The action at the 2012 London Olympics is slowly picking up the pace and as the big-name athletes (well, some of them, anyway) hit their stride, the medals are slowly starting to fly off the shelves. It is always an exciting moment when the first numbers start to tick over in the medals column, in anticipation of the deluge of golds, silvers and bronzes to come.
Saturday, 28 July was a day of both thrills and surprises... there were records set, a number of gold medals won and, in the best traditions of competitive sports, high-profile favourites wound up without a medal. The day featured sporting events from the outdoors (men's cycling road race) to the clear blue waters of the Aquatics Centre (men and women's 400m individual medley) and from Robin Hood-style archery (men's team) to action from the grass courts of Wimbledon.
IBTimes UK presents the daily round-up and previews to all the action from the 2012 London Olympics. If you want to find out which of your favourite athletes will be in the spotlight on each day or even if you simply want to discover a new sport... this should give you all the information on the biggest events of each day.
Competition Day 2 - 28 July: Round-Up
The highlight of the second day of action was the award of the first gold medal of the 2012 London Olympics - to Chinese shooter Si Yiling - for the women's 10m air rifle event.
Apart from that historic first, the day would prove to be a disappointing one for medal favourites like Michael Phelps (USA; swimming) and Mark Cavendish (GB; cycling), both of whom were expected to be certainties for the gold in their sports.
Swimming - Phelps, who earlier announced he would retire from professional swimming after the Olympics, was expected to add to his tally of 16 gold medals from two Olympics (2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing) but there were early signs the American may not have quite the triumphant send-off he'd like. The 27 year old snuck into the final of the men's 400m individual medley in, literally, last place in the heats, with a time of 4:13.33 that was only 0.07s faster than Hungarian Laszlo Cseh. Once in the final Phelps did improve tremendously, clocking 4:09.28. Unfortunately, fellow American Ryan Lochte (Gold; 4:05.18), Brazilian Thiago Pereira (Silver; 4:08.86) and Japanese Kosuke Hagino (Bronze; 4:08.94) all beat him to the punch. Incidentally, Hagino's time is a new Asian Record.
"I'm a bit frustrated, I'm not feeling that great. I just want to put this race behind me and move on. It's not the start that I would have liked to have had but I've just got to move up. I have a bunch of other races and hopefully we can finish a lot better than we started. That's what I'm going to try to do," a clearly disappointed Phelps was quoted as saying. The swimmer is set to participate in the men's 200m individual medley, the men's 100m and 200m butterfly and the men's 4x100m medley relay. Meanwhile, Sun Yang of China took gold for the men's 400m freestyle and 16 year old compatriot Ye Shiwen followed suit for the women.
Archery - Once the controversy over fraudulent tickets sold for what was intended to be a closed door event - the preliminary ranking rounds for the archery competition - blew over, the men's team event produced some wonderful shooting... and a gold medal for the Italians.
To begin with, there was heartache for the hosts, as the British shooters were eliminated after losing their first round match to the Ukrainians, 212-223. It must have been some consolation then to see their conquerors fall at the next hurdle to the South Koreans.
When the dust settled, the Italians shot their way past the Chinese Taipei, the Chinese and the Mexicans before outshooting the Americans to claim gold. Meanwhile, South Korea took bronze after beating Mexico 224-219.
Cycling - Bradley Wiggins' and Team Sky's historic win at the 2012 Tour de France and the strong performance of fellow British riders Christopher Froome and Mark Cavendish cemented the host's standing as medal favourites for the cycling event and the men's road race was to be the first demonstration of that intent.
It didn't quite turn out that way. Unheralded 38 year old Alexandr Vinokouruv disappointed the home crowd (delighted his though) by racing to Olympic gold, ahead of Colombian Rigoberto Uran Uran and Norwegian Alexander Kristoff. In fact, Cavendish finished in the chasing pack and was classified 29th, with Belgian Tom Boonen in front. Team GB as a whole had a hugely disappointing road race, at least the men did (the women's road race is scheduled for Sunday), with Ian Stannard, Wiggins, David Millar and Christopher Froome classified 94th, 103rd, 108th and 109th of 110 finishers.
Competition Day 3 - 29 July: Preview
Archery - The hosts will be hoping the women's archery team can do a little better than the men did. The women are scheduled to meet the Russians at 9.50 am BST and, if they do beat their first round opponents, will find the Chinese Taipei waiting in the quarter final, after the latter were handed a first round bye. Potential banana skins for the women's team include the men's gold, silver and bronze winners - Italy, USA and South Korea, as well as the Japanese, who face Ukraine at 9.25 am BST.
Boxing - British boxer Josh Taylor will be in the ring on Sunday, to take on Brazilian Robson Conceicao at 8.30 pm BST, with a place in the Round of 16 at stake. Should he win through, Taylor will then face Italian Domenico Valentino, in the fight for gold in the men's lightweight (60kg) category. Meanwhile, another Team GB boxer, Freddie Evans, will face Algerian Ilyas Abbadi in the men's welterweight (69kg) event, at 4.15 pm BST.
Basketball - Sunday will also see the start of the Olympic men's basketball event. The 12 teams to have qualified have been drawn into two groups...
Group A - Argentina, France, Tunisia, USA, Nigeria and Lithuania
The hosts will tip-off their first game at 8 pm BST, against the Russians, before playing Brazil (31 July), Spain (2 August), Australia (4 August) and China (6 August).
Cycling - Can Nicole Cooke, Elizabeth Armitstead, Lucy Martin and Emma Pooley do what the men couldn't and bring home a gold from the cycling road race event? They just might but the field is a strong one and the favourite to stand on the top step of the podium must surely be Dutch cyclist Marianne Vos. The women's course is 140km long and, like the men's starts and finishes on The Mall. However, it features only two climbs of the Box Hill (the men did nine). Cooke is the defending champion and should be confident of her chances but will need her team to back her move, particularly with the likes of Italy's Giorgia Bronzini and the US' Shelley Olds also in the field.
The women's cycling road race event is scheduled to start at 12 pm BST.
Equestrian - There will be royalty on show at the second day of the 2012 London Olympics, with the Queen's granddaughter, Zara Philips, set to compete in the individual and team events. The individual dressage event started on Saturday 28 July and will continue through Sunday. The overnight leaders are the German pair of Ingrid Klimke and Dirk Schrade, with Team GB's Mary King in a potential bronze position. Philips will be one of the first riders of the day and is scheduled for a 10.16 am BST start with her horse, High Kingdom.
Meanwhile, the hosts have a lot of ground to make up in the team ranking event. They presently sit well outside the medal places. Australia, Germany and the US lead the way, for now.
Sailing - The little incident of the South Korean sailing coach should now be history, as athletes prepare to open the sailing event for the 2012 London Olympics. Headquartered in Weymouth and Portland, Sunday will see the host's big medal hope in the event - Ben Ainslie - hope to add to his collection of four Olympic medals (three gold and one silver), when he takes to the seas for the Finn class of events. The day will also the first race of the men' star event, with British team of Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in attendance.
Swimming - The most high-profile event of the day, though, must surely be the men's 4x100m freestyle relay. American Michael Phelps could not add to his collection of 14 gold medals on Saturday, falling to fourth in the men's 400m individual medley final. He will, however, have a chance of making up for that slip, when he teams up with the 400m gold winner Ryan Lochte and two other team mates for the relay.
There will be three other medal races in the pool on Sunday. The others include the women's 100m butterfly, the men's 100m breaststroke and the women's 400m freestyle. All eyes will be on the latter event - the heats are scheduled for 11.23 am BST at the Aquatics Centre - and Team GB's Rebecca Adlington, the heavy favourite for gold. Adlington qualified with a stunning time of 4:02.35, which was only fractions of a second slower than Italian Federica Pellegrini's 4:01.97 and Frenchwoman Camille Muffat's 4:01.13. So, expect Adlington to enter the final with ease and, based on this form, she should be a medal certainty.
The women's 400m freestyle final is scheduled for 8.18 pm BST.
There are also finals for the following events:
Diving (women's synchronised 3m, scheduled for 3 pm BST)
Fencing (men's individual sabre, scheduled for 6.50 pm BST)
Judo (men's 66kg, scheduled for 2.28 pm BST and women's 52kg, scheduled for 2 pm BST)
Shooting (women's 10m air pistol, scheduled for 11.45 am BST and women's skeet, scheduled for 2pm BST)
Weightlifting (men's 56kg, scheduled for 7 pm BST and women's 53kg, scheduled for 3.30 pm BST)
Where to Watch Live
You can follow all the action live on EuroSport from 8.30 am BST onwards. Live coverage on BBC One and BBC One HD starts with a morning preview show from 6 am BST to 9 am BST and continues with coverage of sports from 9 am BST to 10 pm BST (with news breaks - 1 pm BST to 1.10 pm BST for BBC News, 5 pm BST to 6.30 pm BST for the 2012 Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix and 6.30 pm BST to 7 pm BST for BBC News). Live coverage will also be available on BBC Three and BBC HD from 9 am BST to 11 pm BST.
Sky 3D provides coverage from the Aquatic Centre between 9.30 am BST and 1 pm BST and again from 7.30 pm BST to 9.30 pm BST, with more live Olympics sports in between.
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