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.
Today should be declared an official holiday on all California sand. After two semifinal victories, the only two USA women's beach volleyball teams here in London will meet at approximately 1 p.m. West Coast time for the gold medal. And all four players in the game are from the Golden State. If the script plays out correctly, the team of Kerri Walsh Jennings (Saratoga) and Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa) will win their third straight Olympics title in what they have announced will be their final match together. Treanor is retiring after this tournament. Their opponents, Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano) and April Ross (Costa Mesa), have had a great Olympic tournament and won the 2009 world championships when Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor sat out the season. The setting of the beach volleyball venue here is epic, in a parade ground adjoining 10 Downing Street, where British Prime Minister David Cameron lives. Even he might stroll over today to salute Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor, who will certify their status as the best beach team ever with a victory. Prediction: Notify the London flood control. Many tears will be shed, no matter how it turns out.
PHRASE YOU SHOULD
Oh, you say the Greco-Roman competition is concluded in wrestling? What a silly shame.
ANOTHER CALIFORNIA ANGLE
In addition to the start of the decathlon, history will be made today at Olympic Stadium. Sarah Attar will become Saudi Arabia's first-ever female Olympic track and field athlete when she participates in the 800-meter heats at 3:35 a.m. Pacific Time. What does that have to do with California? Attar was born and raised in Escondido and attends Pepperdine on an art scholarship while she runs for the cross-country team. She's a dual USA and Saudi citizen, however, through her father. Attar will wear a headscarf when she competes and almost surely won't survive the first round of qualifying. But it would be nice if her image is broadcast in Saudi Arabia to young women there. Sadly, don't count on it.
AND YET ANOTHER CALI AFTERNOON SNACK: THE MORAGA SPECIAL
This is why Patty Mills and Matt Dellavedova, the two St. Marys College stars who start for the Australian national team, came to the Olympics. The Boomers, as the Aussie team is called, face the USA in a quarterfinal game at 2:15 p.m. The Aussies don't have much of a chance. But it should be a kick to see how the Gaels from Oz do against LeBron, Kobe and company.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WOMEN'S 10-METER PLATFORM DIVING COMPETITION TODAY
The Chinese will win. Move on. Nothing to see here.
IF THERE IS ANY JUSTICE FOR WOEFUL OLYMPIC MASCOTS, HERE IS WHAT THE DEMENTED WENLOCK AND THE FOPPISH MANDEVILLE, BOTH WILL BE FORCED TO DO TODAY
Clean up the poop from the horse Ann Romney owns in the equestrian competition. I wonder if the horse gets taunted by the British horses about the remarks Mitt Romney made about London not being prepared for the Games? Keep your fetlocks up for a fight, mighty steed. Those Brits can be cheeky.
THE ONE ATHLETE YOU NEED TO WATCH TODAY
Marlen Esparza, the USA's best hope for a medal in women's boxing. Esparza is from Houston but one of her advisors and consultants is the Bay Area's well-known Victor Conte, former proprietor of the Balco lab that ignited sports' biggest drug scandal of the past 10 years. Esparza has reached the flyweight (112-pound) division semifinals and at 5:30 a.m. West Coast time will take on three-time world champion Ren Cancan of China. But even if Esparza loses, she will claim one of two bronze medals awarded because there is no box-off between the semifinal losers for that medal. Let's see how many photos emerge when Conte, never averse to publicity, finds a way to pose alongside Esparza. And just think if she pulls off an upset with a strong knockout. The IOC doping control bus probably has its motor running in the parking garage beneath the venue.