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London Olympics, what to watch today: Missy Franklin and men's gymnastics

London 2012: The Americans face stiff competition today. Missy Franklin will have to out-swim Australia's Emily Seebohm, and the US men will attempt to maintain their lead over powerhouse teams Japan and China in gymnastics.

By Contributor / July 30, 2012

US gymnasts Danell Leyva, left, John Orozco, forth left, Samuel Mikulak, right, Jonathan Horton, second right, and Jacob Dalton, center, pose for a team photograph along with coach Tom Meadows during the Artistic Gymnastics men's qualification at the 2012 Summer Olympics July 28, in London.

Matt Dunham/AP

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The competition at the London Olympics is heating up, especially in the pool. 

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This afternoon Missy "The Missile" Franklin will swim the 100-meter backstroke, her most anticipated race. To win the gold, Franklin will have to fly past Australian Emily Seebohm, who had the best qualifying time for the finals. Seebohm, who has already won a gold medal with the Aussies in the four by 100-meter freestyle relay, swam a 58.39 in the qualifying round; Franklin had the second-best time at 59.12.

Franklin, the 17 year-old high school student from Centennial, Colo., will also have to out-swim Japan's Aya Terakawa, who gave her a run for her money in the semi-finals, the two vying for first place until the very end. The race begins at 2:51 p.m. (EDT) and will be streamed live at nbcolympics.com.

The men's gymnastics final will also be a nail-biter. The US men went into the Olympics strong, but it was widely thought that the fight for gold would be between Japan and China. But in the qualifying rounds Japan and China both delivered disastrous performances, full of falls, flaws, and errors. The British, who had a stunning pommel horse performance in qualifying rounds, could also pose a threat to the US.

Cuban-American Danell Leyva and John Orozco, from the Bronx, both nailed their pommel horse and parallel bars routines in qualifying rounds, and will need to repeat those performances. Beijing veteran Jonathan Horton was strong on high bar. 

The US goes into the finals in first place, but scoring will start from scratch, and holding that lead could be a challenge. If the US were to win, it would be the men's first team gymnastics gold in the history of the Olympic Games.

The men's gymnastics finals begin at 11:26 a.m. (EDT). NBC will be rebroadcasting Olympic events tonight at 8 p.m.

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