Our final 2012 Olympic portrait installment showcases gold medal favorites, athletes seeking Olympic redemption and young prodigies on the verge of greatness. SSC wishes our American athletes the best of luck in London as the Games of the XXX Olympiad officially get underway July 27.
LEBRON JAMES, BASKETBALL – USA
The newly crowned NBA champion looks to continue his winning ways as the catalyst for the US Men’s team. In Beijing four years ago, the NBA MVP shot a tournament-high 76% from the field, including 62% from three, in winning the gold. Now watch what King James does for an encore in ol’ London town.
TYSON GAY, TRACK & FIELD – USA
Generally regarded as the third fastest human on the planet, Gay sets out for redemption in London after failing to win a single medal in Beijing in 2008. Competing in the 100- and 200-meter dash events, this Kentucky native looks to win his first Olympic medal as Usain Bolt’s primary challenger.
BRITTNEY REESE, TRACK & FIELD – USA
This four-time World Champion in the long jump also had a disappointing Olympics in Beijing. Out to make amends in 2012, Reese intends to follow up her 2012 World Indoor title victory in Turkey with a strong showing in London. Breaking Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s American indoor record with a jump of 7.23 meters was impressive. Finally breaking through for Olympic gold would be unprecedented for Reese.
KEVIN DURANT, BASKETBALL – USA
A gold medal winner as the go-to guy on Team USA’s 2010 FIBA World Championship team, this three-time NBA scoring champion is primed for his Olympic debut. KD broke several Team USA records as the MVP of the FIBA tourney including most points in a tournament (205) and a single game (38). Expect more records to be durantulized at the Olympics in London.
ASHTON EATON, TRACK & FIELD – USA
This prodigy in the decathlon enters his first Olympic competition having won gold at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships setting a new world record in the heptathlon competition. Eaton took five of seven events in finishing with 6645 points. Eaton brings high expectations to London as a dominant world record breaking threat and arguably the world’s greatest all-around athlete.
ELEXIS GILLETTE, PARALYMPIC LONG JUMP – USA
A silver medal winner in the Paralympic long jump F11 event at the 2004 and 2008 games respectively, Gillette seeks the gold medal in London as the fastest totally blind athlete. The competitive spirit and fortitude of athletes like Lex is an inspiration to us all.
JUSTIN LESTER, WRESTLING – USA
A two-time World bronze medalist in the 145 weight class, this Akron, Ohio native is only 15 years old and will be competing as a member of the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman team. Obviously new to Olympic competition, Lester will call on his experience as a four-time Ohio High School State Champion in seeking gold in London. Expect him to get tons of encouragement from another Akron native son and fellow Olympian, LeBron James.
DERON WILLIAMS, BASKETBALL – USA
Team USA’s most dynamic point guard, this three-time NBA All-Star and 2008 Olympic gold medalist is coming into his own as a long range marksman. Already possessing an explosive drive and finish, Williams has become deadly from deep as well making him practically unstoppable at his position. Olympic opponents will find this news terribly disheartening soon enough.
NATHAN ADRIAN, SWIMMING – USA
A winner of twelve medals in major international competition (ten of them gold), this 2008 Olympic gold medalist looks to dominate the 100-meter freestyle and 4×100-meter freestyle relay events in London this summer. Adrian currently holds the American record in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. At six-foot-six, 220 pounds, this amphibian is certainly primed for a gold medal repeat.
DWAIN CHAMBERS, TRACK & FIELD – GREAT BRITAIN
Fresh off an overturned Olympic lifetime ban for testing positive for a banned substance, this European record holder in the 60 meters and 4×100 meters relay seeks to make a proud showing for his homeland this summer. Competing in the 100 meters and 4×100 meters relay, Chambers once recorded the second fastest time for a British sprinter in the 100m. After a 12-year Olympic absence, Chambers hopes time hasn’t become his adversary.