Returning Athletes to Watch in the 2012 Summer Olympics

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The 2012 Olympics are set to take place in London for the first time since 1948, and the preparations are heating up. The city is constructing six new venues for the games, plus an Olympic Village that will hold 17,000 athletes. The logo and mascots have long been out of the box, and organizers have just released information about the expansive torch relay that will lead up to the games. Now, the only open questions are who will compete, and who will win. Here are a few familiar faces to watch.

Michael Phelps

After Phelps’s superhuman performance in Beijing, many are wondering if he will be able to expand upon his record 14 gold medals. Phelps has stated that the 2012 Olympics, during which he’ll be 27, will be his last performance on the world’s biggest stage. The truth of this remains to be seen, but the pressure will be on in any case. Will Phelps extend his greatness, or will there be an upset?

Usain Bolt

The Jamaican sprinter Bolt holds the world record in both the 200- and 100-meter dashes. Following his three golds in Beijing, the youthful Bolt will just be entering his prime as the London games unfold. His times have only improved in competitions since 2008, and some are saying that he could shatter some records in 2012.

The English men’s soccer team

You probably remember the intense pressure the Canadian hockey team was under during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Canadians felt that, with the home-field advantage, the Canadian team had no excuse not to dominate in the sport their country is known for. The English men’s soccer team will be under similar pressure.

Of course, soccer wasn’t invented in Britain, but the Brits are known for their talented players, and the boys are going to be expected to show up in a big way on the home turf. As always, they will face tough competition from many teams, including the Argentinians, who have won the gold in the last two events.

The U.S. women’s soccer team

The U.S. women’s soccer team has dominated the sport on a national level ever since its first inclusion in 1996. They were upset by Norway at the 2000 games, but they won handily in both 2004 and 2008. Will this be the year that the Brazilians or the Germans finally take the gold, or will the U.S. women continue their dominance?

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