Phelps, 31, who is contesting his third Olympics, is again joined by his Seoul mates, and a repeat medal is not out of the question even if his 20th place in last year's world championships does not augur well for his chances in the individual event. It was his fencing that let Phelps down on that occasion, so how he does in that discipline when the event gets under way today will have a big effect on his own and his team's chances. The shooting and swimming take place tomorrow, the cross-country on Tuesday, and the riding on Wednesday.
In the swimming pool, the Adrian Moorhouse-Nick Gillingham confrontation overshadows everything in terms of British interest, but there are also finals in the men's 200m freestyle and the women's 100m freestyle and 400m medley.
Nowhere will US medal optimism be greater than in the basketball, which begins today, but it will require the most jaundiced of eyes, however, to see much sport in the ritual slaughter of the others by the 'Dream Team' made up of super-rich National Basketball Association professionals. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson will be there, but the real Olympic magic will be elsewhere.
Great Britain's hockey players begin the defence of their title with a match against Egypt at 4.30pm (see Tuesday, 28 July).Reuse content