Published August 11, 2012
Saturday is not only the second-to-last day at the 2012 Summer Olympics, but it's also the busiest -- a total of 32 gold medals are handed out on Day 15, including women's basketball and what should be one of the more thrilling track races in London.
So let's get right to it! Here's What To Watch on Day 15 at the Summer Games:
Women's 20km Race Walk, 12 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
We'll just let Spencer Hall take this:
Race walking's proper form: a man in desperate need of a bathroom. — edsbs (@edsbs) August 11, 2012
Men's 5000m, live online at 2:30 p.m. ET (8 p.m. on NBC)
After last week's thrilling 10,000m -- with Mo Farah and American Galen Rupp going 1-2 -- this quickly became one of the more anticipated events on the track, and one of Saturday's can't-miss races. Will Rupp be able to get on the podium again? He'll have his work cut out for him -- America has only won three medals in this event, dating back to 1912, and hasn't placed in the top-three since 1964, when Bob Schul won gold and Bill Dellinger added bronze.
In more recent history, the race has been dominated by the eastern African countries (shocking, I know): Ethiopia and Kenya have won a combined 10 of the possible 18 medals since 1988 -- three golds -- including a sweep of the podium in Beijing, led by Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele.
So what happens Saturday night? Can Rupp pull off another astounding medal? Can Farah, the defending world champion, accomplish the rare Olympic 5000m/10,000m double? Will the Africans assert their dominance?
Well, as much as I'd love to see Rupp medal, it may end up being that latter option, and Rupp knows it, too.
"The Kenyans and Ethiopians obviously know what Mo and I can do at the end. I wouldn't be surprised if they took it out hard."
Just last month, at the Diamond League meet in Paris, a total of 10 runners -- five Ethiopians and five Kenyans -- ran 5000 meters in under 12:56. And from that historic race, Dejen Gebremeskel (12:46.81), Hagos Gebrhiwet (12:47.53), Isiah Kiplangat Koech (12:48.64), Yenew Alamirew (12:48.77) and Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa (12:49.04) are running Saturday night.
To put those times in perspective, Farah's personal record is 12:53.11, and when Rupp took first at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, pulling away from Bernard Lagat (12:53.60 PR) down the stretch, his winning time was 13:22.67. (Although, Rupp's personal best is 12:58.90, so obviously he can go faster.)
Whatever happens, it will be fast, and will almost certainly be some of the most exciting 13 minutes at the Summer Games.
Wrestling, Men's 120kg Freestyle, 2:15 p.m. ET, NBC
The big boys take to the mat Saturday in London (2:56 p.m. ET gold medal final), and American Tervel Ivaylov Dlagnev could be in the mix after his quarterfinal match (9:30 a.m. ET).
Women's 800m, live online at 3 p.m. ET (8 p.m., NBC)
South Africa's Caster Semenya turned in the fastest qualifying time in heats, and a gold medal would be a great way to end her past few years. Defending gold medalist Pamela Jelimo, current world champion Mariya Savinova and American Alysia Johnson Montano are also in the running.
Women's Volleyball Gold Medal Match, Brazil vs. USA, live online at 1:30 p.m. ET (8 p.m., NBC)
A rematch of the final from Beijing will see the United States, the No. 1 ranked team in the world, play for its first-ever gold medal in women's volleyball. Standing in the way is Brazil, the No. 2 team in the world, and three-time Olympic medalists, including the gold in 2008.
Women's 4x400m Relay, live at 3:25 p.m. ET (8 p.m., NBC)
Team USA is the heavy favorite -- it ran a 3:22.09 in qualifying, the fastest-ever relay heat at the Games -- and will be running for the country's fifth-straight gold medal in the event. The U.S., Russia and Jamaica have finished in that order at the past two Olympics.
Men's 4x100m Relay, live at 4 p.m. ET (8 p.m. ET)
One of the more exciting races in all the Olympic Games should be an epic showdown between the United States and Jamaica's fastest men Saturday night on the track. The Jamaicans are the defending gold medalists, and feature quite literally some of the fastest men in the world. The lineups:
There have been just seven men to go under the 9.80-second mark in the 100m -- five of them are featured on either Team USA or Jamaica in this race. The 4x100m world record -- 37.04 seconds -- has been warned.
Women's Basketball Gold Medal Game, Team USA vs. France, 4 p.m. ET, NBC
The U.S. goes for an unprecedented fifth-straight gold medal when they meet France Saturday night, and it will likely be more of a coronation than anything -- the U.S. women have won 40 straight games (last loss was in 1996) and the closest gold-medal game they've played during the streak was in 2004, when they beat Australia by 11 points.
For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub.