Competition Format: 10 weight classes in Men's Boxing, 3 weight classes in Women's Boxing, each with 16-28 participants. There will be preliminary rounds followed by a 16-person bracket to determine the champion of each weight class.
What to Watch For: Of all the sports in the Olympics, Boxing probably has the widest representation from different nations. In total, 79 different nations have qualified a boxer for the Olympic games. The United States, because we're awesome at beating the snot out of people just for fun, has qualified the most boxers with 12 Americans competing in London. That said, only one American (Flyweight Rau'shee Warren) won a medal at the 2011 World Amateur Championships. The 2011 Worlds were dominated by Ukraine, who medalled in half of the events, taking home 4 Golds and 1 Silver. Cuba, Azerbaijan and Russia also performed well, so I guess there's something about communism and Boxing that goes together.
Competition Format: There are 10 events. Both men and women compete in Epee, Foil, Team Foil, and Sabre. Women compete in Team Epee and Men compete in Team Sabre. Each tournament is a single-elimination bracket with the top seeds receiving byes. Scores are determined by hits. In Epee, both fencers can score while in Foil and Sabre only one hit can be scored at a time.
What to Watch For: People dress up like beekeepers and swordfight. The different competitions are based on the weight and design of the sword. Italy has some of the top fencers in the world and should perform well in London. Valentina Vezzali of Italy has won gold in the individual foil in the last three Olympics and would be the fourth Olympian ever to win a gold medal in an individual competition in 4 consecutive Olympics. The US has the most fencers in the field, but on the whole are not as strong as Italy, Germany, and Russia. Fencing must have been popular during World War I.
Competition Format: There are 7 weight classes for Men's and Women's.
What to Watch For: The United States only has 5 competitors in the competition while Brazil, France, Great Britain, Japan, and South Korea have athletes in each competition. Uzbejistan has some high;y ranked competitors on the men's side and could be a sleeper nation to rack up some medals here. On the Women's side, the Japanese are clearly the ones to beat as they have one of the top 3 in each weight class.
Competition Format: 4 weight classes in Men's and Women's. Each class has a 16-person bracketed tournament.
What to Watch For: Did you take karate lessons when you were a kid? Chances are they were Taekwondo. That said, it's likely you'll still have no clue what's going on when these guys throw down. There is an interesting bit of strategy as each nation is only permitted 4 participants in the competition, it will be impossible for one nation to thoroughly dominate. As expected, South Korea has the best chance to dominate as all four of their entrants placed in the top 3during the World Qualification Tournament. Interestingly enough, the World Rankings are determined by the World Taekwondo Federation who actually embraces the WTF acronym,
Competition Format: Steel Cage, Ladder Match, Money in the Bank, Royal Rumble
Oh, it's not that kind of wrestling?
There are various weight classes in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
What to Watch For: The US has some very good wrestlers and should be able to rack up some medals here. Jordan Burroughs won Gold at the World Championships in the 74 kg divison. If you make a point to watch one wrestling competition, check out the Men's 84 kg class as Pittsburgh native Jake Herbert will be representing our country in the competition. Jake attended North Allegheny High School and did a pretty funny spot on the DVE Morning Show a while back, joking about how his family was packing all black and gold clothes to wear in London and would be waving Terrible Towels during the competition. Go Jake. Go America.