Josh Helmuth kicks off CraveOnline's coverage of the London Olympics!
That's right, we're finally here! The London 2012 Summer Games. Opening ceremonies kick off this Friday, which already have caused quite the stir considering organizers are trying to keep all plans of the ceremonies secret. All I will tell you, is that there are rumors floating around that James Bond is going to parachute into the middle of the stadium to kick things off. Oh, and there is supposed to be a large meadow filled with sheep and many other farm animals. James Bond and sheep. Hmm.
On to the story lines!
Literally the greatest Olympics rivalry will come down to two Americans in Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Now Phelps, who already has 15 gold medals to his Olympics resume and is arguably the greatest swimmer in the history of mankind, is competing in 7 events this year after winning a record 8 gold medals in Beijing in 2008. He only needs 3 more golds to surpass Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina as the Games' all-time medalist. But Lochte, after losing to Phelps 17 times in a row earlier in the decade, beat Phelps at the 2012 U.S. Nationals and then two more times at last year's world games in Shanghai. No one else in the world is within one-and-a-half seconds of the two in the 200 or two-and-a-half seconds in the 400.
Be on the lookout for 17-year-old Missy Franklin. The 6'1", size 13 shoe wearing Colorado teen will try to become the first woman to win 7 gold medals, and, like Lochte and Phelps, she too is a swimmer. We Americans like water I suppose. Missy won the 100 and 200 backstrokes at the Olympic Trials. She'll swim four individual events and three relays.
And then of course there is Team USA basketball. While they're not the 1992 Dream Team, sorry Kobe, team USA are heavy favorites to take the gold, and many are hoping they do since this could the last year we see our NBA stars represent Team USA in the Olympics. The U.S. held off Argentina,the 2004 gold medalists, by just six points in an exhibition on Sunday. They could pose a small threat in the coming weeks, and the Pau Gasol led Spanish team might also give Team USA problems as well. But, with Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, I'm confident they'll do just fine. Anything less than a gold medal would be sorely disappointing. It would be Team USA's 5th gold in the last 6 games.
And now, it's the speed round!
Fantastically, equal rights for women continue to spread across the globe. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for the women of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brunei, as those ladies will be the first women to compete in any Olympics for their countries.
Headed by Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas, 17 and 16 years-old respectively, the heavily favorited women's gymnastics team will try to win gold for the first time since Kerri Strug and the Magnificent 7 in 1996.
U.S. wrestler Ellis Coleman has a "flying squirrel" takedown move where he literally jumps over his opponent.
World's fastest man Usain Bolt will try to repeat gold in the 100-meter. He still owns the world record at 9.58 seconds.
Abby Wambach and the two-time Olympic U.S. Women's soccer team will try to make it a 3-peat.
And for you hunters out there, you have an American Idol to watch for in Brady Ellison. The 23-year-old bow hunter from Arizona has been the number one ranked archer in the world, and could become the first American to win gold in archery since 1996.
Overall, Sports Illustrated picked the U.S. to win the Olympic Games, with an overall point total of 99, with China close behind at 97. Russia and Great Britain were scored highly as well.
Be sure to stop by the CraveOnline Sports page to see more updates throughout the Olympics. We'll be working hard, giving you tons of coverage throughout the entire 2012 London Games. Thanks for watching your Sports Fix.