Your Non-Spoiler Olympic Primetime Guide: August 8


Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Photo: tommarsh/Flickr

Everything you need to know about tonight's Olympic primetime coverage—without knowing what actually happened.

The last American to win this event was Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988. Brittney Reese will be looking to change that, as she’s the favorite heading into the finals. Janay DeLoach, also of the U.S., took silver in the 2011 World Championship and is expected to challenge for a medal along with Russia’s Yelena Sokolova. Reese struggles with her jumps, faulting more times than not, but can she go long enough on her legal jumps? Coverage will probably be interspersed throughout primetime, so you’ll have to really go out of your way to not actually watch this.

American Lashinda Demus is the defending World Champ in the event. Along with Russian Natalya Antyukh, a bronze medalist from the Athens Olympics, she’s a favorite for gold. This race is great, and the two favorites pull away from the pack right as they come into the straightway. The winner takes gold by less than one tenth of a second. This is also a chance to re-live the Cold War through two women jumping over obstacles placed on a rubber track, which isn’t an opportunity that comes around every day.

The 100m champion, the 400m champion, the 100m runner-up, and the two-time defending gold medalist in this race are all running. And none of them are necessarily favorites. That’d be Allyson Felix, the three-time world champ and two-time silver medalist. She’s been runner-up to Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica in the past two Olympics and has yet to win an individual gold. If that’s not enough to make you watch, there may or may not be a Bigfoot sighting at some point during the race.

This is basically the last real chance for the American men to win an individual gold in track. The legendary one-time Chinese gold medalist Liu Xiang went down injured in a preliminary heat, which sent all of China into some kind of cataclysmic depression, but also opened up the field for the Americans. Aries Merritt of the U.S. is the favorite, and fellow American Jason Richardson is expected to medal. Defending gold medalist Dayron Robles of Cuba is in the field as well. This specific race is amazing because the guys are moving so fast despite the prospect of possible-death/certain-maiming at every hurdle. It’s like modern-day dragon fighting—except with your feet and without dragons or fire or anything else.

Grandpa joke: I’ll bet ya five bucks that the Americans win the gold medal in beach volleyball.

If your grandpa says this to you, congrats on having a grandpa who knows a lot about beach volleyball. Also: congrats on having a grandpa who is a crook and is probably being monitored by a CIA wiretap.