London 2012 Olympics: Thursday viewer’s guide

By Matt Brooks

Kristin Armstrong zoomed to a second straight gold medal in the women’s cycling time trial to kick off a day filled with frustrating failures, riveting rallies and an Olympic record in the pool for Team USA.

After a disastrous start to the men’s all-around gymnastics competition, Danell Leyva‘s brilliant horizontal bar routine helped him rally for bronze and Allison Schmitt‘s tremendous anchor leg in the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay propelled her team – Missy Franklin included – to gold and a new Olympic record.

Kristin Armstrong

Gallery: Click on the above image of gold medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong for highlights from all of Wednesday’s action. (Matt Rourke/AP)

The big names are back in the pool and on their various apparatuses today as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte go head to head in the 200 IM final and Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman look to double their medal count in the women’s individual all-around.

In all another 23 gold medals will be handed out today in 11 different sports. For some of you, that means a serious workout for your mouse/remote hand. For others, it means you might have trouble deciding what to watch. Let’s this guide be your compass.

Going for the gold

Below is the list of sports that will hand out medals on Thursday, along with their respective times and channels on NBC’s coverage platforms:

Rowing – men’s double sculls; men’s lightweight fours; women’s eights (4:50 a.m., streaming): The U.S. and Canada go head-to-head in the women’s eights final. Both won their respective heats with the Canadians (6:13.91) posting the top time by just 77-tenths of a second. The U.S. men’s lightweight fours compete in the B final.

Will the third time be the charm for China's Wang Hao? (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

Table tennis – men’s singles (10:30 a.m., streaming): Two-time silver medalist Wang Hao of China has dropped just one game so far in his pursuit of the top spot on the podium. But  if the other semifinal plays out true to form, he’ll have to go to top-seeded countryman Zhang Jike to grab that elusive gold.

Shooting – men’s double trap (10 a.m., streaming): The Czech Republic’s David Kostelecky looks to defend his Beijing gold and is just behind the qualifying pace of leader Bostjan Macek of Slovenia.

Canoe/kayak – men’s C-2; women’s K-1 (10:18 a.m./10:57 a.m., NBC)

Archery – women’s individual (10:37 a.m., streaming): American Khatuna Lorig is aiming to bring home the first U.S. medal in this event since Ryonn Luann won gold at the 1976 Montreal Games. But the 24th seed in the field will have her hands full in a field that still includes all three members of South Korea’s gold medalist team. First up, a round-of-16 matchup with China’s Cheng Ming.

Judo – women’s 78 kg, men’s 100 kg (11 a.m., streaming): American Kayla Harrison faces Russia’s Vera Moskalyuk in her first bout. On the men’s side 22-year-old American Kyle Vashkulat takes on Ramziddin Sayidov of Uzbekistan in the half heavyweight division.

Can Gabby Douglas grab a second gold in the all-around? (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Gymnastics – women’s individual all-around (11:30 a.m., streaming): Fresh off their stunning gold medal performance in the team competition, Americans Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas will look to double their medal count in the all-around. Can the American duo go 1-2 as Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson did four years ago in Beijing?

Cycling – men’s, women’s team sprint finals (12:59 p.m., NBC): Men’s world champions Australia and France are the favorites on the wooden track of the Olympic Park Velodrome. On the women’s side, the Aussies – who set a world record at the world championships – will look to grab the inaugural gold in the women’s event’s Olympic debut.

Fencing – women’s team foil (2:15 p.m., streaming): Four years after Emily Cross, Hannah Thompson and Erinn Smart brought the U.S. a surprising silver in Beijing, Cross leads a talented young trio back to the piste. Lee Kiefer, the 18-year-old phenom who won gold at the North American Cup in January, and Nzingha Prescod join Cross this time around. The U.S. kicks off Thursday’s competition with a quarterfinal match against South Korea.

Swimming (streaming):

  • women’s 200-meter breast (2:40 p.m.): Defending gold medalist Rebecca Soni leads the field after her world-record time of 2:20.00 in the second semifinal heat. She’ll be joined by U.S. teammate Micah Lawrence in the final.
  • men’s 200-meter back (2:48 p.m.): Tyler Clary (1:54.71) and Ryan Lochte (1:55.40) posted the top two qualifying times in their semifinal heats. Will they go 1-2 in the final?
  • men’s 200-meter IM (3:19 p.m.): Michael Phelps and Lochte go head-to-head for the second and final time in the London Games. Lochte took gold and Phelps walked away empty-handed in the 400 IM. Can the most decorated athlete in Olympic history turn the tables on his rival?
  • women’s 100-meter free (3:37 p.m.): Teen sensation Missy Franklin posted the third-fastest qualifying time (53.59) and will be joined in the final by teammate Jessica Hardy (53.86). But Ranomi Kromowidjojo could be the favorite after she notched an Olympic-record 53.05.

Best of the rest

Women’s field hockey – U.S. vs. Australia (5:45 a.m., NBC Sports): The Americans earned a much-needed win with their 1-0 win against Argentina on Tuesday, but things don’t get any easier against the Aussies, who are fresh off a big win against Germany. The U.S. lost to Germany 2-1 in its opener.

Tennis – men’s, women’s singles/doubles (7 a.m., Bravo): Venus Williams is out of the singles draw but she and sister Serena are still in the hunt for a third straight gold in doubles. They face Italy’s Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci for a spot in the semifinals. In men’s singles, the quarterfinals features a tantalizing matchup between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who played a gripping five-setter in the French Open quarters. American John Isner will try to take down top-seeded Roger Federer.

Beach volleyball – U.S. women vs. Spain; U.S. men vs. Czech Republic (11:30 a.m./4 p.m., NBC/streaming): April Ross and Jennifer Kessy face Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo McMillan and Liliana Fernandez Steiner in a clash of Pool D unbeatens. Beijing gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser earned a somewhat-controversial win Tuesday over Spain – their toughest competition in Pool B – and look to close out a perfect run through the group against Premysl Kubala and Petr Benes.

Clayton Stanley and Russell Holmes have been a force for the American front line. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Men’s water polo – U.S. vs. Britain (1:20 p.m., NBC): After a pair of gritty wins in their first two contests, the Americans get the struggling hosts in their third Group B match. But while the Brits have mustered a mere 11 goals through two games, the U.S. can’t afford a let-down as they try to keep pace with Serbia atop the group.

Men’s volleyball – U.S. vs. Brazil (3 p.m., NBC): The top two teams in Group B clash in a rematch of the 2008 gold medal match, won by the United States. Neither team dropped a set in their first two matches, but something has to give.

Men’s basketball – U.S. vs. Nigeria (5:15 p.m., NBC Sports): Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Love lead the Americans into their third pool game against a Nigerian team that includes George Mason’s 2006 Final Four point guard, Tony Skinn. The U.S. outscored their first two opponents by a combined 74 points, and this one could get ugly quick.

For a full look at today’s TV schedule, check our listings here.

More

Follow all of today’s events on our Thursday live blog

Kristin Armstrong wins second straight gold in time trial

Rowing: U.S. men’s eight falls .03 seconds short of medal

Badminton players booted from Games for throwing matches