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Olympic Day 4 Track & Field Preview

posted by The Track & Field Superblog
Monday, August 6, 2012 at 8:08am EDT

Obsessive Coverage from an Obsessive Fan: All things pertaining to the highest levels of track & field, road racing, and cross country

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Each day I’ll be doing a fairly extensive but “just the facts, ma’am” preview. For something a little more narrative, head on over to Flotrack.

Some notes: names in gold, silver or bronze are the medal position predicted by Track and Field News, and all times are Eastern. “Gambler’s picks” are the odds in the UK.

Remember, you can watch live online at NBCOlympics.com
You also want to follow the IAAF’s live blog, they do a fantastic job.

Scheduled TV coverage NBC    10:00-10:30am    Qualifying-round action in Track & Field, inlcuding the women’s 100m hurdles and 1500m, and the men’s 800m. NBC    1:15-1:45pm    Qualifying-round action in Track & Field, inlcuding the women’s 100m hurdles and 1500m, and the men’s 800m. NBC    4:30-5:00pm    Qualifying-round action in Track & Field, inlcuding the women’s 100m hurdles and 1500m, and the men’s 800m. NBC    8:00pm-midnight    More apparatus finals in Gymnastics, plus the men’s 400m final in Track & Field coverage. Also, qualifying in men’s springboard Diving, a men’s Beach Volleyball quarterfinal and the men’s sprint final in track Cycling. NBC    12:35-1:35am    Finals in the women’s steeplechase and shot put, plus the women’s omnium – a new program in Olympic Cycling. Morning Session

5:00 AM Men’s Discus Throw qualifying (group A)
Qualifying format: top twelve qualify to Tuesday’s final, with a 65.00m or better doing so automatically
Start list
Notable athletes: Virgilijus Alekna (LTU), Piotr Malachowski (POL), Ehsan Hadadi (IRI), Robert Urbanek (POL), Jason Young (USA)

5:05 AM Women’s 100m Hurdles heats
Qualifying format: top six in each heat plus six more by time qualify to tomorrow’s semifinals
Start list
Notable athletes by heat…
Heat 1: Tiffany Porter (GBR), Alina Talay (TUR), Jessica Zelinka (CAN)
Heat 2: Anastassiya Pilipenko (KAZ)
Heat 3: Kellie Wells (USA), Tatyana Dektyareva (RUS)
Heat 4: Dawn Harper (USA), Nevin Yanit (TUR), Nikkita Holder (CAN)
Heat 5: Sally Pearson (AUS)
Heat 6: Brigitte Foster-Hylton (JAM), LoLo Jones (USA), Phylicia George (CAN)

5:45 AM Women’s Shot Put qualifying
Qualifying format: top twelve qualify to this afternoon’s final, with 18.90m or better doing so automatically
Start list
Notable athletes in group A: Valerie Adams (NZL), Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR), Jillian Camarena-Williams (USA), Michelle Carter (USA), Anna Avdeeva (RUS), Ling Li (CHN), Julie Labonté (CAN)
Notable athletes in group B: Evgeniia Kolodko (RUS), Lijiao Gong (CHN), Natallia Mikhnevich (BLR), Nadine Kleinert (GER), Tia Brooks (USA)

5:50 AM Men’s 800 Meters heats
Qualifying format: top three in each heat plus three more by time qualify to tomorrow’s semifinals
Start list
Notable athletes by heat…
Heat 1: Nijel Amos (BOT), Khadevis Robinson (USA)
Heat 2: David Lekuta Rudisha (KEN)
Heat 3: Abubaker Kaki (SUD), Timothy Kitum (KEN)
Heat 4: Nick Symmonds(USA), Adam Kszczot (POL), Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS), Geoff Harris (CAN)
Heat 5: Kevin López (ESP)
Heat 6: Mohammed Aman (ETH)
Heat 7: Duane Solomon (USA)

5:00 AM Men’s Discus Throw qualifying (group B)
Qualifying format: top twelve qualify to Tuesday’s final, with a 65.00m or better doing so automatically
Start list
Notable athletes: Robert Harting (GER), Gerd Kanter (EST), Benn Harradine (AUS), Mario Pestano (ESP), Traves Smikle (JAM), Jarred Rome (USA)

6:45 AM Women’s 1500 Meters heats
Qualifying format: top six in each heat plus six more by time qualify to Wednesday’s semifinals
Start list
Notable athletes by heat…
Heat 1: Abeba Aregawi (ETH), Btissam Lakhouad (MAR), Maryam Yusuf Jamal (BRN), Tatyana Tomashova (RUS), Shannon Rowbury (USA), Hilary Stellingwerff (CAN)
Heat 2: Asli Çakir Alptekin (TUR), Ekaterina Martynova (RUS), Jenny Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Morgan Uceny (USA), Genzebe Dibaba (ETH), Ekaterina Kostetskaya (RUS), Nicole Sifuentes (CAN)

Afternoon Session 2:00 PM Women’s Pole Vault Final

2012 World Indoor Champion: Elena Isinbayeva (RUS)
2011 World Champion: Fabiana Murer (BRA) — did not qualify
2008 Olympic Champion: Elena Isinbayeva (RUS)
2012 World Leader: Elena Isinbayeva (RUS)
Track and Field News’ Medal Picks: Elena Isinbayeva (RUS), Jenn Suhr (USA), Silke Spiegelburg (GER)
Gambler’s Medal Picks: Elena Isinbayeva (RUS), Silke Spiegelburg (GER), Jenn Suhr (USA)
TFN Preview | IAAF Preview | All-time Olympic stats
Start list
Russian Elena Isinbayeva is doubtlessly the greatest women’s pole vaulter of all time. If she’s anywhere near her best form, she cannot be beaten by anyone. If she’s not–and she no-heighted in her final pre-Olympic competition–then the door is open for the likes of American Jenn Suhr. Often injured, she’s apparently healthy now and needed only a single attempt in the qualifying round to get to the final. German Silke Spiegelburg is another medal threat, and if home advantage means anything then look out for Britain’s Holly Bleasdale.

2:15 PM Women’s Shot Put Final

2012 World Indoor Champion: Valerie Adams (NZL)
2011 World Champion: Valerie Adams (NZL)
2008 Olympic Champion: Valerie Adams (NZL)
2012 World Leader: Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR)
Track and Field News’ Medal Picks: Valerie Adams (NZL), Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR), Evgeniya Kolodko (RUS)
Gambler’s Medal Picks: Valerie Adams (NZL), Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR), Gong Lijiao (CHN)
TFN Preview | IAAF Preview | All-time Olympic stats
Start list to be determined after morning qualifying
This event has one of the great rivalries in track and field, between Kiwi Valerie Adams and Belarus’Nadzeya Ostapchuk. It’s an intense rivalry and the two almost never lose to anyone but each other. Adams has had the upper hand recently, but Ostapchuk recently threw 21.58m, a distance Adams has never approached. This will be a war.

Everyone else is fighting for bronze, and Team USA has two legitimate contenders. Michelle Carter won bronze at this year’s World Indoors and Jillian Camarena-Williams won bronze at last year’s World Championships. Only once has an American won an Olympic medal in this event, a bronze by Earlene Brown in 1960. If either comes through, it will be an historic accomplishment. Their biggest competition will probably come from China’s Gong Lijiao and Russian Evgeniia Kolodko.

2:20 PM Women’s 200 Meters heats
Qualifying format: top three in each heat plus six more by time qualify to tomorrow’s semifinals
Start list
Notable athletes by heat…
Heat 1: Aleksandra Fedoriva (RUS), Murielle Ahoure (CIV)
Heat 2: Allyson Felix (USA)
Heat 3: Carmelita Jeter (USA), Sherone Simpson (JAM)
Heat 4: Sanya Richards-Ross (USA), LaVerne Jones-Ferrette (ISV)
Heat 5: Veronica Campbell-Brown (JAM)
Heat 6: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM), Anthonique Strachan (BAH), Crystal Emmanuel (CAN)

3:15 PM Women’s 400m Hurdles semifinals
Qualifying format: top two in each heat plus two more by time qualify to Wednesday’s final
Start list
Notable athletes by heat…
Heat 1: Natalya Antyukh (RUS), Zuzana Hejnová (CZE), T’erea Brown (USA)
Heat 2: Lashinda Demus (USA), Irina Davydova (RUS), Perri Shakes-Drayton (GBR), Kaliese Spencer (JAM), Sarah-Lynn Wells (CAN)
Heat 3: Melaine Walker (JAM), Denisa Rosolová (CZE), Georganne Moline (USA)

3:45 PM Men’s 400m Hurdles Final

2011 World Champion: Dai Greene (GBR)
2008 Olympic Champion: Angelo Taylor (USA)
2012 World Leader: Felix Sánchez (DOM)
Track and Field News’ Medal Picks: Javier Culson (PUR), Dai Greene (GBR), Angelo Taylor (USA)
Gambler’s Medal Picks: Javier Culson (PUR), Felix Sánchez (DOM), Angelo Taylor (USA)
TFN Preview | IAAF Preview | All-time Olympic stats
Start list
The favorite is Puerto Rican Javier Culson, but Team USA has three legitimate threats in 2009 World Champion Kerron Clement, 2000 and 2008 Olympic champion Angelo Taylor, and Michael Tinsley. Possibly the most surprising development in the semifinals was Dominican Felix Sánchez. He won the 2004 Olympics and the 2001 and 2003 Worlds, but hadn’t broken 48.00 in eight years–until Saturday’s semis. Britain’s reigning World Champion Dai Greene barely scraped into the final.

4:05 PM Women’s Steeplechase Final

2011 World Champion: Yuliya Zaripova (RUS)
2008 Olympic Champion: Gulnara Galkina-Samitova (RUS)
2012 World Leader: Milcah Chemos Cheywa (KEN)
Track and Field News’ Medal Picks: Yuliya Zaripova (RUS), Milcah Chemos Cheywa (KEN), Sofia Assefa (ETH)
Gambler’s Medal Picks: Yuliya Zaripova (RUS), Milcah Chemos Cheywa (KEN), Habiba Ghribi (TUN)
TFN Preview | IAAF Preview | All-time Olympic stats
Start list
Shocking as it may seem, a Kenyan has never won an Olympic or World Championships women’s steeplechase. If that streak is to be broken, it will likely be by Milcah Chemos Cheywa, who is a perfect three-for-three this year on the Diamond League circuit. The dominant nation in this event has been Russia; 2011 World Champion Yuliya Zaripova and 2008 Olympic champion and World Record holderGulnara Galkina are both in the final. There are three Ethiopian finalists, led by Sofia Assefa and Hiwot Ayalew, who could both battle for medals. The USA has two finalists in Emma Coburn and Bridget Franek, who are unlikely to contend for medals but rapidly improving.

4:50 PM Men’s 400 Meters final

2012 World Indoor Champion: Nery Brenes (CRC) – did not qualify
2011 World Champion: Kirani James (GRN)
2008 Olympic Champion: LaShawn Merritt (USA) — did not qualify
2012 World Leader: LaShawn Merritt (USA) — did not qualify
Track and Field News’ Medal Picks: Kirani James (GRN), LaShawn Merritt (USA), Jonathan Borlée (BEL)
Gambler’s Medal Picks: Kirani James (GRN), Luguelín Santos (DOM), Jonathan Borlée (BEL)
TFN Preview | IAAF Preview | All-time Olympic stats
Start list
There are no American finalists. This has never happened in an Olympic or World Championships men’s 400 (save 1980, an Olympics in which the United States did not participate). In the absence of LaShawn Merritt, who pulled up injured in the heats, the role of favorite falls to reigning World champion Kirani James of Grenada. Another contender is this year’s World Junior champion, Dominican Luguelín Santos. Last year’s Worlds bronze medalist, Belgian Kévin Borlée, is stuck all the way out in lane 9 and his twin brother Jonathan is in lane two–but they’re on the track, and that gives them a chance. The Bahamas has two finalists in Chris Brown and former Texas A&M star Demetrius Pinder and they’re both contenders as well. This race is wide-open.

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