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The Cheat Sheet to Viewing 2012 Olympic Running Events- Part I's the thing. I've been watching plenty of the Olympics coverage, but I cheat. I randomly look up updates during the day, and then just watch whatever happens to be on at night for a few minutes. I figure if someone sets some incredible world record or China begins world domination via athletic events, someone will tell me about it. But starting August 3rd....well, suddenly I'm more interested.


The Track and Field/Athletics events start on Friday, August 3rd and run until August 12th. For most of us, it's not enough to just put on the television randomly and hope someone happens to be running really fast during that time. And, for me at least, I'm willing to wake up a little early to watch the really good stuff go down.

To clarify - this is not, by any means, a conclusive guide to the track and field events during the Olympics. But I've been scrolling around online this afternoon looking for events I WANTED to watch, so I figured I'd include this little cheat sheet for anyone who is doing the same. For the most part, this only includes finals, and it definitely favors the women's events.  Because while I'd love to watch every heat of every event, I also have a little job thing I have to do on the side. You know, 40+ hours a week.  Unless I specified otherwise, all the times listed are EST, and this guide covers only August 3rd - August 7th. I'll cover part two later on!

(Note - what does RT mean? Random tidbit. AKA how to look like an expert/genius when you're, well....not.)

Friday, August 3rd:
3:30 PM - Men's Shot Put Final
RT: Did you know the word "shot" can refer to the heavy metal ball as well as the action of throwing it? Fun noun/verb action for you there.

4:25 PM Women’s 10,000 Meters Final
RT: Shalane Flanagan, a marathon contender this year, took bronze in this event in Beijing with a time of 30:22.22.

Saturday, August 4th:
2:30 PM Women’s Discus Throw Final
RT: Did you know that a men's discus weighs 2 kg, but a women's discus weighs just 1kg? Because men are twice as strong? Use this to spark intelligent debate and/or misogynist discussion at your Olympic viewing events.

4:15 PM Men’s 10,000 Meters Final
RT: If Ugandan runner Moses Kipsiro wins this event, the Olympics committee will likely play his country's anthem more than once because it is so short (15 seconds).

4:55 PM Women’s 100 Meters Final
RT:The 1928 winner of this event, Betty Robinson, was in a plane crash three months after the games. Bystanders noted here nonexistent pulse and declared her dead. At the mortician's, it was discovered that she was alive, and she went on to compete in the 1936 Olympics.

Sunday, August 5th:

6:00 AM Women's Marathon Final
RT: The first true marathon distance (26.2) was run in London so that runners could finish the race exactly in front of King Edward VII's royal box. 

4:10 PM Womens' 400 Meters Final
RT: Amantle Montsho, the reigning world champion in the event, was the first professional female athlete from her country of Botswana.

4:50 Men's 100 Meters Final
RT: Jamaican training partners Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake are the two to watch for the honor of "Fastest Man on Earth."

Monday, August 6th:

2:00 PM Women's Pole Vault Final
RT: There are no set or required lengths for poles. Athletes can choose any length that helps them to perform best.

2:15 PM Women's Shot Put Final
RT: British athlete Eden Francis has an unusual shot put coach...her mother.

4:30 PM Men's 400 Meter Finals
RT: Eric Liddell, one of the bases for the main characters in Chariots of Fire, won this event in the 1942 Paris Olympics.


Tuesday, August 7th:

2:00 PM Men's Long Jump Final
RT: Meyer Prinstein, a long jump contender in 1904, couldn't compete in the final because his religious college refused to allow him to compete on a Sunday. Sidenote: Prinstein was Jewish. Whoops.

4:00 PM Women’s 100 Meters Hurdles Final
RT: Lolo Jones (whose real name in Lori) is a serious contender in this event and is the most followed US Track and Field Athlete on Twitter.

4:15 PM Men’s 1500 Meters Final
RT: Philip Noel-Baker won this event in 1920 at the Olympics in Antwerp and is the only Olympian who has also received a Nobel Prize - in 1959. Overachiever.

So - let's hear it. What Olympic event are you looking forward to most?
Women's marathon and men's 100 meters.

Would you rather run on a treadmill WATCHING the Olympic Marathon Final or run listening to the radio updates?
No question. Treadmill. Can't wait to do this!


  1. Did you know that "conclusive" was the wrong word there and you probably meant "inclusive"?

    That's your random tidbit of the day. You're welcome.

    1. Technically, I meant it was not the final or definitive guide. Since I did state that it doesn't include all the events, it would obviously not be inclusive, either.
      Comprehensive. I think that's the word I'd like most in that sentence. 20/20 gets you every time.

  2. I know NBC has been recording big events and then playing them back later during prime time TV. Do you know if the marathon will be streaming live/how do you plan to watch it?
    Just need to be prepared! Thanks for the great list!!

    1. NBC will be showing the Women's Marathon live on TV on Sunday!

  3. Since I live nearby London, I'm going to try and make a Field Hockey game on Sat. I used to work for them at the OTC in Colorado Springs. So, I have to support the US while here:)! It's a great time to be here in the UK, especially with the Olympics going on. Have a great day!!

  4. I'm looking forward to the marathon but also seeing Lolo jump (mostly because I want to see why my husband thinks she's so great).

    1. I think I might know why he does already....and it may not have to do with her athletic skills.

  5. I'm not going to lie, when my sister announced she was pregnant, my family was very concerned about her due date falling during the Olympics. I'll have to listen to the marathon on the radio on my way up to see her! Running while watching it sounds amazing though, I'd totally pretend I was in the race.

  6. I think I'm going to do an elliptical marathon at the same time as the Olympic marathon. :)

  7. Social media has been ruining the Olympics for us but I do plan to bond with the treadmill on Sunday during the marathon. Normally I'm excited to watch all the different Olympic events but I just haven't been that into it this time.

  8. Hey, love this post Vanessa... nice and concise and now I know what to watch for. Thanks!

    I always like the men's 100 cause I love to see who is going to wear the title of the fastest man in the world till next time... and it has been a Canadian occasionally so that makes it more exciting for me, I admit.

    Womens' marathon, yes! For sure.

  9. Great list! I have not been watching the Olympics, but will probably tune in just in time for the end of the marathon. It's going to be pretty early over here!

  10. I love watching the Olympics but I keep falling asleep on the couch at night when I try to watch it, humph! I want to watch the triathlon but I've probably missed it :-(

  11. Oh I am so excited the the track events, I hope I can catch some of them. Since I have only been running for 3 years, I never watched the track events at the Olympics. I was always drawn the gymnastics (as a dancer) but I am super excited to watch the marathon and some of the short distances!

  12. I am looking forward to both marathons (nbc is showing it live online but are you sure they are showing it on tv? they just said they are showing Murray-Federer )

    both 100 m
    and Lolo Jones! I hope she does well.

  13. I was hoping the marathon was playing a little earlier but it starts at 10pm here, so I might catch an hour of it! Loved watching the triathlons and rowing too.


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