Striving to break world records, earn coveted gold medals and even just earn the chance to be a part of the U.S. Olympic team, the following are five athletes who we can’t wait to see at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Whether you’re excited for swimming, track, basketball or gymnastics, you are sure to be impressed by these athletes. Some are going to be competing for the first time amongst the world's greatest athletes.
At a towering 6'4", Michael Phelps appears to be physically made to be a swimmer. However, despite his 80-inch wingspan (which extends two inches past that of his height) and his size 14 feet, it’s his drive and determination that make Phelps such a sight to behold when he’s in the water.
With the way he seems to effortlessly cut through the water length after length, it’s no wonder Phelps is currently the record holder for most Olympic medals held by any male athlete.
Phelps, who turns 27 at the end of the month, has 16 Olympic medals—14 gold medals and two bronze.
He has also set numerous records, including breaking Mark Spitz’ record of seven gold medals won in a single Olympic game. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Phelps shattered this record, winning eight gold medals.
The Baltimore native is no stranger to setting records, having set his first record at the age of 15 in the pool at the University of Texas in Austin, when he swam the 200 fly in 1:34:92.
Just this past week, Phelps set another record in the same pool during the Austin Elite, when he placed first in the 100 fly with an amazing time of 52.02 seconds.
Will Phelps be able to break the ultimate record of winning a total of 18 Olympic medals—a record still held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina—when he gets to London?
Felix, 26, has yet to stand at the top for the 200-meter, and instead has had to settle for silver in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games,
If there is one thing for sure, it is that Felix has what it takes to add another Olympic medal to her collection.
At the age of just 18, Felix won her first Olympic medal during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece when she placed second in the 200-meter sprint.
In 2007, she became the first woman to ever win three gold medals in one World Championships when she placed in the 200-meter, the 4x400-meter and the 4x100-meter races.
During the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Felix won her second Olympic silver medal in the 200-meter sprint, and her first gold medal in the 4x400-meters relay.
The 2012 Olympic trials for track and field will be held from June 22-July 1 in Oregon.
Scoring an impressive 149 points—20 points ahead of second place contender and fellow Olympic teammate Jake Kaminski—at the U.S. Olympic Trials Third Nomination Shoot in Colorado Springs, Ellison proved once again that his mastery of the bow makes him a threat for Olympic gold.
Having placed 27th at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Ellison is striving to prove that the U.S. archery program is not a just a fad created by Hollywood, but a program that is deserving of the world's attention.
Since the age of seven, when Ellison picked up his first bow, he has proven himself to be one of the game's sharpest shooters. Even U.S. coach Kisik Lee has called Ellison the best archer in the world.
Having won 35 of 37 international matches, and achieved an amazing record of becoming the first archer to ever win gold medals in each of the four locations of the Archery World Cup, Ellison is definitely an athlete to watch and be wowed by this summer.
At just 16 years old, Jordyn Wieber is already a two-time women’s all-around champion.
Wieber won her first all-around title in the fall of 2011 while competing in Tokyo, and recently reclaimed her status as an all-around champion in March at the AT&T American Cup in New York.
And Wieber stands a chance of making the team, having even earned praise from five-time Olympic medalist Nastia Luikin.
In 2011, Wieber was part of the World Championship team in Tokyo, Japan, and became an all-round gold medalist and bronze medalist for the balance beam.
This May, Wieber tied for first place with Aly Raisman in the balance beam and placed eighth in the uneven bars at the Secret U.S. Classic in Chicago.
Despite his entry onto the U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team by default—Andrew Howe had to drop out due to a knee injury—Jordan Burroughs has his eyes set on gold in London.
With the 23-year-old's twitter account already a reference to his target for this summer's Olympic Games—his handle is @alliseeisgold—Burroughs is displaying confidence, and rightfully so, as he sports an impressive track record.
Shortly thereafter, Burroughs went on to win the U.S. Open and become the only member of the U.S. world championship team to win a gold medal that year in Istanbul.
London looks bright for Burroughs, and his agility and aggressiveness on the mat are something to watch.