NBC Olympics 2012 Schedule: 8 Events You Can't Miss
NBC of course would like for you to watch the 2012 Summer Olympics every night but it is summer time and chances are you have other things to do or sports to watch.
If that then is indeed the case, here are eight events that you really should park yourself in front of the television set for and enjoy a moment in sports history.
The legendary filmmaker Bud Greenspan was for the Olympic movement what Ed and Steve Sabol are for the NFL, the official storyteller of a time and place forever etched in our memories with music and incredible replays.
Before Greenspan put his mark onto film, however, we sat in our living rooms and watched the grainy satellite pictures from such exotic cities as Montreal or Mexico City and watched first hand as the kid from a small town became a legend.
These events that you will see in high-definition this year will be have the same effect. Years from now when people reflect on these London games and talk about that gymnast or runner the same way we talk about Bruce Jenner and Mark Spitz, you can say you remember watching it unfold plausibly live.
Michael Phelps' Last Swim
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Because Olympic athletes must qualify each time to actually make the games, we do not really get to see the all-time greats really on the downside of their career.
Phelps has been a factor now in four Summer Olympics, a feat that is really truly rare. With the USA finishing second Sunday in the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay, Phelps now has 17 medals, just one off the all-time mark of 18 set by Soviet women’s gymnast Larisa Latynina who competed in three Summer Olympics from 1956 to 1964. His 14 gold medals are five more than anyone has ever won and is one more than Jamaica has won as a country.
His last swim in competition will be Saturday August 4th in the 400-meter medley relay. NBC will of course show this in primetime and hope he pulls a Ted Williams and wins the gold in his final race.
Women's Gymnastics Team Final
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Gymnastics is a different sport based on the way it is competed. It is both a team and an individual sport that forces these young ladies to be teammates one day then competitors the next.
Tuesday’s team final though is the night we see the world’s best compete as a unit with everything on the line in a grueling test of six rounds almost perfection.
This is a young woman’s game and despite their young age, they will never compete with each other the same way again.
While Team USA leads after Sunday’s preliminaries, Russia, China, and perennial power Romania are all in hot pursuit. Great Britain, the home team, sits in fifth and would love to thrill the locals with a surprise medal.
The bulk of NBC’s Tuesday night’s telecast will be this and the added emotion of the evening makes this a very compelling event to watch.
Men's Basketball Gold Medal Game
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In what truly has become the world championship of men’s basketball, the Gold Medal Game Sunday August 12th has become a must see for anyone that is a fan of the game.
When pros were allowed to play for the first time in 1992, the American “Dream Team” led the Olympics from the opening tip to the medal ceremony two weeks later.
Now every team except Tunisia has at least one NBA player on the squad and, like ice hockey in the Winter Olympics, this really has become the most competitive event in international basketball. So competitive in fact that the NBA and FIBA want to start their own version of a world championship and leave the Olympics as a just a under-23 event.
While Team USA led by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are expected to do no worse than play in this game, other teams like Spain and China are also very strong and whoever plays in the final will have earned the right to be there.
NBC will show this game live, at least in the Eastern and Central Time Zones, starting at 10 a.m. on the last day of the games with the men’s marathon being run before live.
Men's and Women's 100-Meter Finals
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The long time highlight of the middle weekend of the games, the drama that tends to unfold for a race that lasts nine seconds and change is quite extraordinary.
There is a hushed tension from the crowd for the 16 fastest people in the world. The build up is like the start of a heavyweight championship fight, there is not an athlete or a fan that does not feel the butterflies in the stomach as the sprinters come to the starting blocks and get set.
Usian Bolt will defend his Olympic title from four years ago on Sunday August 5th while Jamaica’s Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce is favored for the Women’s final Saturday night August 4th.
Absolutely destined for primetime, NBC has one of the best in the business in Tom Hammond calling track and field. Even with the delay the anticipation here will not feel forced.
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The very definition of the Olympic motto, “Faster, higher, stronger,” this two day grueling challenge is always one of the signature events of every Olympic games.
A mix of sprinting, distance running, and field events, the gold medalist will have every asset of his physical and mental ability examined over the course of two full days.
The first day starts with the 100-meter dash followed by the long jump and the shot put. Then comes the high jump and the 400-meter run. Day two starts with the 110-meter hurdles followed by the discus throw, the pole vault and javelin and finishes with the metric mile, the 1500-meter run.
Ashton Eaton set the American record for points this year at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Eaton became only the second person ever to break the 9,000 point barrier and will be the heavy favorite at just 24 to win the Gold.
NBC will have full coverage in primetime on both Wednesday August 8th and Thursday August 9th.
Men's and Women's 4x100 Relay
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There is something to be said about 80,000 people rising out of their seats and cheering in unison.
In this sprint, the absolute fastest people ever to grace the planet will take part in 37 seconds of all out running. It is basic sports in its purest form.
The 4x100 comes is the last sprinting event for both the men and the women for these games. Jamaica won the men’s relay four years ago in Beijing in a world record time of 37.1 seconds while the Russians upset the field in the women’s relay in 42.31 seconds.
The women will race Friday August 10th and the men will go the next day. NBC, of course, will be holding these races for primetime.