(L-R) Bilisuma Shugi of Bahrain, Lopez Lomong of the United States, Mo Farah of Great Britain, Isiah Kiplangat Koech of Kenya and Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan compete in the Men's 5000m Round 1 Heats on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Day 8 Preview – London 2012
Both USA and Jamaica dipped under 37.40 in the heats of the 4x100m, but the defending Olympic champions have the option of bringing in Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell into the team to run alongside Yohan Blake, while USA may well draft in Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey to team up with Justin Gatlin. Never before has there been two faster relay teams on paper, but what matters is what happens on the track.
The women's 4x400m at recent major championships often boils down to a three-way battle between USA, Russia and Jamaica. But the heats showed that Great Britain will be a force too. USA was the clear leader in the heats, despite not having Sanya Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix in their team. With the addition of the two individual Olympic champions, they will be the outstanding favourites.
Farah and Jelimo look for second Olympic gold medals
Mo Farah hopes to win his second medal of the Games in the men's 5000m final tomorrow, having already taken the 10,000m title earlier in the week. But Tirunesh Dibaba – who 'only' took bronze in the 5000m after winning the 10,000m – showed just how hard a distance double can be.
The World champion in the event will be up against strong Kenyan and Ethiopian opposition, all of whom are running on fresh legs, having not raced in the 10,000m. World leader Dejen Gebremeskel could be the biggest danger. A 12:46 man at best, the Ethiopian made his heat victory look very easy and has beaten Farah in the past.
Meanwhile, the USA has three strong entrants in 10,000m silver medallist Galen Rupp, former World champion Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong.
While Farah's Olympic gold came as recently as last week, Pamela Jelimo won her Olympic title four years ago. After a few low-key years, the Kenyan is back to her best and will be out to win her second gold medal in tomorrow's 800m final.
But the race could not be tougher and she faces an all-star cast – World champion Mariya Savinova, 2009 World champion Caster Semenya, 2007 World champion Janeth Jepkosgei, European champion Yelena Arzhakova, US champion Alysia Montano, Russian champion Yekaterina Poistogova and African champion Francine Niyonsaba.
Title number three for Thorkildsen?
With three Olympic gold medals in the Javelin, Jan Zelezny is considered one of the greatest Olympians of all-time. But tomorrow night Andreas Thorkildsen has the opportunity to match that record, having won in both Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
It's a tough ask though as the Norwegian hasn't been at his best this year. But with overall standards seemingly down in this event, the title is there for the taking. Perhaps the slight favourite is European champion Vitazslav Vesely, who threw a world-leading 88.34m in qualifying. But Thorkildsen also qualified with ease and looked as though he may finally be running into some good form at the right time.
With three Finns in the final (Ari Mannio, Tero Pitkämäki and Antti Ruuskanen), Ukrainian record-holder Oleksandr Pyatnytsya, and rising Kenyan talent Julius Yego, the final has the potential for a few surprises.
World Indoor champion Chaunte Lowe and World champion Anna Chicherova will renew their rivalry in the High Jump. It is always a good battle whenever the pair lock horns and tomorrow should be no different.
But they should not underestimate defending champion Tia Hellebaut, who has a habit of surprising people. European champion Ruth Beitia, Sweden's Emma Green Tregaro and USA's Brigetta Barrett also have the potential to get among the medals.
Earlier in the day, two race walking events will take place on the streets of London, held on a 2km loop near Buckingham Palace. One week after their worst ever performance in the men's 20km race walk at the Olympics, Russia will be keen to get on to the podium in the men's 50km event.
Their team is led by World champion Sergey Bakulin and also includes world leader Sergey Kirdyapkin and World Cup silver medallist Igor Yerokhin. While a medal sweep will be tough – especially in such a long event when anything could happen – it's not unlikely that Russia could win more than one medal. But the likes of Jared Tallent of Australia and Guatemala's Erick Barrondo – who won silver in the 20km event – will provide tough opposition.
Meanwhile in the women's 20km race walk, Olga Kaniskina will look to add to her ever-growing collection of global gold medals. The three-time World champion and reigning Olympic champion is arguably the greatest ever female race walker, but earlier this year she was beaten by younger team-mate Yelena Lashmanova, a real rising star of the race walking world, and the same could happen again in London. Also look out for China's Liu Hong, the World silver medallist.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF
- (L-R) Bilisuma Shugi of Bahrain, Lopez Lomong of the United States, Mo Farah of Great Britain, Isiah Kiplangat Koech of Kenya and Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan compete in the Men's 5000m Round 1 Heats on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright