London 2012 Olympics: 5 Most Anticipated Events from First Weekend
There will never be a dull moment in the 2012 London Olympics.
From July 25 to August 12 the greatest athletes in the world will compete on the grandest stage of them all. There will be non-stop action and if you miss a must-see event early, it’ll throw off your entire Olympic experience.
Be sure to catch these five highly anticipated events for Team USA this upcoming weekend, or you’ll regret it.
5. Men’s Individual All-Round, Qualification
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Saturday, July 28 at 6 a.m. ET
U.S. artistic gymnasts Danell Leyva, John Orozco, Jake Dalton, Jonathan Horton and Sam Mikulak will begin their quest for gold this weekend. They’ll all compete on the floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar in an attempt to qualify for the final.
Leyva is the main one to keep an eye on, though. He’s talented enough to leave London with four gold medals. He’ll be in the running to medal in the individual and team all-around competitions as well as parallel bars and horizontal bar.
Parallel bars and horizontal bar are his specialty. He boasts nine gold medals from the World, Pacific Rim and Visa National Championship in those two events alone.
4. Women’s Individual All-Around, Qualification
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Sunday, July 29 at 4:30 a.m. ET
Team USA’s women’s gymnasts will also compete this weekend. Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross and Alexandra Raisman make up the squad.
The five form one of the most talented groups of gymnasts that America has ever competed with in the Summer Olympics. They have the potential to put on a special performance in London. Anything less than team all-around gold would be a major disappointment.
While each of them will compete on the floor, vault, uneven bars and balance beam, Wieber and Douglas are the most likely to do damage for the individual all-around. Wieber is the reigning World Champion and Douglas defeated her in the U.S. Trials.
3. Men’s Basketball, USA vs. France, Preliminary Round
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Sunday, July 29 at 9:30 a.m. ET
The 2012 version of the Dream Team won’t get a chance to warm up in the Olympics. In their first game, they’ll face off against a legitimate threat to their gold medal push.
Outside of Spain, France is the greatest threat in the entire tournament to the U.S. winning back-to-back golds. Tony Parker is the big name, but he’ll be surrounded by NBA talents in Boris Diaw, Ronnie Turiaf, Nicolas Batum and Kevin Seraphin. They’re one of only three teams that look capable on paper of knocking off Team USA.
If the Americans come out sluggish, Parker will keep the French in it throughout.
2. Women’s 4x100-Meter Freestyle Relay, Final
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Saturday, July 28 at 3:50 p.m. ET
Natalie Coughlin and a swimmer that’s being compared to Natalie Coughlin, Missy Franklin will team up for the 4x100-meter Freestyle Final on Saturday.
Franklin is just 17 years old, but she’ll compete in a woman’s record seven events in London. One of them will be alongside Coughlin, an 11-time gold medalist. At her age, Franklin has plenty of time to pass Coughlin in medals won, but this weekend, she’ll attempt to help the Team USA legend increase her total.
On top of the two stars teaming up, Lia Neal, another 17 year old, will join them. Not only does Neal’s age make the event even more enticing, but she’s only the second African American woman ever to make the U.S. Olympic swim team.
1. Men’s 400-Meter Individual Medley, Final
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Saturday, July 28 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will go head-to-head in the 2012 Summer Olympics twice. One of those must-see races will go down this weekend.
Phelps and Lochte are expected take home the gold and silver medals in the event. Neither of them want silver, though.
In Beijing, Phelps set the world record for the medley. Lochte is the man to beat in the event, though, as he’s won it in back-to-back World Championships. He also outpaced Phelps in the race in the U.S. Trials.
No rivalry will be more heated in London than the one between these two. This race will define can’t-miss television.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.