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Viewer's Guide to Olympic Track and Field: Saturday

Viewer’s Guide to Olympic Track and Field: Saturday

| On 13, Aug 2016

Will tonight’s 10k again be the Mo Show?

Welcome to the second of our daily Olympic track and field viewer’s guides. We’re here to help you find out what, when, how, who and why to watch all of the action.

Today’s highlights:

Men’s discus final (9:50am ET)
Heptathlon day 2 (10:45am/7:00pm/9:50pm ET)
Men’s long jump final (7:53pm ET)
Men’s 10,000 meter final (8:27pm ET)
Women’s 100 meter final (9:37pm ET)

TV coverage

Things are always in flux, but these are what the current listings say. All times are Eastern.
NBC Sports Network, 8:00am to noon (live)
NBC, 10:00am to noon (live)
NBC, 8:00pm to midnight (supposedly live, but not in its entirety)
NBC, 12:30-1:30am (tape delayed qualifying rounds)


You have plenty of other viewing options
as well, mainly via the internet.

Important links

The IAAF’s live results page is awesome, bookmark it.
You also need our own Non-Track Fan’s Guides to the Olympics for men and women, even if you’re a track fan.

Morning Session

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 6.29.23 PMThe Schedule
Track and field is a sort of a three-ring circus, with many things happening at once, so a schedule is best understood in a visual medium. Competition will begin at 8:3am (Eastern time) and go until about noon; NBC Sports Network appears to be the best viewing option for the mornings.

8:30am: Men’s 100 meters preliminary round

This is where the “I’m just happy to be here” sprinters get to run, often their nation’s lone competitor in men’s track and field. The real competition begins with the heats at 11:00am.

8:40am: Women’s Triple Jump qualifying

Qualifying format: Two groups will jump simultaneously on adjacent runways. Each athlete will get three jumps, and the top twelve will go to the final.
Favorites: Caterine Ibargüen (Colombia), Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela), Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan), Kim Williams (Jamaica), Patricia Mamona (Portugal), Paraskeví Papahrístou (Greece)
Americans: Keturah Orji, Andrea Guebelle, Christina Epps
Canadians: none
Orji is just a college sophomore in an event that does not reward youth, and is already the first American in a generation who is competitive on a world level. She should get to the final.

9:05am: Women’s Steeplechase heats

Qualifying format: The top three in each of three heats will qualify to the final, along with six more based on time.
Favorites: Hyvin Jepkemoi (Kenya), Ruth Chebet (Bahrain), Habiba Ghribi (Tunisia), Emma Coburn (USA), Sofia Assefa (Ethiopia), Hiwot Ayalew (Ethiopia)
Americans: Coburn, Courtney Frerichs, Colleen Quigley
Canadians: Maria Bernard, Geneviève Lalonde, Erin Teschuk

9:50am: Men’s Discus Throw final

Favorites: Piotr Malachowski (Poland), Philip Milanov (Belgium), Christoph Harting (Germany), Gerd Kanter (Estonia), Daniel Jasinski (Germany), Zoltán Kövágó (Hungary)
American: Mason Finley
Canadians: none
Bet worth taking: Finley, 4:1 to medal
Pre-Olympic favorite Robert Harting, the defending champion, did not qualify to the final, but his brother did. Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger threw unexpectedly well in the qualifying round. Mason Finley, formerly of the University of Wyoming, is the first American Olympic finalist in this event in twelve years; if he medals, it would be the first by an American since 1984. All things considered, I would call Malachowski an extremely strong favorite.

10:00am: Women’s 400 meters heats

Qualifying format: The first two in each of eight heats qualify to the semifinals, along with eight more based on time.
Favorites: Allyson Felix (USA), Shaunae Miller (Bahamas), Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jamaica), Phyllis Francis (USA), Natasha Hastings (USA)
Americans: Felix, Hastings, Phyllis Francis
Canadians: Alicia Brown, Kendra Clark, Carline Muir

10:45am: Heptathlon long jump

The current leader board is not the best way to understand what’s happening in events like the heptathlon and decathlon. Rather you should look at points on the board plus scoring potential in the remaining events.

My projections show four women fighting it out for three medals: Jess Ennis-Hill (GBR), Katrina Johnson-Thompson (GBR), Nafissatou Thiam (BEL), and Brianne Theisen-Eaton (CAN). Current scores plus a long jump personal records show this relative standing after four events:

Ennis-Hill&nbsp&nbsp (leader)
Johnson-Thompson&nbsp&nbsp -0
Thiam&nbsp&nbsp -111
Theisen-Eaton&nbsp&nbsp -156

11:00am: Men’s 100 meters heats

Qualifying format: will be posted after the preliminary round, but there will be 24 who qualify to the semifinals.
Favorites: Usain Bolt (Jamaica), Justin Gatlin (USA), Trayvon Bromell (USA), Andre De Grasse (Canada)
Americans: Gatlin, Bromell, Marvin Bracy
Canadians: De Grasse, Aaron Brown, Akeem Haynes
Perhaps you have heard of this Bolt fellow. I understand he is quite fast. Gatlin is old for a sprinter, has a history, and is trying to live down last year’s Worlds where he had Bolt beaten and then crumbled in the stretch. The rest of the US contingent is very young. De Grasse is in just his fourth full season of sprinting and was the revelation of a year ago, but appears to have gone backwards since leaving his USC coaching staff at the end of last summer.

Evening Session

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 6.32.30 PMUnfortunately, NBC thinks you want to watch the evening session of track and field and therefore they will not show it to you. Not live, at least, and probably not in its entirety either. If the live experience is important to you, seek out other options.

7:00pm: Heptathlon javelin throw

The javelin takes a while, but when it’s all over I project the following relative standing among the medal contenders. Deviations from this would indicate a switch in projected final order.

Ennis-Hill&nbsp&nbsp (leader)
Johnson-Thompson&nbsp&nbsp -122
Thiam&nbsp&nbsp -22
Theisen-Eaton&nbsp&nbsp -168

7:20pm: Men’s Pole Vault qualifying

Qualifying format: Two groups will compete simultaneously in two adjacent pits, and the top 12 will go to the final.
Favorites: Renaud Lavillenie (France), Sam Kendricks (USA), Shawn Barber (Canada)
Americans: Kendricks, Cale Simmons, Logan Cunningham
Canadians: Barber
The pole vault is a fickle master and inconsistency is more or less the norm, but on the whole the three favorites listed above are head and shoulders above the rest of the world.

7:30pm: Men’s 400 meter semifinals

Qualifying format: The top two in each of three semifinals will qualify to the finals, along with the two fastest 3rd/4th-place finishers.
Favorites: Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa), Kirani James (Grenada), LaShawn Merritt (USA)
Americans: Merritt, Gil Roberts, David Verburg
Canadians: none
The three favorites are so much better than anyone else that it’s nearly unimaginable that any would fail to qualify to the final. After them, it’s wide open.

7:53pm: Men’s Long Jump final

Favorites: Greg Rutherford (Great Britain), Fabrice Lapierre (Australia), Jeff Henderson (USA), Jarrion Lawson (USA), Gao Xinglong (China), Rushwal Samaai (South Africa)
Americans: Henderson, Lawson
Canadians: none
Bet worth taking: Greg Rutherford to win pays 3:1.
There is no strong favorite here, despite the fact that Rutherford is the reigning World and Olympic champion. Unlike many other events where the best come from a relatively small portion of the world, the twelve men’s long jump finalists come from eight nations and six continents.

8:00pm: Women’s 100 meter semifinals

Qualifying format: The top two in each of three semifinals will qualify to the finals, along with the two fastest 3rd/4th-place finishers.
Favorites: Elaine Thompson (Jamaica), Dafne Schippers (Holland), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica), Tori Bowie (USA), English Gardner (USA)
Americans: Bowie, Gardner, Tianna Bartoletta
Canadians: none
You might think of this as merely a qualifying round, but same-day semifinals often reveal much about what will happen in the finals. The three semi winners are usually the three medal winners.

8:27pm: Men’s 10,000 meter final

Favorites: Mo Farah (Great Britain), Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya), Yigrem Demelash (Ethiopia), Bedan Karoki (Kenya), Paul Tanui (Kenya), Tamirat Tola (Ethiopia), Galen Rupp (USA)
Americans: Rupp, Leonard Korir, Shadrack Kipchirchir
Canadian: Mo Ahmed
Bet worth taking: Farah not winning pays 3:1, and Farah winning by more than one second pays 5:2. You pick.
Read Kevin Sully’s preview. This looks to be a battle between Farah, a great track runner, and Kamworwor, a great road and cross country runner.

9:08pm: Men’s 800 meter semifinals

Qualifying format: The top two in each of three semifinals will qualify to the finals, along with the two fastest 3rd/4th-place finishers.
Favorites: David Rudisha (Kenya), Alfred Kipketer (Kenya), Ayanleh Souleiman (Djibouti), Boris Berian (USA), Adam Kszczot (Poland)
Americans: Berian, Clayton Murphy
Canadian: Brandon McBride
This event is such a crapshoot and the qualifying format leaves so little room for error that I find the 800 meter semifinals among the most exciting races in any major championship. Berian, McBride and Murphy are rising stars who will have to run great races just to get into the finals. The first two like to take it out fast and the latter always comes on strong at the end.

9:37pm: Women’s 100 meter final

Read Kevin Sully’s preview.

9:50pm: Heptathlon 800 meters

I certainly hope the announcers will run down the various scenarios. The best 800 meter runners are the two favorites, Britain’s Jess Ennis-Hill and Katrina Johnson-Thompson, followed by Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton. Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam, the revelation of the meet so far, might give up more than 100 points here.

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