We’re definitely not easing into the Games, we’re diving right in (some would say literally). Saturday brings important medals and match-ups right from the word go. Here’s a list of day one’s can’t miss events.
Men’s 400m IM Final – The swimming schedulers aren’t messing around as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte meet up for the first time in arguably the most exciting event on the swimming docket. Phelps swore off the grueling race after Beijing, but now looks to remind pretty boy Lochte, the 400 IM winner at trials, who the real king of the pool is.
Women’s 4x100m Freestyle – Swimming darling Missy Franklin will be aiming for her first Olympic medal, while Natalie Coughlin will be going for a record tying twelfth when they dive in for the 4x100m freestyle Saturday night. The U.S. women were second to the Dutch at worlds last year, but Franklin is a year stronger. The team has a great shot at gold.
Women’s Beach Volleyball – Misty May-Treanor andKerri Walsh Jennings begin competing for their third straight Olympic gold at the famous Horse Guards Parade. They’re no longer the unequaled queens of the beach and will have an uphill battle against Brazilians Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Silva. First up for the Americans: a date AustraliansNatalie Cook and Tamsin Hinchley.
Women’s 10m Air Rifle Final – The very first gold of the London Olympics will be awarded Saturday morning at the Royal Artillery Barracks, nicknamed “Teletubby Land” for its bright colors and bulbous design. Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, admittedly a long shot for a medal, will take aim while eight months pregnant.
Men’s Cycling Road Race – Mark Cavendish hopes to win the home team’s first gold, as he and his Dream Team ride a course tailor made for Cav’s aggressive sprinting style. Taylor Phinney and the Americans will have something to say about that as they look to upset the strong British team that includes 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.
Men’s Gymnastics Qualifying – Danell Leyva, John Orozco, and Jonathan Horton will being their quest toward the first gold for the U.S. men’s team since the boycotted 1984 Games when they compete in qualifying Saturday night. Their toughest competitors will be Japan and China, who took gold in team, all-around, and five of the six apparatuses in Beijing.