The 2016 Rio Olympics kick off Friday, with more than 550 athletes representing Team USA alone. There are some household names, like Gabby Douglas, and some fresh faces.
Here are the top six American athletes you need to know, and who have a good chance to bring the gold back home.
1.Michael Phelps, Swimming
The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps is entering his record-breaking fifth Olympic Games. He has so far gathered 22 medals in his career, and at 31 this will most likely be his final games. He should be motivated to retire on a high note and bring home as much gold as he possibly can.
2. Simone Biles, Gymnastics
Entering her first Olympic Games, Biles is no stranger to tough competition. She has already won 14 gymnastics world championship medals, 10 being gold.
Biles has earned the reputation as the best gymnast in the world from fellow Olympians. Nastia Luikin, the 2008 Olympic all-around gold medalist, said Biles is, “in a caliber with nobody else in the world.” A lot is expected out of the three-time world’s winner.
3. Ashton Eaton, Track and Field
This will be track and field star Ashton Eaton’s second Olympics. The 28-year-old from Portland, Oregon didn’t make it past the 2008 trials, but wowed when he finally made it to London in 2012.
As the youngest member of the U.S. decathlon team, fans around the world were shocked when he came home with the gold. Can he do it again?
4. Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling
In an attempt to cement himself as one of the best American wrestlers of all time, the pressure is on Burroughs to win the gold. Coming out on top in Rio, in addition to his gold medal from the 2012 games, will put Burroughs in the ranks of wrestling legends, Bruce Baumgardner and John Smith, as the only U.S. wrestlers to win two freestyle golds. Such pressure might get to other athletes, but Burroughs is ready, saying, “I have a lot of confidence because of my success. Then I was hoping to win. Now I expect to win.”
5. Katie Ledecky, swimming
19-year-old, 9-time world champion swimmer Katie Ledecky is a favorite to win in Rio. She has already set 11 world records and won gold in the 2012 Olympics 800m freestyle. This year she will compete in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles, and in the 4×100 relay.
6. Vashti Cunningham, high jumper
Daughter of two-time NFL MVP Randall Cunningham, Vashti has made a name for herself in her own right. Just weeks after her senior prom, the 18-year-old headed to the Olympic trials, where she completed a high jump of 1.97 meters. She finished second to Chaunte Lowe, a 32-year-old who got over the bar at 2.01 meters. But she has one thing Lowe doesn’t, a professional athlete father and coach. High jump gold medalist Dick Fosbury witnessed the trials and described Vashti, saying, “Based on my observation, her technique is fine. But what’s really amazing is her conditioning. You can tell Randall is a strong influence.”
— The Horn editorial team
I wish them good luck and success in the competition and also victory, and safety of zikra virus. Good bless you !