With the Olympics only weeks away, it’s time to start getting in the know. Here are some of the athletes with a good chance of medaling at this summer’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Impress your friends at summer viewing parties by remembering these names and some key facts.
And stay tuned for more great Make It Better Olympics coverage on local Olympians to watch.
Michael Phelps (Swimming)
Of course you know Phelps, but you may not know it’s his fifth (and probably final) Olympics. He is the first male swimmer to set this record. Here’s hoping Phelps’ fifth summer games is his best yet.
Katie Ledecky (Swimming)
At only 19, Ledecky has already set 11 world records. She won gold in the 800m freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics and is sure to see more success in Rio.
Simone Biles (Gymnastics)
Though she will be competing in her first Olympics, this newcomer has been a presence in the gymnastics world for some time. She won the U.S. all-around gymnastics championship four years in a row. Don’t miss catching this 4-foot-8-inch powerhouse on the big stage.
David Boudia (Diving)
After taking home a gold and bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, you can bet Boudia will be going for that top podium again. Cheer on Boudia, the best 10-meter platform diver in the United States, as he takes on fierce international competition.
Tori Bowie (Track and Field)
This Jackson, Mississippi, native will compete in her first Olympics this summer. A favorite to win the 100-meter race after placing third in the Olympic trials, we’d love to see Tori take home her first gold.
Sarah Hammer (Cycling)
This two-time Olympic silver medalist will be going for the gold at the Rio Olympics. Hammer retired from cycling in 2003, but watching the 2004 Olympics in Athens put her right back on her bike.
Maya Moore (Basketball)
In 2014, the WNBA voted Moore Most Valuable Player. She has been a WNBA All-Star for three years, and a two-time WNBA champion. Moore will be key to what we hope will be a successful run for the U.S. women’s team.
Serena Williams (Tennis)
The world number one just took home her 22nd Grand Slam title at Wimbledon this summer, tying Steffi Graf’s record. See if she’ll keep her streak going at the games.
Si Yajie (China, Diving)
Since age 6, Si Yajie has been a force in the diving world. After winning gold at the 2015 World Championships, her next goal is gold in Rio, and it’s hard to see who could stop her.
Yusra Mardini (Refugee Olympic Athletes, Swimming)
Yursa Mardini is one of the 10 refugee Olympians chosen to compete in Rio. From swimming for her life after fleeing Syria, to swimming at the Olympic Games, this young athlete is truly inspirational.
Chris Froome (Great Britain, Cycling)
The New York Times tapped Chris Froome as the favorite to win the Tour de France, and at time of writing he’s firmly leading the race, which he won in 2013 and 2015. Next up for the Brit: Olympic gold.
Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca (Brazil, Beach Volleyball)
This dynamic duo tops the provisional beach volleyball rankings. In 2015, they won gold, beating out the American team at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Although they’ve only been partners for two years, these women are sure to make a spike at the Games.
Ellen Hoog (Netherlands, Field Hockey)
In 2014, the International Hockey Federation named Ellen Hoog player of the year. After winning gold at the 2012 London Olympics, you can bet she has her sights set on another gold this summer. Fun fact: The Netherlands field hockey team was voted most beautiful at the London Olympics.
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