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Archive for Sunday, August 22, 2004

Today’s schedule historical

August 22, 2004

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— Need help navigating today's Olympic events? Here's a quick roadmap for the day, complete with a historic start -- and possibly, a historic finish or two.

Let's begin in the village of Marathon, where the women's 26.2-mile race retraces the centuries-old steps of the doomed Greek distance runner, Pheidippides. Their trip ends at the marble Panathinaiko Stadium that played host to the 1896 games.

Then it's on to the new Olympic Stadium, where Maurice Greene will sprint 100 meters toward the record book. And finally a trip with gymnast Paul Hamm, who continues down a road where no American has traveled before.

The second weekend of the Athens Games, a pretty smooth ride so far, wraps up today with 27 gold medals being awarded. U.S. sprinter Greene, bidding to defend his Olympic title in the 100, plans to make sure one of them is draped around his neck -- a victory that would land him in rarified Olympic company.

Greene will try to become only the second man to sweep back-to-back Olympic 100 titles, a feat accomplished by Carl Lewis in 1984 and 1988 -- the latter after Ben Johnson's steroid disqualification in South Korea.

Greene will be joined by U.S. teammates Shawn Crawford and Justin Gatlin today.

The battle to claim the "world's fastest man" title is one of the featured events on NBC's prime-time coverage, expanded to five hours (6-11 p.m. CDT) today. "The Michael Phelps Show" finished its golden Athens run, so the network instead will turn to plenty of gymnastics, platform diving and the quarterfinals in women's beach volleyball.

For Hamm, the first American man to capture the Olympic all-around title, there's an opportunity to add two more gold medals. He will compete in the finals of the pommel horse and the floor exercise -- the latter against his twin brother, Morgan.

The brothers already shared silver medals in the team all-around, although Paul is more likely to get gold in the floor exercise; he's the reigning world champion in the event. The 21-year-old has a chance at becoming the first American to capture six gymnastics medals in a single Olympics.

On the women's side, Americans Courtney Kupets, Terin Humphrey and Annia Hatch will participate in the individual gold events. And at the diving venue, American Laura Wilkinson will attempt to duplicate her gold medal performance from Sydney.

The marathon race -- beginning at 10 a.m. -- will air live during NBC's eight-hour daytime show, which opens at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. The best U.S. hope is Deena Kastor, the American record holder in the event.

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