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Top 10 USA Olympic Athletes to Watch

Posted on July 27, 2012 AT 10:19am

The 2012 Olympics in London offer 302 medal events, so Americans have plenty of opportunity to raise Hell in their living room out of excitement. With so many athletes and sports to keep track of, names and faces can be difficult to remember. Quick: name a 2012 Olympic athlete that isn’t Michael Phelps, or a member the men’s USA basketball team. Here is a good top ten to keep all American fans up to date for this late summer rush of athleticism.


Missy Franklin


The 17-year old from Colorado (yup, 17) has already been dubbed as the female version of Michael Phelps. However, Franklin truly needs no comparison because this young lady is full of fire under water all on her own. Back in December of 2011, she broke a world record in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of two minutes and .03 seconds. The funny thing during this race was that the commentators kept saying she had been going a bit slow for her own pace. There’s more to the water than Phelps, people, and this girl is it.

Holley Mangold

Weight Lifting

Dreaming about the Olympics since toddler days, 23-year old Mangold has professional sports coursing through her veins. She was the first female offensive lineman in division III high school football back in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio and she went to Ursuline College for a track scholarship. It doesn’t hurt that her brother is Nick Mangold of the New York Jets, either. She was also in an episode of MTV’s True Life in  May 2011 entitled, “I’m the Big Girl.” With a personal best of lifting 562.2 pounds, Mangold promises to power through the 2012 Olympics with bare bone confidence and pure strength.

Jordan Burroughs


Straight out of Camden, New Jersey comes 24-year old wrestling fiend Jordan Burroughs. Burroughs graduated high school where he won three district championships, then moved onto University of Nebraska as the seventh nationally ranked 135 pounder. In 2012, Burroughs actually went 7-0 losing his first match due to an injury he acquired during the fight. By the end of his senior year, Burroughs won the Hodge Trophy, wrestling’s equivalent to the football Heisman Trophy. Not having lost a single tournament since 2009, Burroughs looks to be dominant and full of raw power in the ring this summer.

Evelyn Stevens


It’s a person like Evelyn Stevens who truly embodies the American dream: the dream that there is something for everyone and you just have to find it. Stevens says in one interview that cycling was a niche she was introduced to. After working on Wall St. for some time, (so the story goes) Stevens told her boss off and then gave away her New York City apartment. Within four years, she went from beginner to Olympic team member. Stevens’ story is already in the works for a movie, but it hasn’t slowed her down from winning one cycling race after another.

Tyson Gay

Track & Field (100-meter and 200-meter)

Since the Olympics only come every four years, it’s tough to make a comeback. A hamstring injury in the 2008 Olympics held Gay back from winning any medals at all. After heavy surgery for his hip, Gay’s climb back to peak physical shape as a runner was very slow, many sports critics pegged him to never run like he used to. As the second fastest American ever, Gay pushed himself to make it back perfectly. For the 100-meter in the trials for the Olympics, Gay immediately separated himself from the rest of the running pack to finish first with a 10 second flat time. Dedicated to his fans, many Americans should watch Gay to see if he can dethrone Jamaican Usain Bolt later this summer.

Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kayla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber


The 2012 Women’s Gymnastics is ready to add another gold medal to the trophy case. The last time was in 1996, and after the debacle in 2008 where many accused China of entering illegal contenders on their women’s team, the USA is hankering for a gold medal. This team has the right stuff, baby. There’s the powerhouse Wieber who can muster more than six in-air rotations on floor, Douglas and Raisman who are goddesses on the bars, Ross who is meticulous and graceful on the balance beam, and Maroney who is the answer to the vault. This year’s team is hungry for gold, and has the punch to back up their passion.

Queen Underwood


This is the first time Women’s Boxing will be in the Olympics and there’s few better to represent the United States than Underwood. A five-time national champion, Underwood has been boxing since she was 19-years old after graduating high school and still yearning to be in sports. Excited for the Olympics, the quick and strong Underwood is the perfect powerhouse start to women’s boxing.

Lolo Jones

Track & Field

Jones is the epitome of a Hollywood story pretty much where she came so close, but then was so far. Back in Beijing, running the 100-meter hurdles, Jones was physically the front runner in her event. In the last seconds of the race, Jones tripped over her final hurdle and immediately went from first to seventh place. Jones is ready to come back and win it all, though, so be ready to watch her surpass all the competition.

Kim Rhode


Over 270,000 clay targets are expected to be thrown during the shooting events at the Olympic Games this year. Rhode is more than used to that; there’s even a video of her shooting a dime tossed in the air. Talk about accuracy. Going for her fifth consecutive medal, Rhode has been part of the Olympic world since 1996. At 33, Rhode would be the first America to receive a medal in five consecutive Games, something that seems more than possible this year.

Michael Phelps


It wouldn’t be a Top 10 list about the USA Olympic Team without the good old Phelps. A fan favorite and athletic god, Phelps has pulverized nearly all of his competition. With 14 gold medals, the 27-year old could easily become the world’s most decorated Olympian, but Phelps has come forward saying that the 2012 Olympics will be his last. Due to this news, keep eyes more watchful on Phelps before he disappears off the radar forever.


So, there you have it. With the Opening Ceremonies tonight, you definitely have a good roster to cheer for. These Games represent power and pride for each country, so it’s almost a responsibility to know your athletes and cheer them on properly. London is way across the pond, but the USA’s passion is immeasurable when it comes to distance.

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