Each day at the Olympics, I will preview the day's events and help you formulate viewing and reading priorities. I also may rant a bit, so please forgive me in advance.
CAN'T MISS EVENT
Such a busy day, so many choices here. However, we are entering the final week of competitive life for the beach volleyball pair of Kerri Walsh, from Stanford and San Jose's Archbishop Mitty High, and Misty May-Treanor. The two will part ways after the Olympics because May-Treanor is retiring. You know what that means. When the tournament's single-elimination portion of the tournament begins Saturday with the round of 16, every match Walsh and May-Treanor play could be their last. They will always be friends. But there's bound to be emotion when it's all over here, no matter how they finish. Walsh and May-Treanor are the two-time defending gold medalists in their event and went undefeated in their pool. But the international opponents are far more talented than in 2004 or 2008. So it won't be easy. Walsh and May-Treanor's first elimination match is scheduled for around 1:30 p.m. at the scenic Horse Guards Parade grounds.
The women's triathlon will be run today in Hyde Park with the course running directly past Buckingham Palace. Will the queen's corgi dogs chase after the bikes?
The USA men's basketball team should have it's most competitive game to date (which isn't saying much) when it faces Lithuania at 6:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Although this is hardly the best Lithuanian team (1-2 in preliminary games so far) it will surely provide a better test than Nigeria or Tunisia, who lost to the running-and-dunking Americans by 130 combined points. Lithuania will at least play defense. And maybe lose by just 25.
PHRASE YOU SHOULD SAY WITH A BRITISH ACCENT JUST FOR FUN
Are you journeying to Eton Dorney for the lightweight double sculls finals and classifications? If so, you mustn't be late. (The racing starts at 4:30 a.m. California time and will include Bay Area rowers Julie Nichols and Kristine Hedstrom.)
PLEASE REMOVE YOUR CAPS AND BOW YOUR HEADS FOR A MOMENT OF SILENCE
Michael Phelps will compete in the final race of his amazing career when he participates in the 4x100 medley relay. It should start at 12:27 p.m. on the West Coast and 3:27 in the Eastern Time Zone. This truly is a momentous occasion. Phelps is concluding the best career of any Olympian, ever. And so NBC will surely show it live. Right? What do you think?
USAIN WON'T HAVE TO BOLT THIS TIME
Track and field will be in full swing and Usain Bolt will be in action but he won't have to break much of a sweat. It's the first round of 100-meter qualifying heats. He can probably keep it in second gear and move on to the next round. More dramatic will be the women's 100-meter final, which will be without Jeneba Tarmoh, the San Jose sprinter who should be in the race but isn't. In June at the USA Olympic trials, she tied Allyson Felix for the USA's third spot in the 100 here and was given the option of a runoff race with Felix — but declined. Tarmoh didn't say why but clearly thought she'd won a spot. She is eligible for later relay races but if Felix fades tonight, the comments will be interesting.
YES, IT IS SICK. BUT IT IS COMPELLING
More weightlifting today in the 207-pound weight class. I'm not promising anything. But the other day, South Korean weightlifter Jaehyouk Sa totally dislocated his elbow while competing. Yes, he screamed in anguish. He also "abandoned the competition," as the official results sheet ssaid. I was going to blame the dastardly Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville. But I couldn't joke about something so painful. The medal round of lifts begins at 6 a.m. Pacific Time.
THE ONE ATHLETE YOU NEED TO WATCH TODAY
Serena Williams will try to complete a rare double. She won a Wimbledon championship here last month and can win an Olympic gold medal on the very same court — sandwiched around the Bank of the West tournament championship in Palo Alto, of course. Wonder which of the three titles would mean the most to her? Williams faces Maria Sharapova of Russia at 6 a.m. Pacific Time in what should be a pip of a match. Plus, because the Wimbledon all-white-outfit rule doesn't apply at the Olympics, it should be fascinating to see what sort of outfit Williams rocks as she pursues her medal. What color goes best with gold?