2012 Summer Olympics Preview

The 2012 Summer Olympics are quickly approaching, the anticipation is building, and the countdown is officially on.  Held in London, the international event will be ongoing from July 27th-August 12th.  This will be the third time London has hosted the event, more than any other city.  London previously hosted the 1908 and 1948 Games.  The Olympics draw in more international audience than any other event, with an estimated four billion people set to watch the opening ceremonies as well as the games.  Over 200 countries, 36 different sports, and more than 10,000 of the world’s best athletes will be on display.

The sports include (in alphabetical order):  Archery, Athletics (track, field, marathon, race walk), Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Canoe Slalom, Canoe Sprint, Cycling-BMX, Cycling-Mountain Bike, Cycling-Road, Cycling-Track, Diving, Equestrian, Fencing, Football (soccer), Gymnastics-Artistic, Gymnastics-Rhythmic, Handball, Hockey, Judo, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Trampoline, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.

The Paralympic Games are from August 29th-September 9th and will feature 18 sporting events, which are Archery, Athletics, Boccia, Cycling Road, Cycling Track, Equestrian, Football 5-a-side, Football 7-a-side, Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fencing, Wheelchair Rugby, and Wheelchair Tennis.

You can find the full event and game schedule on the London 2012 website.

The Olympics are a sporting tradition unlike any other, set on the world’s biggest stage to allow athletes to compete for their respective nations. The first recorded Olympics took place in 776 B.C. in Greece.  The first modern Olympic Games to take place under the current International Olympic Committee (formed in 1890) occurred in Athens, Greece, in 1896.  The Games now rotate locations around the world. 

According to Yahoo Sports, there are five standout Team USA athletes most likely to win a gold medal.  Swimmer Michael Phelps (who already has 14 gold medals in his lifetime), Beach Volleyball players Kerri Walsh & Misty May-Treanor (two-time reigning gold medalists), Taekwondo athlete Steven Lopez (also a two-time gold medalist), 17-year-old swimmer Missy Franklin, and Wrestler Justin Lester. 

The U.S. women’s national soccer team is also expected to contend for gold, having won two World Cup Championships in 1991 and 1999 (and were runner's up in 2011 after losing on penalty kicks to Japan) and also claiming gold in three previous Olympic games in 1996, 2004, and 2008.  They are currently ranked first in the world by FIFA. Men and women’s basketball both won gold in the 2008 Games, and the men’s team especially draws quite a lot of attention because of its big named stars on the current finalists roster, such as Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Carmelo Anthony, among others.  The United States women’s gymnastics team has been consistently dominant competitors since the mid-80s.  Team USA’s Nastia Luikin won the overall individual gold medal at the 2008 Olympics and Shawn Johnson claimed the silver.  The team won the overall silver medal as a whole.  These are just some of the more publicized and popular sports to watch, but the United States has other talented athletes with stellar chances at winning a coveted Olympic medal.

USA Today recently projected their predictions for the 2012 London Olympics medalists which has China winning the most overall medals with 93 and the United States coming in second with 89, but the U.S. is predicted to win 41 gold medals (the most of any country) to China’s 37.  Again, these are just projections.

NBC is the official station for American television coverage of the games.  You can find TV Listing, Online Listings, and sporting schedule on their website

What is your favorite Olympic sport to watch?  Leave us a comment letting us know!