Olympic Swimming Action on Day 3Published August 10, 2008 by OCR Editor
Big prizes on offer for competitors and punters with swimming finals and the group stages of the team events on days two and three.
The swimming pool will continue to take center stage on day three (Monday) of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The Men's 4 x 100m freestyle final leads a strong field of mouthwatering action for spectators and punters on day three. With a team containing Michael Phelps, the United States is the country to beat in men's swimming's flagship event. The USA is an almost-unbackable 1/4 at British bookmaker Ladbrokes. Second-favorite is France, 3/1, followed by a big drop to Australia, 25/1, and Italy, 33/1.
The Women's 100m butterfly also has its own star, with Aussie Libby Trickett (formerly Libby Lenton) a hot 4/9 favorite to take the event, followed by compatriot Jessica Schipper, 4/1. American Christine Magnuson is the only other swimmer considered a chance, at 5/1.
With several swimming finals taking place each day in week one, the betting options are endless. And in addition, Ladbrokes and most other bookmakers are offering specials on the swimming, such as head-to-head betting between selected competitors.
And of course, all eyes remain on Michael Phelps as he continues on his quest to break compatriot Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals from the 1972 Munich Olympics. Phelps already has one gold at these Olympic Games, having set a new world record of 4min 3.84sec in the men's individual medley on day two. He is now even money to take all eight expected gold medals, and 8/11 to fall short of the mark.
Team sports: baseball and softball
Baseball (for men) and softball (for women) are two of the many team sports being contested at this the Olympics.
Although baseball has continued on and off at the Olympics since first appearing in 1904 in St. Louis, it had only been since 2000 that professionals have been allowed to get involved, following the lead of other sports like basketball - which dropped their own rule against professionals for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Despite the rule-change, nothing much is different in terms of which teams dominate, with arch-rivals the USA and Cuba still considered the top two teams. Cuba is the 2008 Ladbrokes favorite at 1/2, followed by the USA at 2/1. Japan is 4/1.
In softball, which varies slightly in rules from its sister sport, the United States is a 1/6 favorite, ahead of Japan 4/1, and Australia and host China, 8/1.
Get on these sports while you still can: baseball and softball have actually been voted out of the 2012 London Olympics, making them the first sports to be eliminated from the schedule, rather than added, since polo was given the flick back in 1936.
Host China has shot out of the blocks in its race with the USA to head the medal tally. Late on day two, China had four gold medals from a total of five medals, against the USA's two gold medals from a total of eight (the country with the most gold medals heads the table).
UK bookmaker Betfair lists China 3/8 favorites to top the tally, ahead of the USA 28/11. But the US is tipped to win more medals overall, with Betfair quoting them 7/12 against China's 30/17.