Olympic Medal Count 2012: 3 Athletes Bound to Repeat in 2016
This summer's 2012 Olympic Games in London are coming to a close. That gives us an opportunity to reflect on the amazing performances we witnessed while also allowing us to look ahead to who's got the best chance of repeating in 2016.
Four years from now, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will be the center of the sports universe for two weeks. The world will tune in to see how their nation fares in the greatest international sporting competition.
Let's take a look at three athletes who were on top this summer and are destined to repeat that greatness in 2016.
1. Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt's display of sprinting dominance this summer left many of us in awe. Being the "fastest man in the world" is now something he can lay claim to for another four years.
Although Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson may be the U.S.'s most recognizable sprinters of the modern era, Bolt's repeat gold-medal performances have been matched by none. He is the first man to win six gold medals in sprinting and also the first to defend his gold in the 100- and 200-meter.
Now it's no guarantee that Bolt will race again in 2016. He'll be 29. What does he have left to prove? Nothing really. However, it's worth pointing out the international stardom he'll regain from his London performance will only last so long.
Track and field is a sport that most casual fans only pay attention to once every four years. So will the chance to arguably become the greatest Olympian of all time be enough to sway him to race again in Rio? After the dominance he's shown in the 2008 and now the 2012 Games and with no "real" rival ready to dethrone him, why wouldn't it be?
I wouldn't be betting against a "three-peat" for Usain in 2016.
2. LeBron James
I was conflicted with my decision of LeBron. I easily could have picked the leader from the U.S. women's basketball or soccer teams. The women's basketball team hasn't lost an Olympic game since 1992! Now that's dominance.
However, LeBron's the only one trying to regain his level of "positive" popularity. "The Decision" has been scrutinized for two years now. He silenced his critics in June by finally breaking through to win his first NBA championship.
He continued his good fortunes with his second consecutive gold medal. The U.S. was tested in the final again by Spain, the team that gave them a run for their money back in 2008 as well.
LeBron, slowly but surely, is starting to leave his villain mantra behind. Whether you're a Knicks fan, Lakers fan or Spurs fan, if you're an American you were rooting for LeBron because he was on our team. He certainly seems to embrace representing his country, and I for one give him a lot of respect for taking that responsibility so seriously.
Leading the team in assists and finishing third in scoring, LeBron may have a few more NBA titles under his belt by the time 2016 rolls around. There's no reason to doubt he'll be ready to try to three-peat for gold in Rio. USA basketball is back with a vengeance, and the 2016 Rio Games should prove that once again.
3. Gabby Douglas
What do you think most 16-year-old's got accomplished this summer? Some got their licenses, maybe even their first car. Some spent hours in their room playing Call of Duty, and others spent hours shopping at the mall. Gabby Douglas spent her summer winning two gold medals and getting her face on your morning breakfast choice.
Becoming not only the first African-American gymnast, but also the first woman of color to win the individual all-around competition wasn't enough for her. She also became the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions in the same Olympics.
Unlike my other two choices, Douglas splashed onto the Olympic scene for the first time this year. That alone shouldn't leave any doubt in our minds that she'll be back in 2016 to defend her gold. With her record-setting performance this summer, there's no reason to doubt her ability to repeat it in Rio in four years.