Olympics Mania: Who to Watch

Sisu: endurance, resilience, tenacity, determination, perseverance; an inner reserve of diligence, capacity, the ability to face head-on and always overcome; craziness: the recklessness that inspires a person to take on something in the face of incredible odds.

That according to Urban Dictionary.

I swam competitively until my fourth year in college and this was my high school coach Tim Murphy’s mantra. We were the Wilton Wahoos, and like other teams, we had uniforms. Except every time a teammate caught Murph’s eye for their SISU, he’d give them a maroon T-shirt with SISU on it. I wanted one really badly and it wasn’t until the very end of my high school swimming “career” that I received one. Whew!

Murphy travels to London in a week or so as the Head Coach for the U.S. Open Water Swim Team. He left the Wahoos in the late ’90s to coach the Harvard Men’s Team where he still rules the pool. One of his distance athletes, Alex Meyer, has received almost as much press as the Phelps/Lochte supposed rivalry and is set to compete in the 10K on August 10. The women compete in the same event on August 9. Coach Murphy will be live-blogging here and it’s worth checking out.

In addition to the open water swimming events, we will be watching the Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte races. They compete against each other in the 400 IM on Saturday, so right off the bat, there will be blood. Their next dual will be on Thursday, Aug. 2, if they both final in the 200 IM.

Other swim races we are excited to watch are the men’s breastroke — Brendan Hansen will compete against his arch-nemesis Kosuke Kitajima in the 100 M breast on Sunday July 29. Natalie Coughlin is up for a medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay and if the team wins, she will tie for the most decorated female athlete with 12 medals.

In track and field, Lolo Jones, who stumbled on the ninth hurdle in Beijing 2008, will be back with a vengeance, competing in the 100-m hurdles. She is a hottie on a mission!

We can’t wait to watch Gabbie Douglas on the parallel bars. We caught her at the Trials and knew she had something special. The women’s gymnastics team competes first, with finals on July 31. And the women’s all-around competition will begin Aug. 2.

We learned on Quora this morning the oldest competitor in London is a 71-year-old Japanese equestrian. Way to go Hiroshi Hoketsu!

Here is NBC’s official Olympics 2012 schedule. If we’re home and the Olympics come on we will be watching.

We have to run out the door to walk Agnes, but we hope to post more Olympics updates very soon!

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