Aug 2, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Michael Phelps (USA) stretches before competing in the men's 100m butterfly semifinals during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Andrew P. Scott-USA TODAY Sports
Before Michael Phelps moves on to Dancing With The Stars, becoming a TV analyst or whatever he does next, there's still time to watch him compete. This is the sweet spot for NBC ratings as the traditional Olympic viewer fatigue hasn't set in yet and Americans are winning lots of medals in the mediagenic sports. All times Eastern.
9:30 a.m. on NBC Sports Network cable channel: The U.S. women's soccer team hasn't allowed a goal since France scored 14 minutes into its opener. But things might get dicier as it moves into the quarters to face New Zealand. On paper, if population difference between the two nations suggests a big difference in the pool of potential players, the U.S. team has the edge as it goes for its third consecutive Olympic gold.
11:15 a.m. on NBC Sports Network: Archery is drawing the biggest cable TV audience of any London Olympic sport. And this coverage of the men's individual final will probably push those TV numbers up.
2:30 p.m. on NBC: If you're into nationalism at all, any matchup between China and the USA has dramatic overtones. In women's water polo, the U.S. team will try to hand China its third consecutive loss.
3:45 p.m. on NBC: If you're going to watch any rowing, watch this: Four golds will be at stake in the men's pair, men's single and the men's quadruple sculls as well as in the women's double sculls.
NBC prime time at 8:00 p.m.: Enjoy swimming while you can in coverage that will include 100-meter butterfly. And the torch will be passed in the first prime-time coverage of a sport that is a traditional second-week TV star, track and field. Plus, there's the men's trampoline final. Watch it if you like the sport, because you're not going to see much trampoline on TV for the next four years.
Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY