2016 Summer Games: Olympic Athletes To Watch Out For in Rio

From the up-and-comers to the veterans defending their titles, here’s who you’ll want to watch during the Summer Games

They’re still nearly a year away, but the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are already generating a whole lot of buzz.

From talk of the venues and location to the training regimens of a few extremely impressive Paralympic athletes, excitement is generating at a pretty quick pace.  

At the center of that conversation is the athletes who will compete and what they’re setting out to accomplish. Of course, everybody will be tuning in to watch well-known veterans like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps attempt to leave their final marks on Olympic history. But what about the rest of the pack?

When the torch is lit and the games begin, which newcomers will everyone be buzzing about most? Which elites have the greatest shot at earning gold? Who will set new records?

Of course, it’s still pretty early in the game, but if these athletes' recent performances are any indication of how they’ll compete in the 2016 Summer Games, then you’ll certainly want to keep your eye on them as they compete with the best of the best athletes in the world.

Simone Biles — United States, Gymnastics


(Photo Credit: Simone Biles at 2014 P&G Championship" by WP:NFCC#4, CC by Fair use via Wikipedia)

At just 18 years old, Biles is already one of the most decorated female gymnasts in U.S. history. Most recently, she claimed the USA Gymnastics 2015 national champion title, beating her USA teammate MyKayla Skinner by 4.467 points — the largest margin of victory in American Cup history. “[She ] is a real good bet to win gold in the all-around and probably some individual events,” said Dr. James Millhouse, Ph.D., an Atlanta-based clinical sport psychologist and author of The Parents Manual of Sport Psychology.

Aliya Mustafina  — Russia, Gymnastics


(Photo Credit: "Alia Mustafina 2011" by Romain Dauphin-Meunier via FlickrCC BY 2.0 via Commons)

In addition to also pointing out Biles as a must-watch gymnast, Shannon Miller — who currently reigns as America’s most decorated gymnast — also recommended keeping an eye on Mustafina. “While there are so many incredible athletes competing, these two will not only have the difficulty and scores to win, but both put on a great show,” Miller said. She added, “Among the top five in the mix for the United States women's team are a couple of members of the 2012 (Gold Medal winning) Olympic team, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. Team USA is poised to bring home the gold if they can stay healthy and focused!”

Click here to see more athletes to look out for in Rio.

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