There are a few stars of Team USA whose success at the 2012 London Games is just the tip of the iceberg. These young and promising athletes figure to be hitting their peaks in four years—just in time to captivate a nation again in four years.
So with their present glory fresh in mind, let's take a look at three stars headed for 2016 glory in Rio.
Missy Franklin, Swimming
Missy "The Missile" Franklin is fresh off an Olympics that saw her win four golds and one bronze, and she is going to beat that in Rio.
Two of her medals came in individual swims. Both of those were backstroke events. The other three came in relays.
Franklin is going to be 21 in four years, and is likely just entering her physical prime. She will again be a force on the relays and in the backstroke, plus it wouldn't be at all surprising to see her emerge as the woman to beat in the medleys and become a contender in the freestyle.
Franklin's future is amazingly bright. She has only scratched the surface.
Ashton Eaton, Decathlon
Ashton Eaton dominated the decathlon and took gold from London. He will be even more dominant in Rio.
Eaton won the event with a score of 8869. A great number, no doubt, but it is not as good as the 9039 he ran at the US Trials to set a new world record, and it won't be as good as what he will put up four years from now.
As frightening as it must be for his competition, Eaton is only getting better. All but two of his personal bests in the individual events came from 2012, and the other two came in 2011.
Eaton will be 24 by the time Rio rolls around. He will be well-versed in every event and still in his athletic prime. A 9,100 point performance is not out of the question.
Alex Morgan, Soccer
In the past year, Alex Morgan has transformed into a talented newcomer battling for playing time to a key piece of this gold-medal winning squad.
By the time Rio rolls around, this 23-year-old will be the unquestioned star of this team. Morgan is a dynamic goal scorer, and she is still refining those skills.
With Team USA's other main goal-scoring threat Abby Wambach now at 32, it is time for her to pass on the torch as the dominant offensive force on the team, and that torch is going right to Morgan.