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Swimming Concludes on Busiest Olympic Day in China

Sunday features the busiest single day of the Beijing Games, when 35 athletes or teams will experience the thrill and pride of wearing an Olympic gold medal. VOA's Jim Stevenson has this preview of the competition that will be highlighted by gymnastics, athletics and the final day of swimming.

Speed and distance will close the swimming competition at the summer games in China. The women dash for glory in the 50-meter freestyle. At age 41, American Dara Torres will be in the race after clocking 24.27 seconds on Saturday for the fastest time in the semifinals.

The women will also team up in the 4x100 meter relay, as will the men. The U.S. team includes Michael Phelps, who will swim for a record eighth gold medal in a single Olympics.

"Tomorrow is definitely not going to be an easy race," said Phelps. "Australia is going to put up a very good relay. So we are going to do like what we did the last two relays. It is all about being a team."

The men will also take on the grueling 1,500 meter event. The Water Cube venue will remain in use as the diving competition continues with the women's 3-meter springboard final.

Also indoors will be four finals in gymnastics, including the men's floor exercise, pommel horse, women's floor exercise and vault.

The National Stadium will be where the women's 100-meter final will highlight events on the track. The women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, triple jump and marathon will also hand out medals. The men will contest the long 10,000-meter race and hammer throw finals.

Weightlifting, with the men's 94-kilogram category, and wrestling, with finals in the women's 63-kilogram and 72-kilogram divisions, will send more winners to the top of the podium. American Kristie Marano will go for a medal in the women's 72-kilo division, and says the field has become more even this year.

"There used to be a significant difference, with Japan or China [leading]," said Marano. "But it is a tight race. We took second [place] at the World Cup this year, falling to China. Just short falling to China. So yep. China and Japan, Russia. They are all out there."

Rowing will have another big day with seven finals (men's lightweight double sculls, lightweight fours, quadruple sculls, men's eights, women's lightweight doubles sculls, quadruple sculls and women's eight) at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Park.

Badminton gold will go to the winners of men's singles and mixed doubles. Men's team sabre finals in fencing, the skiff dinghy-49er final in sailing and men's 50-meter rifle from three positions in shooting will add to the medal count.

Women's basketball continues with the United States facing New Zealand. The American women easily defeated Spain, 93-55, in their last Pool-B game on Friday. Lisa Leslie is one of the U.S. Women's National Basketball Association stars on the team, and says the Olympics provide a unique playing experience.

"It is an honor to play for my country," said Leslie. "When we put on the red, white and blue, it is all about that passion and the desire to win. And for us, it is about one team and one goal. And that is to win the gold medal. And we have not lost at the Olympics. And we are going to defend our gold."

The best women's team will earn gold in table tennis Sunday while on the full-size outdoor tennis courts, the men's singles and women's double champions will be crowned.