Michael Phelps and the 6 Most Exciting Athletes of the 2012 Olympics

Soven BerySenior Analyst IApril 17, 2012

Michael Phelps and the 6 Most Exciting Athletes of the 2012 Olympics

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    The Olympics are a venue for the most exciting athletes in the world to come together to put on a show that will live throughout the ages. 

    Every four years the greatest sporting event in the world takes place. 

    This year London plays host to an ancient show of skill. Almost 18,000 athletes from 207 countries will flock to England to show the world if they have what it takes to stand on the podium and earn the right to be called great. 

    The communal pageantry always makes the Olympics a must-watch event and 2012 will be no exception.

    Here are six exciting athletes to watch for this year. 

Michael Phelps, Swimming

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    This one is a no-brainer. The cover boy absolutely shocked the world at Beijing and aims to repeat his success in London.

    Phelps is arguably the greatest Olympian ever. His record haul of gold medals four years ago was nothing short of brilliant. 

    While the sequel might not be as good as the original, it will still be one to watch. Phelps is swimming out of his prime, but he should never be written off. The competition will be stiff. Ryan Lochte is going to try to step out of Phelps' shadow at these games and there will be a good pool (no pun intended) of talent. 

    But if history is any indication, the world should watch out for Michael Phelps.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, Beach Volleyball

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    These two athletes are one of the the main reasons I ever watched beach volleyball. The complete domination of their sport is simply amazing. In a world where there is a huge level of talent in almost every sport, annihilating the competition like this duo has done is not commonplace. 

    This duo is two-for-two in Olympic Golds. They added three World Championship gold medals, winning every championship since 2003. That was until last year when they lost in the championship to Brazil’s Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva. They had to go home with a silver medal. 

    But the dynamic duo will be looking for revenge in London, so keep an eye out for them.

Tyson Gay, Track and Field

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    Gay's last trip to the Olympics was filled with disappointment. He went into Beijing with quite a bit of hype and never once reached the podium. That heartache will fuel him to compete his heart out this time around in London. 

    Gay is one of the few men who will be able to knock off Usain Bolt in the 100-meter. His time of 9.69 seconds in the 100-meter makes him the second-fastest man in the world. 

    The individual rivalry between Gay and the Jamaican will be one of the best in the games. The fire is burning and the American needs revenge. That just may propel him to a gold.  

    If anyone will beat Bolt in London, it will be Gay. Keep your eyes glued on this speedster.

Kevin Durant, Basketball

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    This Thunder superstar wasn't around four years ago when the USA Men's Basketball team took home gold in Beijing, but he will definitely be playing in London.

    Durant is an incredible player to watch on the court back home in the states. His style of play and speed is always exciting. 

    But it will be interesting to see how his youth fits in with the rest of the more experienced USA squad. When Kobe and LeBron won gold in 2008, Durant won NBA Rookie of the Year. Since then, he has been an NBA scoring champion—twice. In 2010, he was named the MVP of the FIBA World Championship. 

    The Olympics will be no different. Keep your eyes on this young playmaker.

Alex Morgan, Soccer

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    Without a doubt, Alex Morgan is America's sweetheart.

    She burst onto the scene last year in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and hasn’t left our minds since then. After the World Cup she had many talk show appearances and even nabbed a place in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition.

    But the girl can play, as well. 

    On July 13, 2011, she scored her first World Cup goal in the 82nd minute of the semifinal matchup against France, giving the U.S. the victory.

    She scored the first goal in the World Cup Final against Japan after coming on as a substitute at the half, as well as assisting on the Abby Wambach header for a goal in overtime.

    At the Algarve Cup in Portugal on March 7, Morgan scored her first career hat-trick by tallying twice in the first half and once in the second in the third-place game, a 4-0 U.S. victory against Sweden.

    The U.S. women's team looks to be talented, and Morgan will be a big part of a championship run.

Jordan Burroughs, Freestyle Wrestling

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    Imagine a golfer winning every event ever for three years and counting. He would be considered some sort of demigod. Perhaps, some would call him the greatest. 

    Now switch the sport from golf to freestyle wrestling and the athlete from an unnamed golfer to Jordan Burroughs. 

    Burroughs in a word is dominant. He has won every tournament he entered since the beginning of the 2009 season. 

    He is an up-and-coming superstar who hopes to make his name known in London. It won’t be hard for the New Jersey native, as he won Gold in the 2011 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. He also nabbed first place in the 2011 Pan American games.

    That same year he won the NCAA championship he became the fourth wrestler ever to win a NCAA championship and World Championship in the same year. 

    Jordan Burroughs aims to be extremely exciting in 2012 and the world will be watching.