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Olympic Viewing Guide: Will Gymnast Nastia Liukin Make a Comeback?

June 29: First day of women's gymnastics, swimming and track & field finals.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    U.S. gymnast Nastia Liukin performs on the balance beam in Beijing in 2008.

    The major U.S. Olympic trials are under way through July 2 in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Live coverage of many events can be found on the NBC Sports Network, and selected videos will appear on NBCOlympics.com. Here's what you should watch Friday, June 29:

    The event: Women's gymnastics trials

    When: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, June 29, NBC.

    Where: HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

    Ones to watch:  Will Nastia Liukin make a comeback? The Texas gymnast won five medals in Beijing in 2008, including all-around champion. She took three years off, and then surprised her fans announcing last year that she hoped to go to London 2012.

    To make the team, she's up against serious contender Jordyn Wieber, among others. Fresh off her second straight U.S. national title, the 16-year-old from DeWitt, Mich., is considered one of the best all-arounders in the world right now. "I think just coming out of nationals with first place, where I had eight strong events, boosted my confidence and helped me prepare for this competition," Wieber told Sports Illustrated last week about her approach to the trials.

    Wieber will face stiff competition from rival Gabby Douglas, whose misstep on the beam at the U.S. national champioships was the only thing that kept her from the title and propelled Wieber into the top spot. According to Wieber, though, there is no rivalry between the two gymnasts. She tells S.I. that "It's always good to have friendly competition, but at the same time, Gabby and I are the best of teammates and we really want each other to do well; we root for each other no matter what."

    There are four events in women's gymnastics - vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.

    What happens: Five women will be chosen to represent the United States. The indivdual all-around champion at the conclusion of two days of competition at the trials will automatically make the Olympic Team. The remaining four athletes will be determined by a selection committee and announced on July 1.

    Read more about the Olympic gymnastic trials and events.

     

    The event: Swimming: women's 100m free, 200m breast (semifinals); women's 200m fly (final); men's 200m back, 200m IM (semifinals) and men's 100m free, 200m breast (final).

    When: 4.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET, June 29, NBC.

    Where: CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

    One to watch: Following the Beijing Games, breastroker Brendan Hansen retired from the sport of swimming. But he couldn't stay away and two years later had a change of heart and is back in the pool with his sights set firmly on London. 30-year-old Hansen will compete in today's 200m breaststroke and a win will cap the joy he felt Tuesday night when he won the 100m event in the same stroke which earned him a spot on the team bound for London. He celebrated that win by kneeling down on the podium and giving the hook -em-horn sign as a nod to his Texas home and training base.

    An individual gold medal has eluded this two-time Olympian who took silver and bronze in Athens and was shut out of an individual medal in Beijing. He did win gold in the 400m medley relay in Athens and 4x100m medley relay in Beijing. "2008 was not a lot of fun. I'm having a lot of fun right now," Hansen told reporters following his win on Tuesday night. "I'm back."

    What happens: The fastest two swimmers in each individual event earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team bound for London.

    Read more about the Olympic swimming trials and events

     

    The event: Track & Field: women's long jump, men's 110m hurdles (qualifying); women's 200m, 400m hurdles, 1,500m, men's 400m hurdles, 1,500m (semifinals) and women's shot put, 3,000m steeplechase (finals).

    When: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET, June 29, NBC Sports Network.

    Where: TrackTown USA in Eugene, Ore.

    Ones to watch: University of Colorado teammates Shalaya Kipp and Emma Coburn cruised through the preliminary steeplechase rounds to earn positions in today's 3,000m final. Coburn, the defending U.S. champion, took an early lead with Kipp shadowing her for the majority of the race. The pair finished first and second respectively with a little less than three seconds separating them.

    "The goal is always to make it through that first round, and do it as comfortably as possible," Coburn told the Denver Post following her win, adding, "I've worked harder this spring than I ever have before. I'm glad because I think it is paying off." Of today's final, Coburn said, "You can't be too confident at this point. These are the best people in the country. My teammate is one of my biggest competitors, and I hope the two of us can make it."

    What happens: The top three athletes in the each individual event will qualify to make the Olympic team and journey to London.

    Read more about the Olympic track & field events.

    For broadcast information, visit NBC 's Olympic website and click on "TV Listings" for your local listings.