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5 Reasons to Watch the 2012 Summer Olympics

Jul 20, 2012 03:14PM ● By Erin Frisch

2012 Summer Olympics

With the 2012 Summer Olympics just a week away, the world is buzzing with excitement! And for the first time ever, every Olympic event will be broadcast online by NBC’s website for live streaming through whatever device you have handy for viewing. If that isn’t reason enough to cheer Team USA on, here are a few extra-exciting events you won’t want to miss!

Ashton Eaton (Track and Field)

This 24-year-old decathlete and five-time NCAA champion from the University of Oregon fulfilled the prophecy of those who felt he would break the world record during his career. At the 2010 US Olympic Trials, he scored world bests in the 100 meters and the long jump and a personal best in the pole vault, and finished with a total of 9,039 points. This broke both Dan O’Brien’s 20-year-old American record and Roman Sebrle’s 11-year-old world record, also making Eaton the second decathlete ever to break the 9,000 point barrier after Sebrle. Eaton is the tenth American to break the world record. He is expected to follow this performance with another strong one in London, so tune in and watch him go for the gold.

Oscar Pistorius (Track and Field)

Also known as “Blade Runner” because of his curved, carbon-fiber prosthetics, Pistorius will be the first ever amputee to compete in an Olympic track and field event. The South African Paralympic star will compete in both the 400-meter sprint and the 4x400-meter relay in London. Even when the running establishment tried to confine Pistorius to the Paralympics, based on the belief that his prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage, he kept pushing his limits—and those of the human body. Because of this, he has won the right to compete against the best in the world. Named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People this year, he is truly inspirational and definitely worth watching.

Kayla Harrison (Judo)

This 22-year-old Ohio native could become the first American gold medalist in Olympic judo history. In 2010, Harrison was the first American to win the gold in the World Judo Championship since 1999 (when her coach Jimmy Pedro did the same), and only the fourth American to do this in the history of the sport. What makes her journey to the Olympics even more remarkable are the challenges she has faced and overcome after being sexually abused by her first judo coach as a teenager. By going public with her painful story, she hopes to inspire others who have had similar experiences to find ways to overcome them and go on to heal. And though she is originally from Ohio, she trains in Boston, so show Kayla some home-town love and cheer her on!

Soccer (Football)

The Olympics provide some exciting football. Past Olympic games have earned praise for attacking play that produced a good number of goals within the limited number of games played in both men’s and women’s tournaments. If the recently concluded Euro 2012 tournament is any preview, the London Games will certainly be entertaining. Additionally, in the women’s tournament Japan and the USA could meet in either the quarter-finals or semi-finals, depending on their group-stage results. This would provide an intriguing “rematch” of last year’s World Cup final. The 2012 Olympic Games promise to display some very spirited and skillful play.

Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin (Swimming)

Phelps needs only three more medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. With seven races on his docket, this is all but assured and would be the accomplishment of a lifetime. Phelps says he’ll retire after the London Games, and if he reaches his goals, he could leave with every significant medals-based record in Olympic history. Missy Franklin, dubbed the “Female Michael Phelps,” is only 17 and headed toward swimming stardom. She could become the first American female athlete to win seven medals at one Olympiad if she wins medals in all four of her individual events and makes each of the team’s three relay squads.

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