London 2012 Olympics: Beijing Gold-Medal Winners That Will Repeat
Winning a gold medal is one of the great achievements in all of sports, and several athletes that won in Beijing will hope to win again in London.
For these athletes, keeping their bodies in peak condition for four years is a monumentally difficult task, and few are up to the challenge.
But some competitors are just cut out for greatness, and these are the people that win gold medals in multiple Olympic Games.
Here are five athletes that won gold in 2008 and will do so again this summer.
Michael Phelps, USA, Men’s Swimming
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. Michael Phelps has won 14 gold medals, more than any other athlete, and he is two shy of Larisa Latynina’s record of 18 total medals.
With another good showing in London, he will become the greatest Olympian in the history of the Games. Many people consider him to be just that already.
He won a record eight gold medals in Beijing, and he will only be 27 years old when the London Games start. He may not be able to equal his accomplishments from four years ago, but there is absolutely no doubt that he will win multiple gold medals this summer.
Usain Bolt, Jamaica, Men’s Track and Field
Usain Bolt is another sure bet to win gold in London. In 2008, he became the first athlete to set world records in both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash in the same Olympics.
His record-setting win in the 100 was especially astonishing because he slowed down to celebrate before he crossed the finish line.
Even with a little showmanship, Bolt is still far better than his competition. He is just 25 years old and still has plenty left in the tank. No one will stop him in the sprinting events.
As a teenager, Stephanie Rice took home three gold medals in Beijing. Now as a 23-year-old, she will head to London as one of the athletes occupying the spotlight.
Rice won gold in the 200-meter individual medley, 400-meter individual medley and helped the Australian team win the 4x200 freestyle relay. World records were set in all three events.
As BBC.com notes, she has struggled with a shoulder injury leading up to the games but has still qualified. Once she gets to London, the Aussie will continue the same dominance she displayed four years ago.
Zou Kai, China, Men’s Gymnastics
Zou Kai walked away from the Games in his native China with three gold medals. He occupied the tallest podium after the floor exercise, the high bar and the team competitions.
Zou is only 24 years old and is coming off gold medals in the team and high bar competitions at the 2011 Tokyo World Championships, as well as a silver medal in the floor.
He has not dropped off from his form in Beijing, especially in the high bar, and by the time the London Games are over, he will have at least one more gold to hang around his neck.
Will Nastia Liukin be able to defend her gold medal in the all-around competition after taking time off?
The winner of the women’s all-around competition in 2008 most certainly has not taken a traditional route to return to the Olympics in top form.
She took time off and did not initially plan to defend her gold medal but is now training seven days a week, according to Justin Hinton and Brian Curtis of NBC News in Dallas Fort-Worth.
Liukin will face stiff competition if she is to win a second gold in the all-around competition, but she is supremely talented and working as hard as she ever has. This will allow her to be victorious once again.
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