The Blade Runner’s debut: Oscar Pistorius is sometimes called the fastest man with no legs. The South African was born without a fibula in either leg; both were amputated before his first birthday. When he steps into the blocks for round one of the men’s 400-m sprint, he will be the first person without biological legs to compete in an Olympic running event. His personal best ranked fourth in the opening heat (of seven sprinters), so qualifying for the semi-finals looks to be a tough accomplishment. Then again, Pistorius has surprised naysayers before.
Approximate time to watch: Men’s 400m sprint – Sportsnet 5:30 a.m. Eastern/2:30 a.m. Pacific
Update: Pistorius qualifies for the semi-final on Sunday.
Michael Phelps’s victory lap: He is the most decorated Olympian of all time: 21 medals, 17 of them gold. He won a record eight gold medals in Beijing. He got his redemption against fellow American Ryan Lochte in the 200-m individual medley (after missing the podium for the 4 x 200-m IM. And he got his redemption against South African Chad le Clos in the 100-m butterfly (after narrowly losing the 200-m butterfly days before). Phelps has only one swim left to go. Along with his American teammates, he will run one length of the pool and back in the 4 x 100-m medley relay in hopes of adding yet another medal to his CV. And you can bet he would hate to end his storied career with Team USA not touching gold.
Approximate time to watch: Swimming men’s 4 x 100-m medley relay – CTV 3:20 p.m. Eastern/12:30 p.m. Pacific
The world’s fastest man:
Even people who care little about the Olympics still want to see one event: the 100-m dash. For all the golds and heroic stories from every nation, the one name that will be most talked after this Olympics will not be Michael Phelps. It will be Usain Bolt. The world’s fastest man jogged (yes, jogged) towards his gold medal four years ago at the Beijing Olympics. Later at a world championsip in Berlin, he sprinted through to a world record of 9.58 seconds. That record can only be broken by one man, and that is Bolt himself. Don’t think it will happen on Saturday because Bolt will likely jog through the first two rounds to save his energy for the finals. Watch it. It’ll be the fastest job you’ve ever seen.
Approximate time to watch: Men’s 100-m sprint – Sportsnet 7:30 a.m. Eastern/4:30 a.m. Pacific
Update: All the big names qualify easily for the semi-finals on Sunday: Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Justin Gaitlin
Swim Canada’s golden boy:
Ryan Cochrane has waited four years for this moment. In Beijing 2008, the Victoria, B.C. native swam the race of his life to win bronze in the 1,500-m freestyle. Now at the age of 23, Cochrane will be going to the finals once again, posting the third best time in the heats (14:49.31). In the lane to his right will be the Chinese phenom Sun Yang, whose qualifying time was more than six seconds faster than the Canadians. Also in the final is Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli, who won the gold in the Olympics four years ago. It’s all set up for a tight finish.
Approximate time to watch: Swimming men’s 1,500-m freestyle finals – CTV 2:30 p.m. Eastern/11:30 a.m. Pacific
A Canadian’s 10th Olympic Games: Ian Millar has missed only one Olympics since he first competed in Munich 1972 – and that was when Canada boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow. The equestrian star is 65 years old, but he’s certainly not your typical senior citizen: he won his first Olympic medal (team silver) four years ago, and is ready to add more medals to his storied career. Competing as well will be Eric Lamaze, who won individual gold four years ago in Beijing.
Approximate time to watch: Equestrian – OLN 5:30 a.m. Eastern/2:30 a.m. Pacific
Time to fly: Rosie MacLennan can fly, granted with the help of a trampoline. After finishing seventh at the Beijing Summer Games, she rose to a silver medal at last year’s World Championship, and gold at the World Cup a few months ago. Along with fellow Canadian Karen Cockburn, who has won a medal in each of her three previous Olympics, they had a 1-2 finish at that World Cup event. The Chinese are always the favourites it seems, but the Maple Leaf is ready to soar.
Approximate time to watch: Trampoline – CTV 9:00 a.m. Eastern/6:00 a.m. Pacific
Update: Rosie MacLennan wins Canada’s first gold!
Redemption v. 2.0:
Michael Phelps had one more swimmer to beat. The same day he broke the record for all-time medals at the Olympics (19), it had to feel a little bittersweet losing out on gold in his signature event, the 400-m butterfly. In the final few metres, South African Chad le Clos somehow managed to beat Phelps by fingertips. In his last individual swim, Phelps was once again pitted against le Clos in the butterfly, this time the 200-m race. And, like for most of his career, Phelps did not disappoint. He won his 17th gold medal, further solidifying every record he owns.
Wimbledon prepares for its rematch:
Roger Federer, the most decorated tennis player in history, won the longest match in Olympic tennis history, but that’s not what the talk of the town is about. It’s about his opponent in the final. Britain’s own Andy Murray upset Novak Djokovic in the other semi-final to set up the ultimate rematch. Less than a month ago, the two met on the centre court at Wimbledon for the championship match. Federer won and Murray broke down in tears in front of the home crowd. After winning today, he can abolish that feeling of complete sadness in the most grand of ways on Sunday.
Canada sends the Brits home:
Soccer Canada had never had a team in an Olympic semi-final before, and for the women to get there, they had to beat the host country. After a brilliant finish by Jonelle Filigno in the 13th minute, Canada doubled up their lead with a Christine Sinclair free kick 13 minutes after that. The women held onto that scoreline and won 2-0 to set up a dream semi-final match-up versus the United States.