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Chris Chase

Phelps Watch: 200-meter butterfly & 4x200-meter freestyle relay

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Tonight, Michael Phelps goes for his fourth and fifth gold medals of the Beijing Games. It will be the only morning of the competition that Phelps will be swimming in two finals.

Event: 200-meter butterfly

When: 10:21 p.m. ET

At stake: A win by Phelps would give him ten gold medals, making him the most decorated Olympian of all-time

Possible spoilers: None

Analysis: Short of a competitor pulling a Tonya Harding, there's no way Michael Phelps loses this race. Some sports books have him listed at -5000, which means that if you bet on Phelps to win, you'd have to wager $5,000 just to win $100. In other words, this will be a cakewalk. The only drama will be in whether Phelps can lower his own world record in the event. Without much competition, it doesn't seem like a good bet. Then again, it's never wise to doubt Michael Phelps.

Prediction: Gold: Phelps (USA); Silver: Peng (CHI); Bronze: Cseh (HUN)


Event: 4x200-meter freestyle relay

When: 11:19 p.m. ET

At stake: A fifth gold medal for these Olympics, 11 overall

Possible spoilers: False starts

Analysis: For casual Olympic viewers, the sensational 4x100 freestyle relay probably set unrealistic expectations that every relay is just as exciting. Unfortunately, that's not the case, as the final two men's team races will demonstrate. The United States, led by Phelps and 200 freestyle bronze medalist Peter Vanderkaay, have little competition in this race and should cruise to victory. As long as the American team is careful on their starts, there's no reason to think Phelps won't be standing atop the podium twice this morning. Watch for the Americans to try and break the seven-minute barrier. If Phelps and Vanderkaay go fast enough, they might be able to do it.

Prediction: Gold: United States (WR); Silver: Italy; Bronze: Australia


Other swimming analysis: Tonight, Katie Hoff swims in her third and fourth individual finals of these Games. Although she has two medals (a silver in the 400 freestyle and a bronze in the 400 IM), Hoff's Olympics have to be considered a disappointment thus far. She can put that behind her with a gold medal swim tonight in either the 200 freestyle or 200 IM. The 19-year old American won't be the favorite in either though, as she'll be facing the current world record holder in both events.

Natalie Coughlin, fresh off a gold medal winning performance yesterday in the 100 back, will join Hoff in the IM. The Americans will be battling Australian superstar Stephanie Rice and Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry for the medals.

Predictions: Women's 200-meter freestyle: Frederica Pellegrini (ITA); Women's 200-meter individual medley: Stephanie Rice (AUS)

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