News Column

Olympic guide: Closing Ceremony Among Final Day Highlights

Aug. 12, 2012

Jeff Faraudo

Olympic guide, Closing ceremony

Aug. 12--THE DAY AHEAD IN LONDON

There's more going on Sunday at the London Olympics than just the closing ceremony. Sorry, no more Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps or Gabby Douglas. Here's the best of the final day:

The long run: Former Stanford star Ryan Hall, 29, tackles the Olympic marathon for the second time. Four years ago at Beijing, he placed 10th in a race that was faster than anyone anticipated. Now, having embraced "faith-based" coaching -- in other words, he looks upward for guidance -- Hall is one of nine entries in the race with a sub-2:07 marathon best. Three of the others are Kenyans, including favorite Wilson Kiprotich. The race goes off at 3 a.m., and NBC will pick up coverage an hour later.

Not soccer, but it's something: Brazil still can't win an Olympic soccer title, but its men's volleyball team makes its third straight trip to the gold-medal match. The world's No. 1 Brazilians take on Russia, whom they beat 3-0 in group play. Action begins at 5 a.m., but you can watch it on NBC at 1 p.m.

Mountains in London: Todd Wells, who quit his job with IBM to become a full-time mountain bike racer, is back for his third Olympics. The 34-year-old native of Kingston, N.Y., has competed in the world championships 10 straight years but said, "Nothing compares to the Olympics." Action begins at 5:30 a.m.

Chasing the Dream Team: The powerful U.S. men's basketball team goes for the gold medal vs. Spain -- with

NBA standouts Pau and Marc Gasol. Even with a victory, this U.S. squad will be measured against the 1992 Dream Team, the first Olympic team featuring NBA players. How do Kobe Bryant and LeBron Jones stack up vs. Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson? Tipoff is 7 a.m. on NBC.

The end for Azevedo: Probably not, actually. Certainly a seventh-place matchup vs. Australia is not what Tony Azevedo and the U.S. men's water polo team had in mind for London, four years after winning silver in Beijing. But Azevedo, 30, the leading scorer in U.S. Olympic history, figures to return in 2016 for the Games in Rio de Janeiro -- his hometown. The game starts at 2:20 a.m.

-- JEFF FARAUDO

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(c)2012 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

Visit the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) at www.contracostatimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services



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