2012 Summer Olympics: 5 Athletes Who Will Become Household Names
Every four years, people from all aspects of life are brought together over a sporting event: The Summer Olympics.
Pride in one's country is a large part of what brings these people together to cheer on their fellow countrymen and women in an attempt to establish athletic superiority over the rest of the world.
A common theme with each progressive Olympic Games is the young athletes that seem to emerge and become household names. For just over two weeks, they are the talk of the country.
Pictured above is one of the biggest stars of all from the 2008 Olympic Games. Michael Phelps won a record eight gold medals in Beijing.
This article will take a look at five athletes that I believe are poised for stardom in London beginning July 27.
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Sport: Swimming (100- and 200-meter backstroke, freestyle relays)
Prior to the summer of 2011, Missy Franklin was just another American teenager. Not many outside the world of swimming had heard of the now 17-year old, from Colorado.
That was all before the 2011 World Aquatics Championships where Franklin burst onto the scene in a big way by winning five medals. According to Kelli Anderson of Sports Illustrated, Michael Phelps gave Franklin lots of praise as well following the teen's impressive performance.
"She's a stud," Phelps told the magazine. "She's super good. Oh my gosh. One hundreds, two hundreds, fifties, leading off relays, the world's fastest 200 free—she does it all."
This time around, Franklin won't quite fly under the radar as all eyes will be watching to see if she can become the next in a long line of American swimmers turned Olympic champions.
The Regis Jesuit High School student is an ideal candidate to be one of the true stars in the upcoming Olympics—someone who can capture the collective hearts of America for two weeks this summer.
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On a sad day in the world of women's gymnastics, following the retirement of Shawn Johnson, we take a look at someone who could be the next gifted gymnast to make a name for herself at the Olympic Games.
Similar to Johnson's rise to stardom in 2008, Jordyn Wieber is another talented American teenager who has a chance to take home Olympic Gold.
Wieber, a native of DeWitt, Michigan won the individual all-around title at the 2011 World Championships and immediately placed herself on the short list of Olympic favorites for the London Games.
Wieber could become the first American female gymnast to win both the all-around individual and team events.
Look at what happened to Johnson, however, and this may be Wieber's only chance to stand on the podium with the "Star Spangled Banner" playing over the stadium speakers.
Due to the nature of the sport, gymnasts often do not compete in more than a single Olympic Games.
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Sport: Freestyle Wrestling
Freestyle wrestling is not typically one of the sports that gets a whole lot of media coverage at the Olympics. The matches are not often shown in prime time, and sometimes on channels that a handful of Americans may not be able to find on their television sets.
However, that all may change, with one of the biggest potential breakout stars for Team USA competing in freestyle wrestling.
Jordan Burroughs, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Nebraska, will make the trek across the Atlantic to make his Olympic debut.
Despite being an Olympic rookie, the New Jersey native is seemingly unfazed by all the Olympic hoopla.
After all, his Twitter handle is @alliseeisgold. That alone should be enough to give you an idea just how confident Burroughs is, as we approach the London Games.
According to David Wharton of the LA Times, the wrestler does not mind some people calling him cocky.
"Obviously, it rubs some people the wrong way," Burroughs said. "A lot of people mistake my confidence for cockiness."
Burroughs will compete at the 74 KG weight level in freestyle wrestling this summer.
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Sport: Track and Field (Long Jump)
Far from the friendly confines of Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, this Longhorn wide receiver will try to accomplish something much harder than catching a pass or running a slant route.
Beginning June 21, Marquise Goodwin will compete at the United States Olympic Trials hoping to earn a spot on the track and field squad for the London Games.
The only Big 12 athlete in history to win the indoor and outdoor long jump titles in consecutive years has his visions set on living a dream in London this summer.
Goodwin should make for one of the cooler stories of the London games. Two-sport stars are getting less and less common by the day. That statement especially holds true when talking about someone from one of the premier college football programs in the nation.
The University of Texas sophomore will attempt to leap his way into Olympic lore forever.
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Country: South Africa
Sport: Track and Field (400 Meters)
One of the most heartfelt stories at the 2012 London Games will be that of Oscar Pistorius.
Pistorius, the South African double-amputee who was born without a fibula in both legs will try to become the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics.
In order to qualify, the "Blade Runner", as he is known in some circles, must run the 400 in 45.30 or better either this weekend at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York or at the African Championships later this month.
If he manages to top that time, Pistorius will become one of the biggest sources of both inspiration and controversy. There are those who will argue that his blades provide unfair advantages, while there are also those people who see him as an inspiring figure, someone to look up to.
No matter what happens, Pistorius is sure to become a household name in the next couple weeks.