U.S. should strike plenty of Olympic gold

07/21/2012 10:05 PM

07/22/2012 1:54 PM

Michael Phelps. Missy Franklin. LeBron James. Allyson Felix. Venus and Serena Williams.

That's not a bad way to start an Olympic team.

Traditionally, however, Uncle Sam's team focuses on its strengths and lets its depth in those events build the medal count.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Team USA won 31 of its 110 medals in swimming, 23 in track and field and 10 in gymnastics.

It's not a unique formula. Host China won more medals in diving (11) at the Beijing Games than in track and field and swimming combined.

The Chinese also piled up 24 of their 100 medals in the sports of badminton, table tennis and shooting.

Great Britain, meanwhile, won 12 medals in cycling. Germany, once a track and swimming powerhouse, won only four medals in those sports in 2008, but a combined 13 in canoe and equestrian.

Japan took seven medals in judo. South Korea earned a combined eight medals in judo and taekwondo.

Australia, as expected, won 20 of its 46 medals in the swimming pool.

Every Olympic nation plays to its strength.

In every Olympic Games, the U.S. team has pulled a golden surprise or two. In London, it may be Sarah Hammer on the cycling track or Kayla Harrison in judo.

But if you want to pan for gold in the Olympic telecasts, try to be watching when these events appear on the NBC dance card:


Regrettably, the best U.S. men's gym team in 28 years (led by Danell Leyva and John Orozco) will likely be upstaged by a deep and experienced women's team.

Prediction: Team USA will win the women's team gold medal, and Jordyn Wieber will become the third American in a row to win the Olympic all-around gold medal after failing to win the U.S. trials.

Track and field

Faulty baton exchanges, a botched final hurdle and a Jamaican hurricane all conspired to dampen the U.S. team's performance in Beijing. But the United States still won 23 medals in 2008 in "athletics," as the rest of the civilized world calls it. The self-proclaimed "world's best track and field team" should again reap its medal haul.

Prediction: With a hype-boost from NBC, newly crowned world record holder Ashton Eaton's quest in the men's decathlon may become the U.S. highlight of the Games. In the women's sprints, Felix may get the attention, but look for Carmelita Jeter to win the 100 and maybe even two more golds. Texas footballer Marquise Goodwin has a solid medals chance in the long jump.

And this time, expect the USA sprinters (Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay) to not be chased off the track by Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Team Jamaica.


Admittedly, eight of the 31 U.S. medals in the pool in Beijing came from one man, the incomparable Phelps. He shouldn't be expected to repeat that, but depth abounds on the U.S. swim squad.

And who's the cover boy for Time's Olympic issue? Not Phelps, but teammate Ryan Lochte.

Prediction: Lochte will win more individual gold medals (three) than Phelps. Franklin, age 17, will earn gold in the 200-meter backstroke. Rebecca Soni will win both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. And Granbury native Dana Vollmer will get her first Olympic gold medal in an individual event, the 100 butterfly.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @gilebreton

July 28

Archery: Men's team. Cycling (road): Men's road race. Fencing: Women's individual foil. Judo: Women's 48kg; Men's 60kg. Shooting: Women's 10m air rifle; Men's 10m air rifle. Swimming: Men's 400 individual medley; Men's 400m freestyle; Women's 400m individual medley; Women's 4x100 freestyle relay. Weightlifting: Women's 48kg

July 29

Archery: Women's team. Cycling (road): Women's road race. Diving: Women's synchronized 3m springboard. Fencing: Men's individual sabre. Judo: Women's 52kg; Men's 66kg. Shooting: Women's 10m air pistol; Women's skeet. Swimming: Women's 100m butterfly; Men's 100m breaststroke; Women's 400m freestyle; Men's 4x100m freestyle relay. Weightlifting: Women's 53kg; Men's 56kg

July 30

Diving: Men's synchronized 10m platform. Fencing: Women's individual epee. Gymnastics: Men's team. Judo: Women's 57kg; Men's 73kg. Shooting: Men's 10m air rifle. Swimming: Men's 200m freestyle; Women's 100m backstroke; Men's 100m backstroke; Women's 100m breaststroke. Weightlifting: Women's 58kg; Men's 62kg

July 31

Canoe slalom: Men's canoe single. Diving: Women's synchronized 10m platform. Equestrian: Team eventing; Individual eventing. Gymnastics: Women's team. Judo: Women's 63kg; Men's 81kg. Shooting: Men's skeet. Swimming: Women's 200m freestyle; Men's 200m butterfly; Women's 200m individual medley; Men's 4x200m freestyle relay. Weightlifting: Women's 63kg; Men's 60kg

Aug. 1

Men's kayak. Cycling (road): Women's individual time trial; Men's individual time trial. Diving: Men's synchronized 3m springboard. Fencing: Men's individual epee; Women's individual sabre. Gymnastics: Men's individual all-around. Judo: Women's 70kg; Men's 90kg. Rowing: Women's pair; Women's quadruple sculls; Men's eight. Shooting: Women's 25m pistol. Swimming: Men's 200m breaststroke; Women's 200m butterfly; Men's 100m freestyle; Women's 4x200m freestyle relay. Table Tennis: Women's singles. Weightlifting: Women's 69kg; Men's 77kg

Aug. 2

Archery: Women's individual. Canoe slalom: Men's canoe double; Women's kayak. Cycling (track): Women's team sprint; Men's team sprint. Fencing: Women's team foil. Gymnastics: Women's individual all-around; Judo: Women's 78kg; Men's 100kg. Rowing: Men's double sculls; Men's lightweight four. Shooting: Men's double trap. Swimming: Women's 200m breaststroke; Men's 200m backstroke; Men's 200m individual medley; Women's 100m freestyle. Table tennis: Men's singles

Aug. 3

Archery: Men's individual. Athletics: Men's shot put; Women's 10,000m. Badminton: Mixed doubles. Cycling (track): Men's team pursuit; Women's Keirin. Fencing: Men's team sabre. Judo: Women's +78kg; Men's +100kg. Rowing: Men's quadruple sculls; Men's pair; Women's double sculls; Men's single sculls. Shooting: Men's 50m rifle prone; Men's 25m rapid fire pistol. Swimming: Women's 200m backstroke; Men's 100m butterfly; Women's 800m freestyle; Men's 50m freestyle. Trampoline: Men's trampoline. Weightlifting: Women's 75kg; Men's 85kg

Aug. 4

Athletics: Men's 20km walk; Women's discus throw; Women's heptathlon; Men's long jump; Men's 10,000m; Women's 100m. Badminton: Women's doubles; Women's singles. Cycling (track): Women's team pursuit. Fencing: Women's team epee. Rowing: Men's four; Women's lightweight doubles sculls. Shooting: Women's 50m rifle (3 positions); Women's trap. Swimming: Women's 50m freestyle; Men's 1,500m freestyle; Women's 4x100 medley relay; Men's 4x100 medley relay. Tennis: Women's singles; Men's doubles. Trampoline: Women's trampoline. Triathlon: Women's triathlon. Weightlifting: Men's 94kg

Aug. 5

Athletics: Women's marathon; Women's triple jump; Women's 400m; Men's 3,000, steeplechase; Men's hammer throw; Men's 100m. Badminton: Men's singles; Men's doubles. Cycling (track): Men's Omnium. Diving: Women's 3m springboard. Fencing: Men's team foil. Gymnastics: Men's floor exercise; Women's vault; Men's pommel horse. Sailing: Men's Star; Men's Finn. Shooting: Men's 50m pistol. Tennis: Mixed doubles; Women's doubles; Men's singles. Weightlifting: Women's +75kg. Wrestling: Men's 55kg Greco-Roman; Men's 74kg Greco-Roman

Aug. 6

Athletics: Women's shot put; Men's 400m hurdlers; Women's 3,000m steeplechase; Men's 400m; Women's pole vaults. Cycling (track): Men's sprint. Equestrian: Team jumping. Gymnastics: Men's rings; Women's uneven bars; Men's vault. Sailing: Women's Laser Radial; Men's Laser. Shooting: Men's 50m Rifle (3 positions); Men's trap. Weightlifting: Men's 105kg. Wrestling: Men's 60kg Greco-Roman; Men's 84kg Greco-Roman; Men's' 120kg Greco-Roman

Aug. 7

Athletics: Men's 1,500m; Men's discus throw; Men's high jump; Women's 100m hurdles. Cycling (track): Women's Omnium; Men's Keirin; Women's sprint. Diving: Men's 3m springboard. Equestrian: Team dressage. Gymnastics: Men's parallel bars; Women's beam; Men's horizontal bar; Women's floor exercise. Sailing: Men's RS-X; Women's RS-X. Synchronized swimming: Women's duets. Table tennis: Women's team. Triathlon: Men's triathlon. Weightlifting: Men's +105kg. Wrestling: Men's 96kg Greco-Roman; Men's 66kg Greco-Roman

Aug. 8

Athletics: Women's 400m hurdles; Women's 200m; Men's 110m hurdles; Women's long jump. Beach volleyball: Women's beach volleyball. Canoe (sprint): Men's kayak single 1,000m; Men's canoe single 1,000,; Men's kayak double 1,000m; Women's kayak four 500m. Equestrian: Individual jumping. Sailing: Men's 49er. Table tennis: Men's team. Taekwondo: Women's -49kg; Men's -58kg. Wrestling: Women's 48kg freestyle; Women's 63kg freestyle

Aug. 9

Athletics: Men's 800m; Men's triple jump; Men's 200m; Men's decathlon; Women's javelin throw. Beach volleyball: Men's beach volleyball. Boxing: Women's fly; Women's light; Women's middle. Canoe (sprint): Men's canoe double 1,000m; Men's kayak four 1,000m; Women's kayak single 500m; Women's kayak double 500m. Diving: Women's' 10m platform. Equestrian: Individual dressage. Sailing: Men's 470. Soccer: Women's soccer. Swimming: Women's 10km marathon. Taekwondo: Women's -57kg; Men's -68kg. Water polo: Women's water polo. Wrestling: Women's 72kg freestyle; Women's 55kg freestyle

Aug. 10

Athletics: Women's 5,000m; Women's 4x100 relay; Women's hammer throw; Women's 1,500m; Men's 4x100 relay; Men's pole vault. Cycling (BMX): Women's BMX; Men's BMX. Field hockey: Women's field hockey. Sailing: Women's 470. Swimming: Men's 10km marathon. Synchronized swimming: Women's teams. Taekwondo: Women's -67kg; Men's -80kg. Wrestling: Men's 74kg freestyle; Men's 55kg freestyle

Aug. 11

Athletics: Men's 50km walk; Women's 20km walk; Men's 5,000m; Women's 800m; Women's 4x400 relay; Men's javelin throw; Men's 4x100m relay; Women's high jump. Basketball: Women's basketball. Boxing: Men's light fly; Men's bantam; Men's light welter; Men's middle; Men's heavyweight. Canoe (sprint): Men's kayak single 200m; Men's canoe single 200m; Women's kayak single 200m; Men's kayak double 200m. Cycling (mountain bike): Women's cross country. Diving: Men's 10m platform. Field hockey: Men's field hockey. Gymnastics (rhythmic): Individual all-around. Handball: Women's handball. Modern pentathlon: Men's modern pentathlon. Sailing: women's Elliott 6m. Soccer: Men's soccer. Taekwondo: Women's +67kg; Men's +80kg. Volleyball: Women's volleyball. Wrestling: Men's 84kg freestyle; Men's 60kg freestyle; Men's 120 kg freestyle

Aug. 12

Athletics: Men's marathon. Basketball: Men's basketball. Boxing: Men's fly; Men's light; Men's welter; Men's light heavy; Men's super heavy. Cycling (mountain bike): Men's cross country. Gymnastics (rhythmic): Group all-around. Handball: Men's handball. Modern pentathlon: Women's modern pentathlon. Volleyball: Men's volleyball. Water polo: Men's water polo. Wrestling: Men's 66kg freestyle; Men's 96kg freestyle. Closing ceremony

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