London Olympics 2012: Americans That Will Become Household Names
Every four years, Americans ignore their differences and all root for the same team. Fans begin to idolize athletes who were anonymous just weeks before. This time around will be no different.
Past stars of the Summer Olympics include gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson as well as swimmer Michael Phelps. The gymnasts have moved on, while Phelps is looking to break his own record of 14 career gold medals.
This year, there will be a number of new athletes who will capture the hearts of millions as they rack up medals for their country.
Ryan Lochte, Swimming
If Michael Phelps was never in the picture, Lochte would already be known as one of the best U.S. Olympians competing today.
Lochte has won three career gold medals, and he looks to increase that number by participating in a large number of events in London.
He already has proven that he can beat his rival with a victory at the Olympic Trials. He told ESPN, "Once I was able to beat Michael, it gave me a motivation, an edge. I told myself, I can do this. Once I beat someone, they won't beat me again."
The battle between the two elite swimmers will be one of the best stories to follow throughout the games.
Jordyn Wieber, Gymnastics
Women's gymnastics has always been one of the most popular sports at the Olympics, and Americans always want to know which young competitor has the best chance at winning a gold medal. In 2012, that athlete is Jordyn Wieber.
The Michigan native won the all-around gold medal at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo and helped the U.S. team win the gold as well.
This Olympics, she will look to be the third straight American to take first place in the all-around competition after Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin.
Ashton Eaton, Decathlon
There are a number of great athletes competing in various track and field events, but Ashton Eaton will be doing it all at the Olympics.
The decathlete finished in first place in the World Indoor Championships this year in the heptathlon after finishing second in the decathlon in 2011.
At the trials, he not only defeated 2008 Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay to qualify for the games, but he also set a new world record in the process. This should make him a favorite to win the gold medal in London and earn the title of "World's Greatest Athlete."
Carmelita Jeter, Track
As the defending champion of the 100-meter dash at the 2011 World Championships, Carmelita Jeter currently holds the title of "World's Fastest Woman."
Now, she has to continue that success in the Olympics. The 32-year-old failed to qualify in the games in 2008, and this might be her last chance to take home Olympic gold.
With a great run, she can become the female version of Usain Bolt.
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