Your Non-Spoiler Olympic Primetime Guide: July 30
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For whatever reason, NBC is refusing to show the majority its primetime-scheduled Olympic events live. Well, they're showing them on their hitch-ridden, computer-crashing website, but they're not playing most of the marquee events when they happen. Maybe it's working (numbers are on a record pace) or maybe it's just pointless and the people who watch in primetime will watch in primetime no matter what. But whatever.
People also have work/life responsibilities during the day, which is when the Olympics are on. Some, maybe, find it possible to avoid the Internet and experience the tape-delayed events like they're live. If you're one of those people, we're here for you. Inspired by the geniuses at Howler Magazine, we'll be providing you with a non-spoiler guide to the night's primetime Olympic events: What you should watch, what you shouldn't watch, and what happened—without actually ruining what happened. We'll have it all for you each afternoon until the Games are over.
MEN'S TEAM GYMNASTICS
The U.S. heads into the competition with some confidence, you'd think, after scoring highest in the qualification round. The competition turns out to be fulfilling, disappointing, depressing, exciting, and not-surprising—all at the same time. If you're into all-time great athletes doing their thing, bureaucratic technical controversies, and “surprise” “success” stories, it's worth sticking with the gymnastics competition until whatever time NBC stretches it out to.
MEN'S SYNCHRONIZED 10M PLATFORM
American men have never won a medal in synchronized diving, and China basically wins every medal in synchronized diving. While the gold medalists here are maybe foregone conclusions, there's a pretty cool surprise elsewhere on the medal stand. Don't watch this if you've ever said “If you ain't first, you're last.”
WOMEN'S 100M BACKSTROKE
Missy Franklin is competing in seven events in London. Missy Franklin is also 17. Aussie Emily Seebohm was close to world-record time in her semifinal heat, but can she hold off Franklin and Aya Terakawa of Japan? One of the favorites jumps out to an early lead at world-record pace, but the others close the gap and hang around until the end. If that's not something you're interested in, the Olympics probably aren't your thing.
MEN'S 100M BACKSTROKE
The U.S. enters the event as a four-time defending champ in the 100m breaststroke. Giant Matt Grevers—he's 6'8″—and Nick Thorman both come in looking to extend that streak. There's a comeback-unto-dominant performance by the winner, and there's a .05-second difference between second and third place.
WOMEN'S 100M BREASTSTROKE
U.S. swimming wins its 500th all-time medal in this race—Australia is second with 153—but what color is it? Rebecca Soni holds the world record in the race, while 20-year-old American Breeja Larson is a breaststroke specialist. First- and second-place are separated by less than a tenth-of-a-second, and something that's never happened before in Olympic swimming history happens. Again, if you don't want to watch that etc.
MEN'S 100M FREESTYLE
Things at stake for Ryan Lochte here: a gold medal he's expected to win, revenge against Yannick Agnel, the Frenchman who overtook him in the last leg of yesterday's 4x100m relay, and a chance to bite a gold medal while not wearing a “bedazzled retainer.” It turns out that the podium's only big enough for one person named either Yannick or Ryan. What happens here has happened before—not too long ago, either.