athletics including the men's 1,500 (4:15 p.m.) where two great Kenyans (Silas Kiplagat and Asbel Kiprop) are expected to duel for the gold. No American has medaled in this event in 44 years. Russia's Ivan Ukhov is SI's pick for the men's high jump (2 p.m.) but watch out for U.S. and current world champion Jesse Williams. Lithuania's Virgilijus Alekna, who is 40 years old, is the favorite in the men's discus (2:45 p.m.). The strongman has won two Olympic golds and a bronze.
The women's 100 hurdles (5 p.m.) has a stacked field with Australia's Sally Pearson, Brigitte Foster-Hylton of Jamaica and Dawn Harper, Lolo Jones and Kellie Wells of the U.S. The semis (2:15 p.m.) will take place earlier in the day.
Preliminary heats at the track include the women's javelin throw (5 a.m.), men's 110 hurdles (5:10 a.m.), men's triple jump (5:45 a.m.), women's 500 (5:55 a.m.), men's 200 (6:50 a.m.), and women's long jump (2:05 p.m.).There will also be semis in the men's 800 (2:55 p.m.) and women's 200 (3:25 p.m.).
• Men's welterweight Errol Spence Jr. fights Russian Andrey Zamkovoy at 3:30 p.m. in a quarterfinal match. Spence is the last U.S. male boxer standing in London.
• The U.S. women's volleyball team plays the Dominican Republic in a women's quarterfinal match (2 p.m.). Japan-China (8 a.m.), Russia-Brazil (10 a.m.) and Italy-Korea (4 p.m.) are the other quarterfinals.
• Women's water polo has reached the semifinals stage with the United States playing Australia (10:30 a.m.) and Hungary meeting Spain (2:40 p.m.). Four years ago in Beijing, the U.S. women lost in the gold medal match when the Dutch scored the game-winner with 26 seconds remaining.
• Heats and semifinal races continue in canoe slalom sprint competition (stats at 4:30 a.m.)
• Plenty of medals coming in cycling today including the men's kierin finals (12:50 p.m.) where Great Britain's Chris Hoy can become the first British athlete to win six gold medals. He is currently tied at five with the rower Steven Redgrave. Hoy's countrywoman Laura Trott is among the favorites in the women's omnium 500 (11:53 a.m.) but SI's pick for gold is Tara Whitten of Canada. Sarah Hammer of the U.S. will also be in the mix. The women's individual sprint gold gets awarded with Australia's Anna Meares and Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton likely dueling for the top spot. The sprint races take place at 12:26 p.m. 12:48 p.m. and 1:23 p.m. Pendelton won the event in Beijing.
• The men's soccer tournament has reached the semifinals. Mexico-Japan (12 p.m.) are first up at Wembley Stadium. Korea-Brazil (2:45 p.m.) play later in the day at Old Trafford
• The men's 3-meter springboard gold (2 p.m.) gets awarded with China's He Chong and Qin Kai expected to place gold-silver. China has won every diving event so far in London. Troy Dumais of the U.S qualified third and is a medal threat. American Chris Colwill will also compete.
• The Dressage team Grand Prix special will be awarded in equestrian (5 a.m.). Jan Ebeling, Tina Konyot and Steffen Peters will compete for the U.S.
• Women's team handball advances to the quarterfinal stage including Brazil-Norway (5 a.m.)
• Dorian van Rijsselberge is already assured of gold in the RS: X (sailboard) men's medal race (8 a.m.). Israel's Lee Korzits is SI's pick for the RS: X women's race (9 a.m.). Korzits is the only Israeli to have won three world titles in any sport.
• Russia's Natalia Ischenko and Svetlana Romashina are the favorites for gold in the synchronized swimming duets free competition (10 a.m.). A win would be Russia's fourth straight in this event.
• Favored China meets Japan in the women's team gold medal match (10:30 a.m.) in table tennis.
• Weightlifting hands out a medal in the +105kg competition, which features Iranian strongmen Behdad Salimikordasiabi and Sajjad Anoushiravani
• They'll be gold handled out in men's Greco-Roman wrestling 66kg category and the men's Greco-Roman 96kg. In the 66kg, Justin Lester of the U.S. has an outside shot for a medal.
• The Brownlee Brothers -- Great Britain's Alistair and Jonathan -- are the favorites in the men's triathlon (6:30 a.m.) at Hyde Park. They went one-three at last year's worlds.
• Men's pool play continues in field hockey with six matches today.
"I've told Yohan Blake I am not going to let him beat me again. I've said that to him already. When Blake beat me in Jamaica that was a wake-up call. He knocked on my door and said 'Usain: This is an Olympic year, wake up.' So I am grateful for that moment because after that I got my head together, got my head in the game." --