Olympic Viewing Guide: All-American Battle on the Beach

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings take on teammates Jennifer Kessy and April Ross for the women's beach volleyball gold medal.

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The chants of "USA! USA!" may not ring any louder during the London Games than at the Horse Guards Parade Wednesday, when the women's beach volleyball gold medal final kicks up the sand in an all-American showdown.

In a history-making battle, defending champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings compete against teammates Jennifer Kessy and April Ross at 4 p.m. ET. Adding even more excitement to the match, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings are attempting to claim their third consecutive title.

To get to the all-American showdown, both pairs faced best-in-the-world competitors Tuesday and came away with hard-won victories during the semifinals.

In a comeback thriller, Kessy and Ross upset top seed and reigning world champion Brazil in a nail-biting match in which the Americans lost the first set but rebounded to win the next two and qualify for the final. In their semifinal match, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings defeated China's 2008 bronze medal winners Xue Chen and Zhang Xi 22-20, 22-20.

By taking the gold, May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings would join Michael Phelps in the three-peat history books, having successfully defended their title in the same events at the Athens, Beijing and now London Games. Phelps pulled off the three-peat in both the 200m individual medley and the 100m butterfly.

Also Wednesday, in men's basketball, Team USA is still heavily favored to take the gold, but coach Mike Krzyzewski is taking nothing for granted. The team will have to defeat Australia in the quarterfinal and win two more matches before it can claim the gold.

"If you're looking at a game for us to dominate every minute of the game, it will not happen," Krzyzewski told ESPN of the sometimes unreasonable expectations on the team. Other countries are good enough to test the U.S., according to Krzyzewski, who went on to cite Monday's game against Argentina, in which the Americans were locked in a one-point game at half-time. "People are too good and so if you can win minutes, segments, then that adds up to a win, which is what we want to do."

The U.S.'s game with Australia begins at 5:15 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports.

Over on the Olympic Stadium track, Carmelita Jeter will attempt to do her namesake proud in the women's 200m final (4:00 p.m. ET). The National Zoo in Washington announced Tuesday that one of its 3-month-old cheetah cubs had been named Carmelita in honor of the American speed star. (The other cub, a male, was given the name Justin for sprinter Justin Gatlin.) Fittingly, the fastest animals on the planet took the monikers of the fastest Americans in the Olympics.

And swift Jeter will need to be, if she wants to cross the finish line first, ahead of teammates Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross, as well as Jamaican powerhouses Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Other events Wednesday include:

  • Middleweight Claressa Shields won her semifinal bout against Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan, 29-15, securing her spot in Thursday's gold medal fight. She'll take on Russia's Nadezda Torlopova and is now guaranteed at least a silver. Her teammate Marlen Esparza lost her flyweight bout against China's world champion Cancan Ren, 10-8, pushing her out of the gold medal contest, but securing her with a bronze in her weight division.
  • Somalian-born Londoner Mo Farah, who now trains in Portland under U.S. distance legend Alberto Salazar, advanced to the gold medal round of the 5,000m. Americans Galen Rupp, Lopez Lomong and Bernard Lagat, the Kenyan-born American record holder whom Farah beat for the world title in 2011, also advanced.
  • Americans T'erea Brown, Lashinda Demus and Georganne Moline compete in the women's 400m hurdles at 3:45 p.m. ET. The top qualifying time of 53.33 was set by Natalya Antyukh of Russia, with Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova seeded in second place (53.62) and Demus third (53.98).
  • At the Aquatics Center, America’s high divers Katie Bell and Brittany Viola take to the 10m platform in the preliminary round beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET. Fun fact: Viola's father Frank was the 1987 World Series MVP with the Minnesota Twins.
  • Live coverage of the U.S. men’s water polo team in the quarterfinal round as Team USA takes on Croatia at 3:00 p.m. ET. If they win in this round, the Americans are guaranteed to play for a medal. Other men's water polo quarterfinals Wednesday are Montenegro vs. Spain, Australia vs. Serbia and Italy vs. Hungary.

For a full local listing of events being shown all day on NBC, the NBC Sports Network, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, the NBC Basketball Channel and Telemundo, please see NBCOlympics.com, where you can also find listings for all livestreamed events.

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