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Today at the Olympics: Raisman goes for it in the all-around, Lochte-Phelps II

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  August 2, 2012 06:12 AM

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LONDON -- Welcome to Day 6 of competition, where some familiar names will be back in the spotlight ...

Thursday's must-see event: Random thought: Comcast SportsNet New England must be feeling pretty good about the terrific Aly Raisman documentary director Torey Champagne put together in advance of the Olympics, huh? Raisman, the Needham native whose superb anchor performance wrapped up the team gold for the US women's gymnastics team, has already established herself as one of the darlings of the London Olympics -- betcha there's a Wheaties box in her and her teammates' future. She has a chance to enhance that profile further in the individual all-around Thursday, where she and teammate Gabby Douglas will go for gold. Getting this far was unexpected -- Raisman outperformed world champion Jordyn Wieber in the qualifier to earn one of the US's two spots. But after proving her mettle throughout these Games, no one will be surprised by anything Raisman accomplishes Thursday.

Also worth watching: Have you heard about these Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte fellas? Do the names ring bell? Well, you see, they're swimmers and ... OK, OK, facetiousness aside regarding the oft-rehashed rivalry between Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, and Lochte, who has become a household name over the last few weeks, Thursday brings their second and final compelling matchup here when they go head to head in the 200-meter individual medley. Phelps will be trying to win the event for the third consecutive Olympics. Lochte will be going for either his second gold or third gold here, depending upon how he fares barely a half-hour earlier when he tries to defend his gold medal from Beijing in the 200-meter backstroke. Also in the pool, Rebecca Soni, who set a world record in her 200-meter breaststroke semifinal, is the favorite for gold in that event.

Wednesday's big story: You know what they always say: The Olympics have never really begun until there's a badminton match-fixing scandal. Sure, there's a serious element to Wednesday's news that eight players had been disqualified for tanking matches to get favorable draws in later rounds -- if the Olympics don't have an honest spirit of competition, what's the point? Still ... it's badminton, a sport many of us take seriously only when we're getting pathetically competitive hitting the ol' shuttlecock around with cousin Larry a couple of Budweisers into the family reunion barbeque. Plus, the video of the tanking is kind of hilarious:

Personally, I was disappointed to discover Thursday morning that none of the London tabloids had gone with a "BADminton!!!" headline. But I guess when the mayor gets stuck on a zip line, badminton isn't the priority.

Or, what Johnny Weir said:

Tweet of the day:A scandal in badminton? What's next? Slip n' Slide Oil rigging? Dodgeball judge pay-offs? Croquet beat downs? -- figure skater Johnny Weir-Voronov ‏(@JohnnyGWeir), after eight badminton players were booted from the Olympics Wednesday for trying to lose matches.

Mind the gap, and stick around for further updates.

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