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Olympic Daily Preview - Thursday, August 9th

Jamaican sprinting star Usain Bolt will try to captivate the crowd at Olympic Stadium with another historic performance as the London Games hit Day 13 on Thursday.

Bolt will aim for his fifth Olympic gold medal when he races in the 200-meter final. Four years ago in Beijing, he won gold in the men's 100, 200 and 400- meter relay and he's already won the 100 here in London. Bolt joined Carl Lewis of the United States as the only men to win consecutive 100 golds and no man has ever claimed two Olympic titles in the 200.

Once again, the biggest threat to end Bolt's run of gold is expected to come from his countryman Yohan Blake, who beat Jamaica's national hero in both the 100 and 200 earlier this summer at the country's Olympic trials.

Bolt easily qualified for the final of the 200 on Thursday with a time of 20.18 seconds. Blake had the best time of the three heats, running the half- lap in 20.01 seconds. American sprinter Wallace Spearmon was next after Blake, finishing only .01 seconds behind. Spearmon crossed the finish line third at the Beijing Games, but was later disqualified for stepping out of his lane.

Also, U.S. athlete Ashton Eaton will try to finish strong in the decathlon to win gold. The world record holder in the event is leading the field in London with 4,661 points -- 220 more than countryman Trey Hardee.

The decathlon concludes Thursday with the final five disciplines: the 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters.

Thursday's track and field competition will also see the women battle for gold in javelin, while the men will vie for medals in the triple jump and 800 meters.

Following a thrilling semifinal victory against Canada, the U.S. women's soccer team will try to capture its third consecutive Olympic gold. The Americans only reached the final after winning their semifinal on an Alex Morgan header in stoppage time of the second extra period against Canada.

The U.S. will face Japan, which edged France on Monday to advance. The final will be a rematch of the 2011 Women's World Cup final, which was won by Japan. However, the Americans have won three of four gold medals in women's soccer since the sport became part of the Olympic program in 1996.

Brazil's Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego will play Germany's Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann in the gold medal match for men's beach volleyball. The bronze medal match will feature Latvia's Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins against Reinder Nummerdor and Rich Schuil of the Netherlands.

Reigning Olympic champion Chen Ruolin heads into the semifinals of the women's 10-meter platform event as a heavy favorite. Chen, who has already captured synchronized platform gold with Wang Hao in London and is the world champion in both platform events, was the top finisher in the preliminaries Wednesday.

She will be looking to sweep the platform events for the seconds straight Olympics. Brittany Viola, the daughter of 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola, was among the 18 divers who qualified for the semis. The final is Thursday night.

Rhythmic gymnastics kicks off its slate for the London Games, with Russia's Evgeniya Kanaeva looking to win her second straight all-around Olympic gold. On the group side of things, Italy has won the past three world titles, but has never won Olympic gold in the group all-around.

Thursday will feature the individual gymnasts doing a pair of routines -- the hoop and ball -- while the groups will perform one routine with five balls.

The U.S. women's basketball team will look to move another step closer toward a fifth consecutive gold medal, as it plays Australia in the semifinals. The Americans have a 39-game Olympic winning streak, which began 20 years ago and was continued with a quarterfinal win against Canada. Australia has taken silver behind the U.S. at each of the last three games.

In the other women's basketball semifinal, France plays Russia, which has won the last two bronze medals. Semifinal winners move on to Saturday's gold medal game.

Gold medals will be awarded in women's boxing for the first time in Olympic history, and an American has a chance for one. Claressa Shields will fight Russian Nadezda Torlopova, the 2011 world champion, in the middleweight final. Great Britain's Nicola Adams fights Ren Cancan for flyweight gold, while Ireland's Katie Taylor is up against Russian Sofya Ochigava for the lightweight title.

There are four sprint canoe medal events Thursday -- the men's 1,000-meter canoe double and kayak four, and the women's 500m single and double kayak.

In sailing, medals will be awarded in the men's 470 class. Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page head into the medal race with a four-point advantage over Great Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. Additionally, there are sail-offs to determine fifth through eighth place in the women's Elliott 6m match racing competition.

The U.S. women's water polo team will try to capture its first gold, as it plays Spain in the final of that tournament. Since women's water polo became an Olympic sport in 2000, the American women's team has won two silvers and a bronze, but have a chance to make history. Australia and Hungary play for bronze.

Great Britain's Keri-Anne Payne will try to capture gold for the host country in the women's 10-kilometer swimming marathon. She won silver four years ago in Beijing, and is the reigning world champion in the event. Haley Anderson will compete for the United States.

In women's volleyball, the U.S. team will try to get back to the gold medal match as it plays South Korea in a semifinal. The Americans finished with silver at the 2008 Beijing Games. Brazil, which won four years ago, takes on Japan the other semifinal.

The final medals in equestrian will be handed out at the London Olympics after the dressage individual grand prix freestyle while synchronized swimming will be back with teams technical routines.

Two taekwondo weight classes will be contested -- the women's 57-kilogram and men's 68kg. Additionally, freestyle wrestling medals will be awarded in women's 55kg and 72kg classes. Ali Bernard, a bronze medalist at the 2011 world championships in the 72kg weight class, competes for the U.S.

Semifinals will take place in women's handball and men's field hockey, while BMX has men's quarterfinal action.

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