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BEIJING 2008

The Games plan

Overall schedule from 17 days might be a little daunting, but this should help narrow it down to some of the high points.

August 08, 2008|Randy Harvey | Times Staff Writer

Today

Opening ceremony. Superstitious Chinese believe No. 8 is lucky. Thus, the Games begin on 8-8-2008 at 8:08 p.m. Beijing time. That is 5:08 a.m. today in Los Angeles. The U.S. athletes' choice of flag bearer Lopez Lomong was controversial because he is a refugee of Sudan and member of Team Darfur, where genocide by the Sudanese government is not condemned by the Chinese because of the country's arms-for-oil deals. The U.S. parade won't move fast enough for Chinese authorities in attendance.

Beach volleyball. First round. U.S. favored for both gold medals with men Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers and women Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, the defending champions.

Cycling. The men's road race will be the first test for endurance athletes in the hazy days of Beijing summers. Chinese officials say pollution levels are acceptable no matter what your eyes and lungs tell you.

Saturday

Swimming. This is one of the two sports NBC insisted on having in prime time for U.S. audiences. The other was gymnastics. Michael Phelps goes for gold medal No. 1 tonight in the 400-meter individual medley.

Women's basketball. U.S. women, with three Sparks -- Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and DeLisha Milton-Jones -- open against Czech Republic in search of fourth consecutive gold.

Tennis. The fifth Grand Slam opens today with the first round of men's singles. Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal in the final, anyone?

Sunday

Men's basketball. China watches intently as its hero, Yao Ming, takes on Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the rest of the Redeem Team.

Swimming. Phelps is back for Day 2 of swimming in two events, the 400-meter freestyle relay and semifinals of the 200 freestyle. Natalie Coughlin and Katie Hoff could be looking for their second medals as well.

Gymnastics. China is expected to have one of its finest hours in the men's team competition, taking back the title it won in 2000 but lost in 2004 to Japan. The United States was second in Athens but doesn't have Paul Hamm this time because of injuries.

Monday

Swimming. Phelps, Coughlin and Hoff are all back in the pool, as is Aaron Peirsol of Irvine. He's in the 100 backstroke.

Women's basketball. One day after the U.S. men meet China, it's the U.S. women's turn. U.S. women also meet China in water polo, but very early this morning PDT.

Tennis. Women's singles begins. Venus Williams, who won in 2000, is playing. Justine Henin, who won in 2004, is not, having retired. Lindsay Davenport, who won in 1996, withdrew today.

Tuesday

Women's gymnastics. The United States, led by Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin, beat China in the world championships team competition last year by one point. But the Chinese have the home mat advantage.

Swimming. Phelps again, the 200 butterfly final. Coughlin and Hoff are back too. Eric Shanteau, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer before the U.S. trials but chose to delay surgery until after the Games, could be in the 200 breaststroke semifinal.

Men's basketball. The United States meets Angola. Too bad Charles Barkley isn't still around to insult the Angolans. Or maybe that's a good thing.

Wednesday

Men's gymnastics. China's Yang Wei should do well in the men's all-around finals after a disappointing fall cost him in 2004.

Men's basketball. Want to see a couple of L.A. NBA players not named Kobe? Check out Pau Gasol and Spain versus Chris Kaman and Germany.

Baseball. It's a rare doubleheader for the U.S. team. Sort of. The team, using primarily minor leaguers, meets South Korea at 3 a.m. PDT, which is 6 p.m. in Beijing, and then returns for a game against the Netherlands at 7:30 p.m. PDT, which is 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Beijing. Confused? Check out the time explainer in this section.

Thursday

Gymnastics. The United States has not just one potential Mary Lou but two in Johnson and Liukin as they challenge each other in the women's all-around finals.

Swimming. All the usual suspects return to the Water Cube.

Baseball. Get a look at some major league prospects, not only on the U.S. team but also on Cuba's as they meet in round play. Cuban baseball players like to defect, but it's unlikely they will do so in Beijing.

Aug. 15

Women's soccer. Mamma Mia, come back. Without Hamm, who retired to watch more baseball, and Abby Wambach, who broke her leg, the United States will be hard pressed to repeat as gold medalist. The team is expected, however, to advance to today's quarterfinals despite a 2-0 opening loss to Norway.

Track and field. The first final is the men's shotput, with a U.S. sweep possible.

Swimming. Find out if Dara Torres, 41, can continue to defy her age by winning a medal in the 50 freestyle.

Aug. 16

Men's basketball. If you thought it was fun watching Kobe play with Gasol, tune in today to see them play against each other as the U.S. meets Spain. They are two of the favorites.

Women's marathon. Deena Kastor, an Agoura Hills native, gives the U.S. a medal hopeful.

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