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Olympics day-by-day guide to events

Wednesday, July 25
Britain’s women’s football team have the honour of getting the 2012 London Olympics under way . . .  in Cardiff. Hope Powell’s squad kick off their quest for gold against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium.

Holders and the two-time world champions USA face France in another opening-day fixture while Beijing silver medallists Brazil take on Cameroon.

Thursday, July 26

Now it’s the turn of Stuart Pearce’s men to open their campaign with a clash against Senegal at Old Trafford. There’s no David Beckham but his former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs, Liverpool’s Craig Bellamy and Manchester City’s Micah Richards offer plenty of top-level experience.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) stands and listens as President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge speaks at a reception for IOC members at Buckingham Palace in central London on July 23, 2012, four days ahead of the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27. AFP PHOTO

 

Spain have beaten all‑comers over the past six years and their youngsters will be looking to add a gold medal to World Cup and two European Championship crowns. They begin their campaign against Japan.

Friday, July 27

The eyes of the world will be fixed on the capital for the opening ceremony. Beijing’s eye‑popping effort in 2008, with 15,000 performers, 30,000 fireworks and an estimated audience just shy of four billion, will take some matching. But ‘Isles of Wonder’ will transform the Olympic Stadium into a picturesque British countryside and, under the direction of Danny Boyle, promises to celebrate all that is great of the country. There is some competitive action too, with archery getting under way at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Saturday, July 28

If everything then goes to plan, at around 4pm, Mark Cavendish will claim Britain’s first gold medal of the Games as he crosses the line on The Mall in the men’s road race. Fresh from his exploits at the Tour de France, the Isle of Man sprinter will certainly be in contention around the 150-mile course. Cavendish has undertaken a weight-loss programme in order to cope with a hilly midsection and is confident of success.
In the pool, Britta Steffen, the world’s fastest woman, and her Germany team will provide stiff competition in the final race of a busy day at the Aquatics Centre.
American Michael Phelps, who opens his account in the 400m individual medley, won eight golds four years ago and needs just three more of any colour to surpass the record Olympic haul of 18 collected by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina between 1956 and 1964.
Strawberries and cream at the ready as Andy Murray and Co return to Wimbledon just three weeks after the Grand Slam there. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the other main attractions in the men’s draw while Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki should challenge for the women’s.

Rowing heats begin in nine of the 14 classes with Team GB looking to improve on the eight medals they achieved in Beijing. Britain appear the ones to beat following their record-breaking performance at the world championships last year, when they won 14 medals. Elsewhere, beach volleyball, one of the most popular spectator sports on show, begins at Horse Guards Parade.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s road race
Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay final
Men’s 400m individual medley final
Women’s 400m individual medley final
Men’s 400m freestyle final

Sunday, July 29

Another full schedule in the pool sees double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington defend her 400m freestyle crown. Team GB’s Golden Girl is No1 in the world at this distance but faces tough competition from Australia’s Kylie Palmer and Bronte Barratt. There is British interest in various heats throughout the day while America and Australia look set for a ding-dong battle in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

Expect flashing lights and razzmatazz galore when the American sports experience comes to London with the men’s basketball. D’Tigers, Nigeria’s men team, would also be in action against Tunisia. No team across the whole of the Games boasts a more impressive collection of talent than Team USA. Complete with names such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, anything other than the gold they achieved in Beijing will be considered a failure.

There will be no time-outs or shot-clocks in sight at Wembley, though, when Pearce’s footballers face UAE in their second group match. The UAE have been exempted from fasting during Ramadan with the Islamic holy month coinciding with the Games.

HIGHLIGHTS

Women’s 400m freestyle final
Women’s road race
Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay final
Basketball pool matches get under way
GB v UAE (men’s football)

Monday, July 30

The Aquatics Centre takes centre stage again but the swimmers will be sharing the spotlight with the divers.
Much of the attention will be on 18-year-old Tom Daley, who goes for gold in the men’s synchronised 10m platform with Peter Waterfield. The poster boy of the Games can expect a blaze of publicity as one of the most high-profile members of Team GB. Waterfield has pedigree of his own, having won silver in Athens in 2004.

Liam Tancock could be our best chance of a men’s swimming medal and he should feature in the 100m backstroke final. The 27-year-old is a double world champion and world record holder at 50m but his specialist event is not an Olympic discipline. Tancock faces a tough field including Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s synchronised 10m platform final
Gymnastics Men’s team final Men’s 100m backstroke final Women’s 100m breaststroke final
Men’s 200m freestyle final

Tuesday, July 31

Women’s football is back in the spotlight with the clash between Team GB and Brazil at Wembley. A gold medal has proved elusive for the South Americans in four previous Games and they will be looking to go one better than the silver they won in Athens and Beijing. Powell’s GB squad — making their Olympics debut — is drawn exclusively from England and Scotland, who supply midfielder Kim Little and  Ifeoma Dieke.

Little’s Arsenal team-mate Kelly Smith — England’s record scorer with 45 goals — will lead the line, having recovered from the broken leg she suffered in March.

In men’s basketball, Team GB also face Brazilian opposition. The home squad prepared with a two-week training camp in America and boast players such as Luol Deng, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Joel Freeland. Britain have not competed in a Games since 1948, while Brazil have qualified for the first time since 1996.

Back in the pool, Phelps will be in contention for two medals — in the 200m butterfly and 4x200m freestyle relay.
The tennis reaches the quarter-final stage at Wimbledon and British pair Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong, who have been handed wildcards to the single’s draw, will hope to still be involved.

HIGHLIGHTS

Equestrian team eventing GB vs Brazil (women’s football)
GB vs Brazil (men’s ba ketball) Men’s 200m butterfly final Men’s canoe slalom single (C1) final
Wednesday, August 1

Bradley Wiggins has been focusing on yellow for the last three weeks but now turns his attentions to gold. Yesterday he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France and, unfortunately, those exertions could take their toll at the Olympics, where today he will be competing in the individual time trial.

Bromley-born Ellen Gandy is among the favourites for gold in the 200m butterfly, having won silver at the World Championships last year. Gandy was 12 years old when she featured on a ‘back the bid’ poster and, some eight years on, takes her place at the Games she helped bring to the capital.

Arguably the most talented of the British bunch in the pool, her biggest threat is China’s world No1 Zige Liu.
In men’s football, Team GB face Uruguay in Cardiff in the final round of group matches with the South American squad including Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Chelsea target Edinson Cavani. The Millennium Stadium game will be particularly special for Welshmen Giggs, Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey.
HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s road race individual time trial
Rowing men’s eight final Women’s 200m butterfly final Gymnastic, artistic: men’s individual all-round final GB v Uruguay (men’s football)

Thursday, August 2

Team GB’s success in the Velodrome was one of the stories of the Beijing Olympics, with Sir Chris Hoy leading the cyclists to an astonishing eight golds. Three of those were won by Hoy himself who, at the age of 36, is still the man everybody wants to see. He leads the men in their defence of the team sprint.

Victoria Pendleton struck gold four years ago and is our star turn in the women’s team sprint. Britain’s most decorated female track cyclist is retiring after the Games but hopes to conclude a glittering career in style. Eye-catching surroundings and the potential for British medals mean the Velodrome offers one of the hottest tickets in town.

In the pool, Fran Halsall will be Britain’s main hope in the 100m freestyle final. Sprint specialist Halsall grabbed the headlines in 2010 by becoming the first British swimmer to win five medals at a single European Championships. The men’s 200m individual medley offers another medal chance for Phelps.

The USA are back in basketball action while Team GB take on European champions Spain.

HIGHLIGHTS

Women’s team sprint final Men’s team sprint final Men’s 200m individual medley final
Women’s 100m freestyle final GB vs Spain (men’s basketball)

Friday, August 3

Jessica Ennis launches her bid for heptathlon gold on the opening day of the athletics. The 26‑year-old has become the face of Team GB for London 2012 and is confident she can deal with the hopes of a nation. Ennis was ruled out of the Beijing Olympics when she suffered a stress fracture to her right foot but has since become one of the best all-round female athletes on the planet.

Ennis kicks off with the 100m hurdles — her favourite event — before the high hump and shot put. Her day concludes with the 200m. The event promises to provide a thrilling duel between Ennis and Russian world champion Tatyana Chernova.

Adlington swims for gold in her signature event, the 800m freestyle. Adlington smashed the world record that had stood since 1989 on her way to a victory in this event four years ago. In doing so, she became the first British woman to win gold in the pool since 1960. Spofforth is another medal hope in the 200m backstroke.

Back at the Velodrome, Team GB’s pursuit quartet — led, of course, by Hoy — will bid to retain their Olympic title while Pendelton is in with a medal shout in the keirin.

Katherine Grainger is Britain’s most successful female rower and she and partner Anna Watkins are hot favourites for gold in the women’s double sculls. Grainger has won silver medals at each of the last three Games and is desperate to go one better this time. Alan Campbell goes in the single sculls final.

The semi-finals get under way at Wimbledon with Tim Henman, thankfully for everyone’s stress levels, nowhere in sight. Murray will expect to still be involved in the singles and victory at this stage would guarantee at least a silver medal. The Scot has said that a gold would ease the pain of losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer two weeks ago.
The women’s football reaches the quarter‑final stage.

HIGHLIGHTS

Women’s heptathlon
Men’s team pursuit final
Women’s 800m freestyle
Women’s 200m backstroke Rowing men’s single sculls final

Saturday, Aug 4

Ennis and Mo Farah share the spotlight on a day that could, and whisper it quietly, see Team GB pick up their first gold on the track. Ennis completes her heptathlon with the long jump and javelin throw in the morning, before the 800m could see her crowned Olympic champion in the evening.

Attention will then turn to Farah and the 10,000m. Farah has looked in superb physical condition in the build-up to the Games and is being billed as one of Britain’s best chances of a medal. His biggest rival — friend and training partner Galen Rupp — will fancy his chances of spoiling the party, though. Spare a thought for Farah’s wife, Tania, who will be watching her husband while seven months pregnant with twins.

With US world champion Dwight Phillips out injured, Britain’s Greg Rutherford has a great chance of gold in the long jump final.

The team pursuit final in the Velodrome should present another good chance for Britain’s women to get among the medals while Helen Jenkins is favourite to win gold in the triathlon.

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter will be bidding to retain their Olympic title in the lightweight double sculls. The pair broke new ground for British rowing, traditionally dominated by the heavyweight men, when they won a lightweight gold four years ago.

In what is certain to be one of the iconic moments of the Games, Oscar Pistorius runs in the 400m having battled in courts to be declared eligible to compete in able-bodied competition. The South African will become the first double amputee in history to compete at the Olympics.

While over at SW19, the women’s singles final takes place with American star Williams looking to complete a Wimbledon double. Barring a minor miracle, there will be no British interest.

And just when you thought you had seen the last of penalties, the men’s football tournament reaches the quarter-final stage. Pearce is no stranger to shoot-outs so don’t be surprised if Team GB are involved in another one here.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s 10,000m final
Women’s triathlon
Women’s heptathlon finishes Women’s tennis singles final
Women’s team pursuit final

Sunday, August 5

The eyes of the world will be on Usain Bolt for arguably the most eagerly-anticipated 100m final ever. The headline act of the Games famously surged to victory in world record times in the 100m and 200m in Beijing. But Bolt looked a long way short of his dazzling best as training partner Yohan Blake completed a sensational sprint double at the Jamaican trials last month, results that have only added to the intrigue surrounding the race. Oh, and don’t rule out Asafa Powell — another Jamaican — who is a former world record holder. Brit Adam Gemili, an 18-year-old former Chelsea youth footballer, became world junior champion this month. The Dartford-born sprinter will hope to run his more-established opponents close.

Also on the track, Christine Ohuruogu, who was raised less than a mile from the Olympic site in Stratford, defends her 400m gold. Ohuruogu enjoyed a resurgence in form and ran her fastest time in three years at the Diamond League meeting in New York in June and then sparkled in the London Grand Prix.

In the marathon, Paula Radcliffe aims for the elusive Olympic medal that is the glaring omission from a glittering career. The 38‑year‑old was one of the first athletes selected to represent Team GB and is running for gold in her fifth Games.

It’s the turn of the men’s singles final at Wimbledon while gymnast Louis Smith is a big medal hope on the pommel horse. Smith won GB’s first individual gymnastics medal in 100 years when he claimed bronze in Beijing. Cyclist Ed Clancy was part of the world record‑breaking team pursuit quartet who won gold in Beijing and the Briton should challenge for medals in the multi-discipline omnium.

On a busy day for home athletes, three-time Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie goes for gold in the finn class. Ainslie was the first of 8,000 torchbearers to lift the Olympic flame when it started its 70-day journey to the capital for the opening ceremony. He competed at his first Olympics in 1996 and is favourite for another triumph some 16 years later.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s 100m final
Women’s 400m final
Men’s tennis singles final
Women’s marathon
Men’s pommel horse final

Monday, August 6

London provides the last chance for Beth Tweddle to add an Olympic medal to her impressive record before she retires. A gold is the only achievement missing from her legacy as she approaches the end of her career. Tweddle, a seven-time British champion, would be a popular winner in her signature event, the uneven bars.

Dai Greene stormed to 400m hurdles victory in last year’s World Championships and is a major medal hope here. The 26-year-old is aiming to become the first Welshman since 1964 to win an athletics gold. However, Britain’s athletics captain faces stiff competition from Puerto Rican Javier Culson.

There are plenty of track golds up for grabs — in the women’s shot put, women’s pole vault, where Holly Bleasdale goes for glory, women’s steeplechase and the men’s 400m.

Team GB will be challenging for more medals on the penultimate day in the Velodrome. Jason Kenny leads the challenge in the men’s sprint while exciting 20-year-old Laura Trott is a world record holder in the six-discipline omnium.

The semi-finals of the women’s football take place at Old Trafford and Wembley.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s 400m hurdles final
Men’s sprint final
Women’s pole vault
Women’s uneven bars
GB v China (men’s basketball)

Tuesday, August 7

The highlight of day 14 could come from brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee. Given that they are the world’s top two triathletes there is every chance of a British one-two. Earlier this year, they finished a race arm-in-arm but have been advised against a similar stunt in London. Officials have warned that results will go down to a vest’s width in a photo-finish if necessary to ensure there is no double-award of gold. Spaniard Javier Gomez, world champion in 2008 and 2010, will be their main challenger around the luscious surroundings of Hyde Park.

Team GB will hope to feature when the men’s football reaches the last four. Expect Brazil and Spain to be involved as Old Trafford and Wembley host the semi-finals. Manchester United No1 David de Gea will be in goal for Spain during the Games while Tottenham midfielder Sandro is in the Brazil squad.

Hoy goes for gold in the men’s keirin while Victoria Pendleton and Trott are also in the hunt for medals in the Velodrome. In the last track race of the Games, Pendleton will be looking to end her career on a high after announcing she intends to step away from cycling.

Australian world champion Sally Pearson (below) dominates the 100m hurdles but Team GB’s Tiffany Porter could be on the medal podium. Jessica Ennis may also feature after giving herself a second option if anything goes amiss in the heptathlon.

Lawrence Okoye, 20, could well win a medal in the discus final but Germany’s Robert Harting is favourite.
Women’s table tennis honours are up for grabs – well, kind of. China dominate the sport and are expected to clean up most of the medals. Their supremacy is so total that they are allowing foreigners to train with them in an attempt to reduce the gulf. Despite that, as with all countries, China can enter only two players in both the men’s and women’s singles.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s triathlon
Women’s 100m hurdles final
Women’s sprint final
Men’s high jump final
Men’s keirin final

Wednesday, August 8

The beach volleyball is bound to attract a fair bit of attention at Horse Guards Parade. At one of the iconic venues of the Games, the women’s gold medal will be decided more or less in front of Her Majesty’s bedroom window. Despite the briefness of the bikinis on show, don’t overlook the athleticism and skill required here. Britain,  in the shape of Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin, are being represented in the event for the first time since 1996.

On the track, medals will be decided in the women’s 200m, 400m hurdles and long jump and in the men’s 110m hurdles.
Paul Drinkhall, a former European champion at youth level, is the leading Team GB competitor in the table tennis but today’s final should be an all-Chinese affair. Drinkhall, 22, was runner-up to Arsenal’s Theo Walcott in the 2006 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

HIGHLIGHTS

Women’s beach volleyball final
Men’s Table tennis team final
Men’s K1 Canoeing 1,000m sprint final
Men’s 110m hurdles final
Women’s long jump

Thursday, August 9

This is the day Bolt will defend his 200m crown. The Jamaican sprinter became a household name in Beijing, breaking Michael Johnson’s long-standing 200m world record along the way.

The longer sprint is an event Bolt owned until he slumped to defeat by training partner Blake at the Jamaican trials on the eve of the Games. Nobody is writing off Bolt, least of all Blake, and this head-to-head should have everyone purring.

Phillips Idowu, one of Britain’s biggest gold medal hopes, goes in the triple jump final. Raised in east London, he missed out on gold by centimetres in Beijing but his preparations for the Games have not been ideal.

Idowu has competed just three times in 2012 — the last of them coming on June 1 — and withdrew from this month’s London Grand Prix just 25 minutes before his event due to a hip injury.

Women’s boxing is making its debut at the Games and all the medals will be decided on the same day. British hopefuls Nicola Adams, the flyweight, and middleweight Savannah Marshall could be among the medals while Ireland’s Katie Taylor is favourite to win lightweight gold.

Keri-Anne Payne will try to go one better than her Beijing silver in the 10km open water swim. Payne, who is due to marry fellow British swimmer David Carry after the Olympics, became the first Team GB athlete to qualify for the Games last July. The double world champion is Britain’s sole representative in the race.

Kenyan David Rudisha broke the world record twice in eight days last summer and is the man to beat in the 800m final.
Across London at Wembley, the women’s football final takes place.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s triple jump final
Men’s 200m final
Men’s 800m final
Women’s 10k open water swim
Women’s javelin final

Friday, August 10

Sarah Stevenson is a world champion with a real chance for a medal in taekwondo. Nigeria’s Chika Chukwumerijie will also be in action. Stevenson lost her mother and father last year and there is unlikely to be a more popular British success if she is among the medals for a second time. She won Britain’s first Olympic medal in the sport in 2008.

The highlight of the day on the track is the women’s 4x100m final with USA, Jamaica  and Nigeria likely to lead the way. America will also be there or thereabouts in the men’s 4x400m final.

The women’s hockey final takes place with Team GB strong contenders for a medal. Danny Kerry’s side put in a gold-medal winning performance in a test event in May — not conceding a goal in 280 minutes of play against three of the world’s best teams. All they need to do now is repeat that this summer. Easy.

Expect Team USA to be the star attraction in the basketball semi-finals while the bronze medal match takes place in the men’s football.

HIGHLIGHTS

Women’s 1500m final
Men’s 10k open water swim
Women’s 4x100m relay final
Men’s 4x400m final
Women’s hockey final

Saturday, August 11

Tom Daley stunned the world by winning the 2009 world title in the 10m platform at the age of 15 and now has the hopes a nation on his shoulders. He is in the form of his life, winning the European title in May with a new personal best.

The home favourite’s main rival for gold is likely to be China’s Qiu Bo, who was superior to Daley on his way to the world crown last year.

It’s the turn of the men’s boxing finals with bantamweight Luke Campbell a potential medallist. Team GB’s 10‑strong squad includes one world champion, three European champions and four world finalists. Seven of the team are ranked in the top four in the world in their weight class.

The women’s 800m final is likely to feature Caster Semenya, the athlete whose victory in the world final in 2009 was overshadowed by questions over her gender. With all that now firmly behind her, the South African believes that she has the ability to break the longest standing women’s world record in athletics, which was set in 1983.
If there is a shoo-in for a gold medal at the Games – it is the Jamaican men’s 4x100m relay team.

The three fastest men in the world — Bolt, Blake and Powell — will probably win the gold, silver and bronze in the individual event. The trio, plus one other, could smash their own world relay record in the process.

Team GB won gold at the 4x400m World Indoor Championships title in March and, led by Ohuruogu, will fancy their chances of another medal. Farah runs in the 5,000m with a serious hope of gold.

The men’s football final takes place at Wembley, a day when Juan Mata (above) could add yet another medal to his bulging trophy cabinet. Having bagged the Champions League and FA Cup with Chelsea in May, the midfielder scored in Spain’s Euro 2012 Final victory, just minutes after coming on.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s 5,000m final
Men’s 4x100m relay
Men’s 10m platform final
Men’s football final
Women’s 800m final

Sunday, August 12

The closing ceremony brings down the curtain on the Games and marks the handover to the next hosts, Rio.
But not before Mhairi Spence and Samantha Murray go for gold in the modern pentathlon. The pair are at the Olympic Park for swimming and fencing in the morning before heading to Greenwich Park for riding and then the combined running and shooting event that decides the medals.

Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang won the London Marathon this year and is expected to triumph ahead of his team-mates again here.
Team USA will win basketball gold, barring any in-house discontent.

HIGHLIGHTS

Men’s basketball final
Men’s superheavyweight final
Women’s modern pentathlon
Men’s marathon
Men’s handball final


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