Tuesday, July 24, 2012

London 2012 Olympics Storylines

The London 2012 Olympics begin on Wednesday (July 25) with Women's Soccer, followed by Men's Soccer on Thursday before the official Opening Ceremony on July 27th. NBC will be full of storylines throughout the games for American viewers.

Michael Phelps & Ryan Lochte - Possibly the top two swimmers in the world, both from the United States, will battle it out in a couple of events. You've probably seen Lochte all over TV and on the cover of various magazines. Phelps of course won 8 gold medals at Beijing 2008, and 6 gold medals at Athens 2004. I personally hope Lochte wins more. I mean, Phelps has enough medals by now. During an interview with Bob Costas he showed that some are kept in a plastic bag. Regardless, swimming is one of the big highlights of the tournament. Veteran Natalie Coughlin will be going for her 12th total medal in the Women's Team 4x100-Meter Freestyle Relay.

Women's Soccer Rematches - Last summer's FIFA Women's World Cup provided many great moments. Abby Wambach's LAST second header goal against Brazil. Japan defeating host Germany, powerful Sweden, then winning it all against the USA. At the Olympics, the United States will take on France on Wednesday, who have improved even more since their fourth place finish at the World Cup and will be the toughest test for USA in the group stage. Team GB (mostly England players) will make its Women's debut, though fans of Scotland & Wales don't really support a Great Britain team so the excitement in those countries for both soccer tournaments are not quite as high. Japan will look to become the first team to win a gold medal right after winning a world cup. For Brazil, Marta will be looking to finally lead the Brazilians to a Women's Soccer major tournament win, after finishing 2nd to the United States the past two Olympics. USA looks to continue their gold medal streak, winning gold in 1996, 2004 & 2008. (Norway beat them out in 2000.) And finally, Canada hopes to make an impression in a tough group, since they will be hosting the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, which will be expanded to 24 teams.

Basketball - The little barbs traded between this USA squad and the 1992 Dream Team have been entertaining. However, the gap has been closed on the United States more than it was back in 1992. USA will still dominate most teams and bring the most excitement, and are heavy gold medal favorites. But they might get a run from Argentina, Spain and France. LeBron James is looking to win a gold medal in the same year of his first NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. The US women's team will most likely dominate every team, with the exception of Australia & Russia who can put up a fight.

LoLo Jones - One of Twitter's most entertaining athletes, and proud 29-year-old virgin, she is looking to get past her mistake at Beijing 2008. The gold medal favorite hit one of the hurdles causing a stumble, which of course is the end of any track stars medal hopes in the hurdles. I have little doubt she will have a great race this time around, and should be a gold medal favorite once again.

Volleyball - The popularity of Volleyball has grown, with Beach Volleyball entering prime-time at the last Olympics. Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh became the first Beach Volleyball team to win back-to-back golds and will now look to win a third straight. The United States won gold in both Men's & Women's Beach Volleyball as well as Men's Indoor Volleyball as underdogs. The Women's indoor team won silver. It will be tough to repeat that feat of medaling in all four disciplines, but sure will be fun to watch them try.

Serena Williams - Serena Williams will be looking for the only thing she doesn't have on her outstanding Tennis resume - Olympic Singles Gold. She actually doesn't have any singles medals, and is one of the favorites to at least get a silver or bronze, especially after winning Wimbledon. She does have doubles gold with sister Venus. Also in Tennis, Mixed Doubles (male/female) will be returning to the games for the first time since 1924. Might this lead to other mixed sports with males and females on the same team, such as Beach Volleyball?

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