London 2012 Projections: Breakout Stars Sure to Shine

Chris Hummer@chris_hummerAnalyst IJuly 25, 2012

EUGENE, OR - JUNE 23:  Ashton Eaton competes in the men's decathlon 110 meter hurdles during Day Two of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 23, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The London Olympic Games are set to kick off in mere days, and athletes all over the world are gathering in England for the festivities.

This group includes world renowned names like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and LeBron James, athletes who are sure to garner much attention over the coming weeks. 

However, one of the things that make the Olympics great is that it introduces the world to a tremendous group of gifted athletes, whose stories are just waiting to be told.

These games have a number of potential breakout stars spread out across many disciplines.

So, let’s take a look at a few lesser known Olympians sure to shine in London.


Yohan Blake, Track and Field

Bolt gets all the attention and the love from the media, but it's been his training partner, Yohan Blake who's been taking all the wins of late.

Like Bolt, Blake is a Jamaican sprinter who runs the 100 and 200m dash. And like Bolt, he is very fast.

Blake is the reigning 100m world champion—Bolt still holds the world record—and he also defeated Bolt head-to-head at Jamaica's Olympic trials in the event, running a 9.75 (.11 seconds faster than Bolt.)

This sets up what should be an epic showdown between the two in the 100m final in London. The title of the world's fastest man will be on the line, and it should be a joy to watch.

The pair will also go up against one another in the 200m dash, an event Bolt holds the world record in, but Blake is right behind him with the second fastest time.

These two events will be done in a flash, but oh what a glorious couple seconds it will be.

And when it's all said and done, the man nicknamed "the beast" will be known to the world.


Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics

Each of the last two Olympics a American gymnast has come out of nowhere and captured the gold, and the countries heart.

In 2004, it was Carly Patterson. In 2008, it was Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson. In 2012, it will be Gabby Douglas.

She is one of the most talented all-around gymnasts in the world, and performs her stations with a rare combination of grace and flair. Not only that, she has the huge smile and an outgoing personality that people just can't get enough of.

If that wasn't enough on its own, she also has a personal story that melts hearts, stemming from her families’ tough personal decision to send her halfway across the country so she could pursue her dream.

Douglas has a great shot to become America’s third straight all-around champion. Her biggest competition is her fellow teammate, the ever steady, reigning world champion, Jordyn Wieber.

Even if she only walks away with a silver, the name Gabby Douglas will be on everyone's lips by the times the games come to a close.


Ashton Eaton, track and field

The decathlon used to be one of the Olympics' premier events, but of late the title of the world's greatest athlete has rung hallow.

Ashton Eaton has a chance to change that.

The 24-year-old former Oregon Duck burst onto the scene at the US Olympic Trials, shattering the 11-year-old world record in the event.

He's one of the most talented decathletes to grace the track in years, and with his abilities he has a chance to transcend his sport once again.

If Eaton can manage to repeat or improve on his performance at the Trials, he could end up doing a lot more then appear on a few Wheaties Boxes.