2012 Olympic Star Power
Charting the career arcs of six of the biggest Olympic stars
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What Have You Done For Me Lately?
These three veteran Olympians (and three newcomers) have made their marks with medals, world championships, and media appearances. Gordy Megroz predicts what this summer’s Games hold for them.
2012 Olympics Star Power: Usain Bolt
2008: Dominates Beijing with three golds, three world records, and Deion Sanders–worthy showboating
2010: Loses a 100-meter race in Stockholm to American Tyson Gay
2011: Disqualified from the 100-meter final at the world championships; wins the 200 meters
2012: Runs the fastest 100-meter time of the year—but teammate Yohan Blake is right on his heels
2012: Breaks up with his girlfriend, fashion designer Lubica Slovak, to “focus on the Games”; promises to run the 100 in 9.4 seconds
PREDICTION: Three golds, but fails to break his own 100-meter world record of 9.58
2012 Olympics Star Power: Misty May-Treanor
2004: Wins first volleyball gold with partner Kerri Walsh after sprinkling her mother’s ashes on the court
2008: May and Walsh become the first beach-volleyball team to win repeat golds
2008: Ruptures Achilles tendon practicing for Dancing With the Stars
2010: Returns to competition
2012: The IOC declares bikinis no longer mandatory for beach volleyball
PREDICTION: Another gold—in a bikini!
2012 Olympics Star Power: Michael Phelps
2001: Breaks his first world record at age 15
2004: Six golds, two bronzes in Athens
2008: Eight golds! By a fingertip! Worldwide adulation!
2009: Bong-gate—loses Kellogg’s endorsement, suspended briefly by USA Swimming
2009: Rebounds to dominate world championships
2011: For the first time, defeated by teammate Ryan Lochte in worlds
2012: Announces the London Olympics will be his last. Hype ensues.
PREDICTION: No solo golds, but spots on three dominant relay squads make him the winningest Olympian ever
2012 Olympics Star Power: Amanda Beard
1996: Wins one gold and two silvers in Atlanta at age 14
2006: Seven medals later, appears in Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition
2007: Loses the swimsuit for Playboy
2008: In Beijing, fails to medal for the first time in Olympic career
2009: Marries photographer Sacha Brown after a tumultuous relationship with Nascar’s Carl Edwards; gives birth to first child
2010: Reenters competition; named co-captain of U.S. swim team
2012: Publishes a tell-all memoir recounting struggles with depression, bulimia, drug abuse, and toxic relationships with famous men
PREDICTION: No medals, but book sales spike during the Games
2012 Olympics Star Power: Oscar Pistorius
2004: Gets first pair of carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, dominates Athens Paralympics
2007: Competes against able-bodied athletes for the first time; allegations of unfair advantages begin
2008: Deemed ineligible for Beijing Olympics. The decision is later reversed, but Pistorius fails to qualify for the South African team.
2009: Spends five days in intensive care following a boating accident in Johannesburg
2011: Qualifies for the world championships but is eliminated in the men’s 400-meter semifinal
PREDICTION: Makes the London 2012 team, doesn’t medal. Goes down in Olympic history as the man who opened the gates to adaptive athletes.
2012 Olympics Star Power: Missy Franklin
We’ll be hearing a lot about the outgoing Michael Phelps and his heir apparent, Ryan Lochte, this month. But it’s teammate Missy Franklin who could take home the most hardware. At six foot one and 165 pounds, with a six-four wingspan and size 13(!) shoes, she’s the Platonic ideal of a swimmer—built to dominate, as she did at the 2011 world championships (three golds, one silver, one bronze). In London, look for her to clean up in the 200-meter backstroke and 100- and 200-meter freestyle, and possibly to win as many as seven medals. And then look for her to do it again four years from now. Because the scariest thing about Franklin is that she’s only 17 years old.