Ryan Lochte and the Most Hyped USA Olympians in 2012

Christopher Amick@https://twitter.com/#!/TheAmickCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2012

Ryan Lochte and the Most Hyped USA Olympians in 2012

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    The social media age is in full swing, and with information at everybody's fingertips, hype for these American athletes is at a fever pitch.

    Whether it be a record-setting performance or a rags-to-riches story, these U.S. athletes are known commodities now.

    Here are some of the most hyped American athletes in these Olympic games.                                                                                                                   

Ryan Lochte

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    Ryan Lochte has been swimming in the shadows of mega-star Michael Phelps recently, but that may all change in 2012.

    The former Florida Gator seems determined to make these London Games his coming-out party. He already beat Phelps during their first head-to-head meeting yesterday, and he has six more events to create his legacy.

    Phelps has long been the media darling, but Lochte's laid-back demeanor and winning smile is beginning to pay off.

    Gatorade, Speedo, and Gillette have already enlisted the endorsement help of Lochte, and with his win yesterday, there will certainly be more companies knocking at his door.

    The hype machine has been in full swing for Phelps, but it looks as if Ryan Lochte has the substance so far in London.

Michael Phelps

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    The buzz surrounding Michael Phelps heading into the 2012 Olympic Games might be greater than that of any athlete ever. And justifiably so.

    Phelps is already the most successful Olympian in American history, and with three medal wins, he would be the most decorated ever. 

    A fourth-place finish in the 400- meter individual medley yesterday was not how Phelps envisioned the start to his 2012 campaign, but he still has six events left to complete.

    He will go head-to-head with fellow American teammate Ryan Lochte once more in the 200 IM, and Phelps will certainly be one of the hottest stories of these Olympics.

Hope Solo

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    Hope Solo is one of the best goaltenders in the world, and she is also a lightning rod for controversy.

    Most recently, Solo went to twitter to attack soccer hero Brandi Chastain.

    Chastain, who now works as an analyst, was critiquing the U.S. defensive effort in their most recent match against France, and Solo took major exception to her comments.

    Solo tweeted:

    "Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated @brandichastain the game has changed from a decade ago"

    Solo has also admitted that she was drunk on The Today Show after the U.S. won Olympic gold in Beijing.

    Add these to the fact that Solo remains one of the game's best players, and you can see why she is one of the most hyped Olympians in London.

The Men's Basketball Team

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    There is no shortage of star power on the U.S. basketball team.

    Kevin Durant and LeBron James are just to name two, but Lakers star Kobe Bryant put the hype machine on high when he claimed that this squad could beat the famed 1992 Dream Team.

    The comment became a national talking point, and many of the Dream Team alumni offered their opinions on the matter. 

    Even without the added fuel to the fire, this NBA All-Star team that is being sent to London has one goal, and that is to bring home a gold medal.

    Expectations are always high for America and they will have to replicate their gold-medal success from Beijing if they want to keep fans happy.

Lolo Jones

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    Lolo Jones was one of the best hurdlers in the world, when she stumbled during the 2008 Games.

    Jones was heavily favored to win the 100-meter race, but she hit the ninth hurdle in what was one of the most disappointing finishes in Beijing.

    The reason for her popularity is simple. People love a good redemption story, and Jones is an embodiment of that in London. She also is famous for her rise-from-poverty tale that has captivated the nation.

    It will be interesting to see if she can exorcise her demons.