Everything you need to know about tonight's Olympic primetime coverage—without knowing what actually happened.
MEN’S PARALLEL BARS
Feng Zhe of China comes in as the favorite. He’s the 2010 world champion and will be expecting to win his second gold after a first-place finish in the team competition. German Marcel Nguyen, the all-around silver medalist, and Japan’s brother pair Kazuhito and Yusuke Tanaka, the two highest scorers in qualifying, should also challenge for a place on the podium. There are no Americans competing, as it’s required to note. If you enjoy a well-executed parallel-bar routine, then watch—but the gold medalist takes this one pretty comfortably.
WOMEN’S BALANCE BEAM
Americans Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas are both competing, but the Chinese pair of Linlin Deng and Lu Sui and the Romanians Catalina Ponor and Larisa Iordache are the favorites. Two women from the same country pull away from the rest of the competitors giving their nation another gold and silver. The third place finisher is both surprising and disappointing at the same time. If you’re going to pass up on your last chane to watch Gabby Douglas at the 2012 Olympics, I hope you found a petting zoo that stays open night because there’s really no other excuse.
MEN’S HORIZONTAL BAR
This is the last men’s gymnastics event in London—because men do not compete in rhythmic gymnastics at the Olympics. Americans Jonathan Horton and Danell Leyva both qualified for this event, but Zou Kai of China is the defending champ and favorite. Fabian Hambuchen of the up-and-coming German team is also expected to challenge for a medal. This is worth checking out to see if Levya or Horton can rally and cap off a pretty disappointing showing with a few medals.
WOMEN’S FLOOR EXERCISE
This is your last chance to see members of maybe the greatest gymnastics team of all time compete at the Olympics. Aly Raisman has been the best on the floor for the U.S., but it’s also Jordyn Wieber’s only chance for an individual medal after failing to qualify for the all-around competition. Lauren Mitchell of Australia and Catalina Ponor of Romania are also medal threats. This ends up being a chance for some kind of “revenge”—a word that doesn’t necessarily apply when you’re tumbling and jumping on a mat, by yourself—for pretty much every gymnast competing. The end result is both satisfying and disappointing, no matter what your point of view is.
MEN’S 3M SPRINGBOARD
China has all five diving golds thus far in London, and they’re expected to continue that streak here with Qin Kai and defending gold medalist He Chong as the favorites. The Chinese have also won this event every year since 1996. Russia’s Ilya Zakharov would be the man to break these streaks, but anything less than gold for China would be a major shock. Well, that shock ends up being a distinct possibility with the competition coming down to the final dive. While the prospect of watching Russia and China duke it out on a springboard might not sound like the ideal Tuesday night, you do not want to miss this.
MEN’S HIGH JUMP
Ivan Ukhov once showed up to a high-jump competition drunk and still competed. He failed, terribly, but since then he’s gone on to become the best high jumper in the world. He’s favored here and is in contention all the way to the end, despite some more self-inflicted hijinks that you won’t want to miss. American Jesse Williams was considered a medal hopeful, but there’s another surprise competitor who pushes Ukhov all the way to the medal stand. Also, six people end up winning medals here—including me, after I had to hop up to shut off my stupid ceiling fan. Thanks, Olympics!
As is the case with all throwing-stuff events, it’s hard to get excited about something that just isn’t that great to watch on TV—especially when it’s presented in such a bit-piece way, as I’m sure it will be tonight. There are no Americans competing, but the guy who wins loses his mind after the competition is over and basically fulfills every stereotype you might have of a world-class discuss throw. So, there’s that.
WOMEN’S 100M HURDLES
Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones. Lolo Jones.
Um, sorry. Blame Lolo Jones for that. Anyway, this race is great. A record gets set, and only 0.02 seconds separate first and second. A lot of Americans go real fast, too.
Kenyans Silas Kiplagat and Asbel Kiprop took second and first, respectively, in last year’s World Championships. They’re probably the favorites, but Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi, who was kicked out and then un-kicked out of the Olympics, is also expected to challenge after an impressive performance in his semifinal heat. Here are some words to describe what happens in this race: bizarre, hilarious, weird, sports, absurd, sports, Olympics, The Olympic Spirit, and perfect.