Athletes to Watch in Rio: Team USA Edition!

With a little over a month to go before the summer games in Rio De Janeiro, we’re already feeling the anticipation and excitement. Some of the countries’ favourites are facing off against the world’s best! Some world champions will defend their titles, and underdogs will teach us once again, to expect the unexpected.

Here are some athletes to watch this summer from Team USA!

Venus and Serena Williams

PC: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Events: Singles, Doubles (Tennis)

Let’s be honest – you all expected the Williams sisters to be on this list. How could we ever miss them? They’ve been household names for years, and have become not only a duo fellow tennis players look up to, but strong, independent women inspiring girls all over the world with their passion for the sport and their endless determination to succeed. We’re definitely going to be cheering them on this summer!

Ashton Eaton

PC: Getty Images

Event: Decathlon (Athletics)

The decathlon will definitely have spectators on the edge of their seats this summer. After a gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012, he’s planning on yet another one in Rio, defending his title against Damien Warner of Team Canada. Who knows, maybe he’ll beat his own world record. We know all too well that anything can happen at the Olympics!

Antonio Vargas

PC: Tom Benitez / Orlando Sentinel

Event: Flyweight (Boxing)

Antonio Vargas has come a long way since starting to box at the age of nine. After triumphant victories over qualified Olympians at last summer’s Pan Am Games in Toronto, he’s quickly caught the attention of many boxing enthusiasts and general spectators. Rio will be his first Olympic games, and just might be where he wins his first Olympic medal!

Michael Phelps

PC: Al Bello/Getty Images

Events: 4×100 Meter Freestyle, 4×100 Meter Freestyle, 100 Meter Butterfly, 200 Meter Butterfly, 200 Meter IM, 400 Meter IM, 4×100 Medley (Swimming)

Michael Phelps has already made history, with 22 Olympic medals from competing in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, and London in 2012 – but he’s been out of the water for quite some time due to a six-month suspension by USA Swimming in 2014. Nevertheless, we’re interested to see how he does in Rio!

Gabrielle Douglas

PC: Getty
PC: Getty

Event: Artistic Gymnastics

A member of the Fierce Five at the last summer games in London, Gabby Douglas was nicknamed “the flying squirrel” after performing each and every routine with poise and elegance. Not only has she been busy training for the upcoming summer games, but she’s also recently been on the cover of Teen Vogue! She’s got some tough competition with some pretty solid teams, but we’re wishing her all the best!

Justin Gatlin

PC: Getty Images

Events: 100 Meter Dash, 200 Meter Dash, 4×100 Meter Relay, (Athletics)

After years hot on Usain Bolt’s heels, Justin Gatlin will be running in the 100 meter and 200 meter dash this summer at the Rio Olympic Games. Not only will he be participating in individual events, but he’ll also be running alongside the rest of the mens’ 4×100 meter relay team, hoping for redemption. Will this be the year that they team creeps up and claims first place over Jamaica’s world-renowned team? We’ll have to watch to find out.

Which athletes are you rooting for this summer? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix!

Written by Kath Jiang

Western University grad, music lover, and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

(Please CC on all inquiries!)