The Olympic Buffet: Wednesday, August 13

Wednesday’s Blue Plate Special: Despite the fact that it represents the world’s most popular game, you don’t quite get dream teams in Olympic football (that’s soccer for Americans), since the rules require countries to send under-23 teams. There are a couple of exemptions available for each team, however, and Brazil used one of theirs to send the wondrous Ronaldinho. You saw him on The Simpsons, and now you can see one of the world’s most stylish players with one of the Games’ most stylish teams playing host squad China between 5 and 9:30 (yes, AM) EDT on USA Network (coverage of the US/Nigeria game is in the same block).

Wednesday’s Chef’s Special: Sterling competition in women’s water polo, as defending world champions (USA) meet defending Olympic champions (Italy) in preliminary play. This is a rematch of the 2004 Olympic semi-finals, so revenge may be a dish best served wet. Imagine a sport where you have to swim several miles up and down a pool–with people hanging off you–while never touching the bottom. Then imagine having to do things like execute strategies to put a little ball in a little net–with people hanging off you–or keeping other people from putting balls in nets while swimming several miles without touching the bottom. Now imagine doing that with people hacking at you so thoroughly you have to wear a special hat to keep your ears from getting pulled off. Rock on, water polo players. If that doesn’t get you excited enough, imagine some of the world’s greatest athletes in swimwear. There you go. 2-3pm EDT on NBC.

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