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.

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