The 2012 London Olympic games will provide great drama and excitement for those watching in person and for those viewing at home. The U.S. team will be represented well at the London games and will be looking to build upon the 110 medals they captured in Beijing.
There will be many storylines to follow during the next couple of weeks. Will U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps eclipse the all-time Summer Olympic Games medal record? Or will he be out-shined by fellow American Ryan Lochte? Will the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams capture team gold? Or will individual accomplishments be the overall flavor of the 2012 London games.
Whatever sport tickles your fancy—the 2012 London games are sure to keep you glued to the edge of your seats. Here are several “must-see” events to keep your eyes and ears focused on as we gear up for the start of the games.
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The London Olympics marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 “Dream Team.”
Magic, Michael and Larry may be gone but this year’s incarnation promises to provide many exciting moments. The question on everyone’s mind is whether or not this year’s team will be able to work together as a cohesive unit.
That will be up to the legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. He will have to lead an ensemble cast led by 2012 NBA Champion LeBron James, five-time champion Kobe Bryant and the electrifying Kevin Durant.
The U.S. squad will not waltz through the Olympics this time around as they will face fierce competition from several countries—most notably Spain, who put up a strong effort before dropping a 118-107 decision in the Beijing gold medal game.
Other teams the U.S. will likely have to contend with include fellow Group A members France and Argentina. Both teams have NBA players on their rosters and could pose significant challenges for the Americans.
There will be several storylines to watch in the sport of gymnastics. The U.S. men’s team enters the 2012 London games as serious medal contenders in both the individual all-around and team programs.
The eyes of the world will be on South Bronx native John Orozco as he tries to capture Olympic gold in the all-around program. The 2012 U.S. National Champion will face a daunting task to accomplish this feat as he will have to defeat Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, who has won three straight (2009-11) all-around gymnastics world championships.
On the women’s side, the U.S. team has assembled a “dream team” of their own led by 2011 all-around world champion Jordyn Wieber. She is expected to contend for the gold in the all-around competition.
Another American who is looking to make some medal noise is Gabby Douglas. She is expected to challenge Wieber in the all-around. The women’s team easily won the 2011 World Championship and is expected to do well in London.
The 2012 London Olympics men’s swimming competition is all about the Michael Phelps/Ryan Lochte rivalry. The two Americans will square off in several swimming events including the hotly-contested 200-meter individual medley. Phelps can become the most-decorated Summer Olympian if he wins three more medals—surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina who finished her career with 18.
On the ladies side of the pool, 17-year-old wunderkind Missy Franklin is looking to capture her first Olympic medal(s). She is currently the world record holder in the 200-meter backstroke and is expected to capture gold at the London event.
Other Americans to watch include breaststroke specialist Rebecca Soni and 15-year-old newcomer Katie Ledecky—who is the youngest member on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.
Track and field will provide plenty of drama and excitement for those watching at the Olympic Stadium. The U.S. men’s and women’s teams will have to be in peak form if they are going to challenge the mighty Jamaicans.
The men’s team is led by Justin Gatlin, LaShawn Merritt and a slew of other medal contenders who will have to deal with the Jamaican tandem of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. Both Jamaicans are heavy favorites in the 100 and 200-meter events.
Michael Tinsley will try to bring home gold in the 400-meter hurdles as Christian Taylor will try to do the same in the triple jump competition. Reese Hoffa will try to “put” himself on the top of medal podium in the men’s shotput as Ashton Eaton will try to capture gold in the decathlon.
The ladies squad is led Carmelita Jeter and Sanya Richards-Ross—whose husband Aaron plays NFL football for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jeter will have to undoubtedly fend off Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce if she is going to take home the gold in the 100-meter event. Richards-Ross is expected to do well in the 400-meters but will face some stiff competition from Russian Antonina Krivoshapka.
Lashinda Demus is aiming to medal in the 400-meter hurdles and Brittney Reese is expected to contend for the gold in the long jump. It will be interesting to see whether or not the women’s team can continue their dominance in the 4X400-meter relay. They have not lost in this event since the 1992 Barcelona games.
The beach volleyball competition at the 2008 Beijing Games was all about Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. The American duo captured gold in Beijing and return to London with hopes of repeating. They will have their work cut out for them, however, as they will have to get by the Brazilian duo of Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva.
The men’s side has returning gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers. The men captured gold in Beijing and are hoping for an encore performance in London. They will face competition from fellow Americans Jake Gibb and Seth Rosenthal as well as 2011 world top-ranked Brazilians Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego.
The U.S. women’s indoor volleyball team will be looking to capture gold. They will have to overcome a very strong Brazil squad who captured gold at the Beijing Games.
The U.S. Women’s Water Polo team will be vying for their first gold medal in the sport. They have consistently medaled, but have failed to take home the top prize.
The men’s freestyle wrestling competition will have several Americans aiming to take home hardware. At the 96 kg (211 pounds) Jake Varner will try to overtake a tough international field that includes Iranian Reza Yazdani.
In badminton, the U.S team of Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan are hoping to replicate their success at the 2005 world championships by medaling in a sport dominated by the Chinese.