Olympics Day 6 awaits another Phelps record bid
LONDON (CNN) — All eyes will be on the pool on day six of the Games, as U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps seeks to write another page in the history book Thursday with a third consecutive Olympic gold in the same individual event.
If he steams to victory in the men's 200-meter individual medley final, he will be the first man ever to achieve the feat, although two women have managed it before.
Phelps will be in lane 3 for the race -- but standing between him and history may be fellow U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte in lane 4, in their second showdown of the Games.
Lochte came out on top in the pair's first head-to-head contest, taking gold in the 400-meter individual Saturday while Phelps could only manage fourth.
But Lochte also swims in the 200-meter backstroke final Thursday, just a half-hour before the 200-meter individual medley, giving him little time to recover.
Phelps already made sporting history this week when he became the most medalled Olympian of all time, surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record of 18. The Baltimore native now has 19 medals to his name: 15 golds, two silvers and two bronzes.
If he fails to take gold Thursday, he has only one more chance to make it three in a row at these Games: the 100-meter butterfly final Friday.
Team USA will also be hoping for gold in the women's individual all-around gymnastics final.
Favorite for the top honor is Gabby Douglas -- nicknamed the Flying Squirrel -- who led the Americans to the team title. She will be competing against fellow countrywoman Aly Raisman, as well as Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina of Russia.
World champion Jordyn Wieber was excluded from the women's individual all-around competition because she finished fourth, but third among Americans, in a qualifying system that allows only two people per nation.
At the equestrian arena, Ann Romney, wife of the soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee, was on hand to see her horse Rafalca compete in dressage, ridden by Jan Ebeling. Mitt Romney wasn't there, though, as he's traveling from Boston to Colorado for campaign events.
The oldest competitor taking part in the London Games, 71-year-old Hiroshi Hoketsu of Japan, rode in the same event on his horse, Whisper.
Team USA struck gold in the rowing with victory for the women's eight.
South Africa took gold in the lightweight men's four after a superb late rally, relegating Team GB to silver, to the disappointment of many in the crowd. Also on the rowing lake, New Zealand won the men's doubles sculls final, the country's first gold in London.
In west London, tennis fans can look forward to quarter-finals at Wimbledon in both the men's and women's singles competition.
The lineup includes Novak Djokovic v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Roger Federer v John Isner, Maria Sharapova v Kim Clijsters, as well as Victoria Azarenka v Angelique Kerber -- quite a day of tennis.
Cycling moves from the streets of London to the velodrome Thursday, with qualifying rounds and finals in the men's and women's team sprint events.
Team GB will want to repeat the success of its road cyclists a day earlier, when Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome took gold and bronze in the time trial.
The victory made Wiggins, a former track cyclist, the most decorated British Olympian, with seven medals.
New postage stamps were released in the United Kingdom on Thursday, celebrating Wiggins alongside rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, who brought Team GB its first gold medal of the 2012 Games on Wednesday.
Gold medals will also be up for grabs in canoeing, table tennis and women's individual archery competitions.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the badminton scandal continues.
One of the Chinese badminton players disqualified from the Games on Wednesday for trying to lose a match has indicated she is quitting the sport, accusing the badminton governing body of ruining her dreams.
"This is my last match," Yu Yang wrote on her microblog account late Wednesday. "Farewell Badminton World Federation, farewell my beloved badminton."
However, her official team apology, issued after her microblog comments, was less unequivocal.
"I apologize to all our fans because we failed to abide by the Olympic spirit and failed to present a game as it should have been ... I am ready to do my best in every game of my professional career in the future, to show all of my fans that I've changed," it reads.
Yu, her women's doubles partner, Wang Xiaoli, and six other players were kicked out of the competition Wednesday by the Badminton World Federation in one of the most controversial episodes of the London Games so far.
The athletes were accused of playing to lose in order to face easier opponents in future matches, drawing boos from spectators and warnings from match officials Tuesday night. The other doubles pairs booted out were from South Korea and Indonesia. They lost an appeal for reinstatement.
CNN's Jethro Mullen and Andrew Henstock contributed to this report.
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By Laura Smith-Spark