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Thursday, August 2, 2012

This Week in Sports: August 2, 2012

The Week That Was:  Obviously, the Summer Olympics are the biggest story right now, but a few other sporting events did take place last week.

MLB:  The Boston Red Sox traveled to Yankee Stadium last weekend.  The Yankees had an opportunity to drive a final stake in the heart of their struggling rivals.  Instead, the Red Sox took 2 out of 3 games in the series and left the Bronx with a .500 record.  It's still unlikely that the Red Sox will catch the Yankees and win the division.  But, with two wild cards in each league this year, the Red Sox's playoff hopes still have a flicker of light as we head into the dog days of August.

NASCAR:  The Sprint Cup Series was at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend for the Brickyard 400.  The race was not competitive.  Jimmie Johnson dominated and won easily.  However, in the bigger picture, there was some excitement.  Matt Kenseth came into the weekend with a 16 point lead in the standings over Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  But, Kenseth got caught up in a mid race crash and finished in 35th place.  Junior finished 4th and left Indy with a 14 point lead over Kenseth.  This is the first time that Dale Jr. has had the points lead since 2004.

Missy Franklin (Getty)
Olympics:  The Games of the XXX Olympiad officially got underway last Friday.  The first week of the Olympics has been focused on gymnastics and swimming.  Team USA's women's gymnastics team lived up to the hype and won the team gold medal by a wide margin.  The men's team was hopeful heading into the competition.  They showed promise in the qualifying round but struggled mightily in the team finals and did not get a medal.  As usual, the USA has been strong in the pool.  Both the men and the women.  Ryan Lochte burst onto the stage, partly because of his swimming and partly because of his swagger.  Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time when he collected his medals this week.  The darling of the games seems to be 17 year-old Missy Franklin who won a gold medal in her first individual event and helped her relay team capture another gold.

The Week Ahead:

Olympics:  Week 2 of the Olympics will be even bigger than the first week.  The team sports will be handing out their medals.  That includes, men's and women's basketball, volleyball in the gym and on the beach and soccer.  Track and field will also get underway.  The later rounds of the tennis competition will be especially compelling because the matches are being played at the All England Club.  The same famed grounds where Wimbledon is played each year.  Although China holds a small lead in the total medal count at this point, it is expected that the United States will take the final lead after strong showings on the track and on the basketball courts.

NFL:  It is finally time for football to start!  The first preseason game of the year will be played on Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  The Saints will be playing the Cardinals in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, OH.  I won't lie.  It's hard for all but the most die hard of fans to sit through an entire preseason game.  But, it looks like football and sounds like football, so it will soothe the souls of many starving fans.

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