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Olympics2012Olympic Hot Sheet: Top stories for today & tomorrow

Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 | 04:11 PM

Categories: Olympics2012

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The view from high atop London's Olympic Stadium for Danny Boyle's opening ceremony. (Francois Xavier Marit/AFP/GettyImages) The view from high atop London's Olympic Stadium for Danny Boyle's opening ceremony. (Francois Xavier Marit/AFP/GettyImages)

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A guide to what happened Friday, and what to look for Saturday, as the Olympic Games open in London.
A guide to what happened today, and what to look for tomorrow, at the Olympic Games in London.

Let the Games begin

Though competition actually began Wednesday with the first matches of the women's soccer tournament, the London Olympics officially started today with the opening ceremony.

English movie director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) is in charge of the show, inspired by Shakespeare's play The Tempest. The festivities will remind everyone that Great Britain has made some pretty great contributions to popular culture (James Bond, Peter Pan, Downton Abbey...) and especially rock music. Among the artists reportedly featured on the 86-song playlist: The Beatles, The Clash, The Kinks, The Sex Pistols, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Queen, Blur, Radiohead, Coldplay, and Oasis.

That all you got, Britain? (No, actually, there's just too many to list).

Captain Canada

Beloved triathlete Simon Whitfield will carry the Canadian flag and lead the team into London's Olympic Stadium at about 10 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET). Whitfield won the first ever Olympic men's triathlon gold medal back in 2000, and he added a silver in '08 in Beijing with a jaw-dropping finishing kick. He's 37 now, but still a medal contender.

Easy road

Canadian boxer Mary Spencer found out today she'll only have to win one match to get a medal. The three-time world champ received a first-round bye in the women's middleweight division, which puts her in the final eight. If she wins her opening bout, she's in the final four, and the losers of those semifinal bouts both get bronze medals rather than being forced to fight for them in the ring.

Not a bad deal, considering Spencer was kind of lucky just to get into the first Olympic women's boxing tournament in history. She lost her opening bout at the world championships and needed to land one of the wild-card entries awarded through a cloudy selection process.

Blind archer sets Games' 1st records

South Korea's Im Dong-hyun, who has only 10 per cent vision in his left eye and 20 per cent in his right, had a pretty good day, breaking his own record in the 72-arrow mark and helping South Korea set a team record in the archery ranking rounds.

Canada's Crispin Duenas earned himself a good seed for the medal round by placing eighth in the ranking round. Fellow Canadian Marie-Pier Beaudet placed 29th in the women's ranking round.

Looking ahead...

Saturday marks the first full day of competition, and organizers are starting things off with a bang. In one of the most anticipated events of the entire Games, American swimming stars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are expected to battle in the final of the men's 400-metre individual medley, one of only two events in which they'll go head to head. Phelps and Lochte must first qualify in the heats on Saturday morning, but that's considered a formality.

As for the top Canadians:

  • Swimmer Ryan Cochrane will compete in the men's 400 freestyle, though he's not expected to contend. Look for him in the 1,500 free on Aug. 4.
  • The women's 4x100 free relay team will try to qualify for the final in the morning heats.
  • It's a big day for rowers, as the heats get underway with Canadian boats in the men's eight (Canada is the defending champ), men's double sculls, and men's pair (Scott Frandsen and Dave Calder were silver medalists in '08).
  • Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal competes in the men's cycling road race.
  • The women's soccer team looks to bounce back from a 2-1 loss to Japan when it plays weaker South Africa.
  • The women's basketball team opens against Russia.

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