London 2012 Olympics: Which Unknown Athletes Will Become Household Names?
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The Olympics start on Friday, July 27th in London, and just like what happens every four years, some unknown athlete will break out and become a household name. There are quite a few athletes representing countries all over the world that fit into this category.
But the main question here is, who will become the next Ryan Lochte or Jason Lezak? Who will be the biggest name to rise out of the giant group of athletes to become a household name? There are five candidates that should rise up and turn into a household name by the closing ceremonies.
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Event: Women's Artistic Gymnastics
The 17-year-old World Champion gymnast gets to compete again in London for the title of "Best in the World." Much like America's own Jordan Wieber, Mustafina is a jack-of-all-trades whose best event is the All-Around.
Don't let that fool you, though. The Russian gymnast has every ability to win a gold in any event as she showed with her three silvers in the 2010 Worlds. She earned those in the Vault, the Uneven Bars and the Floor Exercise and has the ability to medal in all five individual events in 2012.
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Country: United States
Sam Mikulak had an injury during the US Olympic trials. Because of his dominant abilities as a gymnast, he was given a spot on the team despite missing five of the six events at the trials. That's what happens when someone is an NCAA National Champion.
He won the 2011 Men's All-Around at the NCAAs and finished third in the 2012 event. However, he has an all-American appeal to him that will draw fans from all over the country to watch his performances as he is a top competitor for a gold medal.
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Event: Long Jump
She is a tremendous athlete and a top Russian high jumper. She has won golds in multiple contests around Europe for both junior levels and indoor competitions. But the big thing that Klishina will be noticed for is her tremendous good looks.
Male fans all around the world will tune in just to see her beauty and that alone will give her a name. Much like Anna Kournikova before her, she will have to prove she is much more than just a pretty Russian face.
McPherson (left) is ready for her first Olympic competition.
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Country: United States
Taekwondo isn't a highly recognized sport in America. However, Paige McPherson could change that. She has a personality in her interviews that glows. With a gold medal victory, she could be the first person without the last name Lopez to earn one for the Americans in a long time.
She also has an attitude while fighting that could translate into a transition after the Olympics similar to what Ronda Rousey did. She has the quick strikes and the long frame that would make her competitive as an MMA phenom should she choose that route after the games.
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Event: 100-meter and 200-meter dashes
The current world champion in the 100-meter dash is not Tyson Gay. It's also not Usain Bolt. It's Bolt's Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake. He won at the 2011 World Championships in the 100-meter with a time of 9.92 and it wouldn't shock anyone to see him win at the Olympics.
As dominant as Bolt was in his victory at Beijing's Olympics, it would shock the world to see Yohan Blake turn in a repeat of his gold medal performance from the world championships at the Olympics. However, he should be right behind Bolt and will make a name for himself that way.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek and also runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and the host of Kvetching Draftniks Radio.