Olympic Track & Field 2012: Top Competitors to Watch on Day 12

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Olympic Track & Field 2012: Top Competitors to Watch on Day 12
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Even though the gymnastics and swimming portions of the Olympic program have come to a close, the excitement is far from over.

Some of the U.S.'s best hopes at gold are still in the early stages of their own Olympic journeys.

Since getting underway last weekend, track and field has been stealing plenty of headlines in London, thanks to the triumphs and failures of stars like Lolo Jones, Allyson Felix, Justin Gatlin and more.

And of course, nobody wants to miss the chance to see Usain Bolt defend his fastest-man-in-the-world reputation.

As the Day 12 action continues on Wednesday, here are the top track stars you won't want to miss.


Usain Bolt—Jamaica
200-Meter Semifinal
3:10 p.m. ET

Who doesn't love watching Usain Bolt? Just when we thought there was a chance he might be upstaged by Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake—who beat him during the Olympic Trials—Bolt somehow came back and reminded us all why it's a bad idea to doubt the fastest man in the world.

Leading up to the Olympics, Bolt endured some criticism for his preparation and for his partying, but thus far, none of that has mattered. He's already earned the gold in the 100-meter with an Olympic Record time of 9.63 seconds, beating Blake as well as Americans Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay.

On Wednesday, Bolt will take on the 200-meter semifinals. In Round 1 of the qualification, he came out on top of his heat with a time of 20.39 seconds, but Blake—who also won his own heat—was faster by one-hundreth of a second. Wednesday's semifinal will be one you don't want to miss.

 

Carmelita Jeter—USA
200-Meter Final
4 p.m. ET

The primary recipient of most of the U.S.'s pre-Olympic track hype crumbled under the pressure on Tuesday, but it's unlikely that Jeter will follow suit.

Already, the 32-year-old sprinter has garnered a silver medal in the 100-meter, and on Wednesday, she'll go for the gold in the 200-meter final.

Where will Carmelita Jeter finish in the 200-meter?

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Though she isn't as decorated in this event as she is in the 100-meter, don't count her out: Her semifinal time of 22.39 seconds was the second-best in her heat, behind only that of Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown, the reigning gold medalist in the event.

The other primary sources of competition for Jeter will come from fellow Americans Sanya Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix, who registered the first and second-best times in the semifinals, respectively.

It's difficult to use the semis as an indicator for how it will all go down during the finals, but all things considered, the U.S. has a very good shot at bringing home a couple of medals from this event. And don't be surprised if Jeter is the recipient of one of them.

 

Ashton Eaton—USA
Men's Decathlon
5:10 a.m. ET - 4:20 p.m. ET

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Back during the Olympic Trials in June, Eaton made headlines for setting the world record in the decathlon with 9,039 points. Now is his opportunity to defend that mark.

Already on Wednesday, Eaton finished first in his heat in the 100-meter with a time of 10.35 seconds—a mark that nobody else even came close to. The second-best finisher in his heat—American teammate Trey Hardee—clocked in 0.07 seconds later, and in the other heats, Great Britain's Daniel Awde came the closest to Eaton's mark—and he finished at 10.71 seconds.

In the long jump, Eaton also finished with the top mark of 8.03 meters.

Will Eaton set another world record in the decathlon now that the results really count? Probably not. But if he keeps competing this way, the rest of the field is going to have a very tough time getting in between him and a gold medal. 

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