Top 10 US Athletes to Follow in Rio 2016
Top 10 US Athletes to Follow in Rio 2016
Rio de Janeiro’s edition of the Olympic Games is surrounded by numerous uncertain elements in terms of organization and it’s hard to foresee the winners in several sports, yet there is a widespread consensus: United States’ delegation is the favorite to win the Games again.
United States has only missed one edition of the Olympic Games (Moscow’s, in 1980, when the country spearheaded an international boycott against the former Union of Socialist Soviet Republics) and that country holds the highest number of medals in the history of the Games (2,399 broken down into 976 gold medals, 757 of silver and 666 bronzes). In recent editions of the Games, the US athletes were on top of the list: Atlanta 1996, Sidney 2000, Athens 2004 and London 2012; while in Barcelona 1992 and Beijing 2008 they finished second.
Who are going to be the finest US athletes in Rio de Janeiro? With a delegation made up of over 500 members and presence in all sports —except for basketball— identifying a Top 10 is a complicated task, but PanamericanWorld has taken the risk to highlight a group of athletes that lead their specialty.
Michael Phelps (Swimming, 31 years old)
The athlete with the highest number of titles and medals in the history of the Olympic Games will try to enhance his legend in Rio. Nobody expects Phelps to be close to the times he achieved back in 2008 or 2012, because being in the Olympic swimming pool at the age of 31 is already praiseworthy, but his presence and the South American city creates an atmosphere of great expectation.
Phelps has participated in four editions of the Olympic Games, between Sidney and London. He has won 22 medals: 18 made of gold, two silver medals and two bronzes. He enjoyed his best moment back in Beijing, when he collected eight titles and set seven world records. Profile on Twitter and Page on Facebook
Mariel Zagunis (Fencer, 31 years old)
The best US fencer of all time was the standard-bearer of the delegation in London, 2012. In her three Olympic performances she has picked up two titles (in Athens and Beijing) and one bronze medal (teams, in Beijing); moreover, she holds five world crowns. Profile on Twitter and Page on Facebook
Kevin Durant (Basketball, 27 years old)
Each Olympic participation of the “Dream Team”, from Barcelona, 1992, to date, has been followed by the fans. The same is going to happen in Rio, even when some of the main figures (such as LeBron James and Stephen Curry) decided to rest during the summer. Therefore, everybody expects Kevin Durant, a super NBA star that plays with the Thunder of Oklahoma City, to lead a team that will go after its third Olympic title in a row.
Durant was a member of the team that stood out in London and he’ll now try to join the select club of basketball players with two Olympic crowns.
Missy Franklin (Swimming, 21 years old)
This is one of the big stars in the swimming realm. Four years, when she was only 17, she made headlines in London by winning 100 - 200 m backstroke; furthermore, she got the gold as part of the relay team in 4x100 y 4x200 m medley. In Rio she’ll do her best to get close to Natalie Coughlin’s medal record, who finished her career with 12 (three of gold, four silver medals and five bronzes). Profile on Twitter and Page on Facebook
Serena Williams (Tennis, 33 years old)
She’s one of the main legends in the tennis universe. Mrs. Williams has won 19 Grand Slam titles and she’s ranked second in this scale, right behind Steffi Graff. Serena has participated in three editions of the Olympic Games: she got the gold in doubles, Sidney 2000, with her sister Venus, she repeated that triumph in Beijing and, in London, she was also victorious with Venus and obtained the Olympic gold in the single competition. Rio 2016 is going to be her last Olympic Games and Serena is certainly going to play for another medal in her amazing curriculum.
Allyson Felix (Athletics, 31 years old)
In an age marked by numerous doping scandals, Felix has stood out in and out of the track. She has participated in three Olympic Games, collected three titles and two silver medals. The athlete made her debut in Athens, in 2004, where she finished second in 200 m dash; afterwards, in Beijing, she won the gold in the 4x400 m relay and finished second in 200 m dash. She was unstoppable in London, since she won in 200 m dash and ran with the US team in 4x100 m.
Ashton Eaton (Athletics, 28 years old)
He’s described as the best decathlete of all time. He won London’s Olympic Games and he’s a twice world champion (Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015); moreover, he holds the world record, achieved at the Chinese capital with 9,045 points. In Rio, many people are expecting a new world record from Eaton. Profile on Twitter
Jordan Burroughs (Wrestling, 28 years old)
His statistics are astonishing: he has participated in 126 fights and won 124. He is described as one of the main wrestlers over the past four years. He won the title in London and stands out as a three-time world champion. Burroughs is favorite in Rio in the 74 kg division.
Vince Hancock (Shooting, Skeet, 27 years old)
Hancock’s aim is amazing: he won the skeet Olympic title in Beijing and London and became the first marksman in the history to achieve it. In Rio he’s going to aim at his third gold medal. Profile on Twitter and Page on Facebook
Steven Lopez (Tae kwon do, 38 years old)
He is the best representative of the US Tae kwon do of all time. At the age of 38 Lopez is not as skillful and strong as he was when he won the Olympic titles in Sidney 2000 and Athens 2004; but the martial artist still looks forward to being on the podium.