By Matthew Kitchen, NBC Olympics
Phelps aims for his 17th gold and the men’s cyclists are in hot pursuit Friday as they speed around the Velodrome in the most exciting race of the Olympics. Here’s what we’re watching on Day 7.
Men’s 100m Butterfly – Michael Phelps swims for medal No. 21 Friday in the second to last final of his career. He’s won this event in the last two Olympics, but only by a combined time of 0.05 seconds, famously beating Milorad Cavic by 0.01 in Beijing. This could be the second Olympic three-peat for Phelps after he won the 200m IM Thursday.
Women’s 200m Backstroke – Missy Franklin may be the world champ in this event, but Elizabeth Beisel is arguably the favorite coming in Friday night. Beisel took the top seed with a career best time in the semis and will hope to surprise the teen with another great swim in the finals. The real question is whether Missy was saving her energy on Thursday afternoon.
Men’s Singles Tennis – Three of the top four players in the world face off Friday, as Novak Djokovic goes up against hometown hero Andy Murray and Roger Federer meets Argentine giant Juan Martin del Potro, who bested the Swiss legend for his only Grand Slam championship at the 2009 U.S. Open. The winners square off Sunday for the gold.
Men’s Track Cycling: Team Pursuit – One of the most underrated events of the Olympics, the team pursuit pits four compatriots against the clock as they draft each other around the Velodrome at breakneck speeds. First to 4,000 meters wins. The Brits broke the world record Thursday and head in to Friday as the favorites, but the Aussies are on their heels.
Women’s Heptathlon – For British eyes only! Jessica Ennis will need some hometown love if she wants to beat heptathlon world champ Tatyana Chernova of Russia in the grueling seven discipline event. Day one includes the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, and 200m, then the women return Saturday to compete in the long jump, javelin, and 800m.