They're here, finally. The much needed and welcomed, once-every-four summers, five-ring respite from summer sports boredom, London 2012 is upon us—well, has been since Wednesday if you count soccer—and as such, we have a weekend preview where you're not going to get nothing but baseball and NASCAR shoved in your face.
Don't worry, well still do the appropriate shoving for the Brickyard 400 etc., but for the next two weeks, we get to throw swimming, gymnastics, handball, and whatever the heck else NBC's going to pump through our flatscreens and laptops, too.
Let's start this off, because the first Phelps vs. Lochte race is literally hours away.
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. (ET)
Why You Should Watch: Aside from the Daytona 500, this race is as big as it gets for the Sprint Cup boys every year. If you can't cross the finish line first at the season-opener in Florida, this is a race you'd most want to win next.
Indy is dripping with history, and as such, it helps you forget the fact it's darn near impossible for these 900-horsepower beasts to actually pass each other. Worth a shot if you need a break from the over-the-top NBC fluff and non-stop coke commercials of the olympics.
Hey, if dressage is a sport, so is this.
When: Technically now, but tape delayed because Powers That Be don't want you live streaming it. Here's all the info you need to sort this mess out.
TV: NBC (aka: Powers That Be)
Why You Should Watch: Opening Ceremonies are guaranteed to be completely over the top, which is what makes them awesome. Considering the host city will have spent way too much money to bring the games to their fair metropolis, they might as well continue that trend with a huge blowout. Going into debt never looked so good.
Plus, the uniforms. Watch, and wait for the (always, cough, positive) Twitter reactions.
When: All weekend
TV: NBC and NBC online
Why You Should Watch: Swimming (with women's gymnastics and the sprinters) is the Summer Games, the kings of the place. (OK, we'll throw some NBA stars in there, too, but you get the point). Swimming is one of the summer kings, and starting tomorrow morning we'll be getting our fill of Phelps vs. Lochte and the lot. Just look what we're in store for here, per Yahoo:
According to its official website, the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games will feature 34 swimming events, which will run from Saturday, July 28 through Friday, August 10.
When: 24-7 (almost, anyway)
TV: NBC and NBC online
Why You Should Watch: When else are you going to care about archery, equestrian, hurdling (and so on and so on and so on ...) in the next 3.99 years? This is the time to embrace these sports, to scream and root for your country, even if you have no idea who these people are. This is what makes the Olympics awesome. Embrace it.
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Why You Should Watch: Maybe I'm biased because I live and work in the SF Bay Area, but this series is huge. Division title implications, for sure, plus a little love for the West Coast on Fox (even if their announcers are meh ...). Is it worth pulling yourself away from the Olympics? Maybe. But, it's good to know there's options.