Olympics 2012: What to Watch Tonight, Monday 6 August

Can Dai Greene strike gold in the 400m hurdles? Will Holly Bleasdale medal in the pole vault? Plus what Matt Smith will be watching

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Cycling: Men’s Track Sprint Final

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5:43pm BBC1/BBC2, BBC Olympics 5

This is the match sprint, the cat-and-mouse race where riders try to outwit each other. In Beijing, Chris Hoy won gold and Jason Kenny silver. They’ve since changed the rules so you’re only allowed to have one rider in the event – and Kenny will be that man.

There was some clamour that Hoy should be allowed to defend all three of his Olympic titles, but I believe they’ve made the right decision: if Hoy were to ride in the individual sprint, team sprint and keirin it might just take the top edge off his speed. Better to have fresher legs and a focused mind. The man for Kenny to beat is the defending world champion, Frenchman Grégory Baugé. Simon Brotherton


Wrestling: Men’s 60kg Greco-Roman Gold Medal Final

6:25pm BBC Olympics 13

Greco-Roman wrestling suggests a bit of a homoerotic ding-dong: little young men in tiny pants or, even better, very short togas.

Not at all. It’s very big, very sturdy men in leotards – none sturdier than world champion Omid Haji Noroozi of Iran – and there’s absolutely no frisson of sexiness, just contestants, each the size of a block of flats, attempting to hurl one another from the mat without holding one another below the waist – a big no-no. Alison Graham


Athletics: Women’s Pole Vault Final

7:00pm BBC1, BBC Olympics 15

The women’s pole vault is included in the Olympic programme for only the fourth time and Holly Bleasdale is primed to win Britain’s first medal.

At just 20, she is one of the brightest prospects in the sport. This year she has taken bronze at the world indoor championships, and broken the British pole vault record, so she seems to be hitting top form at the right time. Mike Costello


Men’s 400m Hurdles Final

8:45pm BBC1, BBC Olympics 1

Dai Greene was once a footballer on the books of Swansea City; he even scored a penalty against Real Madrid in a junior tournament. He switched to athletics because he preferred a sport where “no one can hide”. Now he’s poised to add Olympic glory to the world championship honours he celebrated a year ago.

Only two Britons, David Hemery in 1968 and Lord (David) Burghley 40 years earlier, have won Olympic gold in this event. Britain’s last medallist was Kriss Akabusi, with a bronze in 1992. Greene will probably have to break Kriss Akabusi’s 20-year-old British record to have a chance of claiming gold. Mike Costello

Dai Greene: “If I win Olympic gold I’ll have Ryan Giggs to thank”


Men’s 400m Final

9:30pm BBC1, BBC Olympics 1

In an event regarded as one of the most body-breaking in the sport, the USA have won the past seven golds. Only one man, Michael Johnson, has ever successfully defended the title — winning in 1996 and 2000. But his achievement won’t be matched in London because LaShawn Merritt, who was a clear-cut winner in Beijing and leads the world rankings this year, pulled up injured in his heat and failed to finish. 

Another potentially huge story evaporated when South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, who has artificial legs below his knees, also failed to qualify for the final. Pistorius had made history by being the first amputee sprinter at the Olympics. GB’s Martyn Rooney will be another absentee after a disappointing semi-final run.

Merritt’s absence leaves the way clear for world champion Kirani James of Grenada to take gold.

Matt Smith: why I’ll be watching athletics

“I love to see the 400m – that used to be my event. But I’ll watch anything. My favourite Olympic memory is Linford Christie when he was doing well. I loved his intensity. But I’d watch Michael Johnson any day of the week just because he was electrifying.”


Golds today

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Sailing Women’s Laser Radial Medal Race 1pm Shooting Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions Finals 1:45pm Equestrian Team Jumping Finals Round 2 2pm Sailing Men’s Laser Medal Race 2pm Gymnastics Men’s Rings Final 2pm; Women’s Uneven Bars Final 2:50pm; Men’s Vault Final 3:41pm Weightlifting Men’s 105kg, Group B 3:30pm Shooting Men’s Trap Finals 4pm Track Cycling Men’s Sprint Final 5:43pm Wrestling Men’s 60kg Greco-Roman Gold Medal Final 6:25pm; Men’s 84kg Greco-Roman Gold Medal Final6:25pm; Men’s 120kg Greco-Roman Gold Medal Final 6:25pm Weightlifting Men’s 105kg, Group A 7pm Athletics Women’s Pole Vault Final 7pm; Women’s Shot Put Final 7:15pm; Men’s 400m Hurdles Final 8:45pm; Women’s 3,000m Steeplechase Final 9:05pm; Men’s 400m Final 9:30pm