The 2012 Olympics will be a launching pad for a bunch of teenage athletes.Most of them won’t come close to winning gold, and will instead use London as a testing ground for future stardom.
But a few have a real chance at doing what only a handful of phenoms have ever done before — reaching the pinnacle of their sports before turning 20 years old.
This year, super-young athletes in swimming, gymnastics, fencing, racewalking, and even showjumping have a chance at glory.
Douglas surprised some people by coming in first in the US Olympic Trials. Jordyn Wieber won the World Championships in 2011, and is expected to be the top gymnast on the US team, but Douglas beat her.
Chance at a medal: Very high. This is widely considered one of the best US gymnastics teams in a while, so she should at least medal in the team all-around. She's also one of the best in the world at uneven bars.
Kessler made waves when she became the youngest person to ever qualify for the US team.
Chance at a medal: Small? We have no idea how showjumping works, but we assume she only has at outside shot at winning since it's so rare for someone so young to even qualify. She's also only ranked 81st in the world.
Ramirez is one of the most hyped amateur boxers in the country. He's poised to go on to a big-time pro career in the lightweight division.
Chance at a medal: The US has struggled to produce medal-winning boxers in recent years. But Ramirez is an amazingly accomplished amateur, so people seem to think he has a chance.
He was just the No. 1 pick in the draft, and he has a really good chance to make Team USA if he can recover from an ankle sprain.
Chance a medal: He'll win one if he makes the team, and it will probably be gold.
Barron suffers from epilepsy, but has still turned himself into the country's best racewalker.
Chance at a medal: Small. He finished 23rd at the World Championships last year, but he should be the best American finisher.
Wieber is the favourite in the individual women's all-around competition.
Chance of a medal: High, and she'll be gunning for gold.
Imboden is at the centre of a media blitz to popularise fencing in the US. He's from Brooklyn, and is currently the best American fencer.
Chance at a medal: Good. He's ranked fourth in the world, and he's still growing.
She's the best women's swimmer in the country, and she's going to enter an incredible seven events in London.
Chance at a medal: Definitely. She's at legitimate phenom, and should bring home a truckload of medals.
Lucas is part of the younger generation of Brazilian players who will take over for the first time by the 2014 World Cup. He has yet to move to a big European power so the Olympics could be his introduction to the world.
Chance at a medal: Brazil expects to win the whole thing.
Daley competed in the last Olympics at age 14. This time around, he's looking for a medal.
Chance at a medal: It'd be a minor upset, but he has a shot. He came in 5th at the World Championships last year.
She's a vaulting specialist who recently recovered from a minor head injury to finish seventh in the all-around at the trials.
Chance at a medal: High. She's a part of that potential US juggernaut, and she'll be one of the favourites in the individual vault.
His day job is playing soccer for Dagenham & Redbridge FC, but he's also the fastest guy in the UK.
Chance at a medal: Slim. He's a part of the British 4x100 relay team, but they aren't expected to be big challengers.
She won the 800m freestyle at the US Trials, making her the youngest member of the US team.
Chance at a medal: OK. Her time of 8:19 at the trials would have been good enough for bronze at last summer's world championships. But she's still a big underdog.
Neal is just the second African-American woman to make the US Olympic swim team, coming in fourth in the 100m freestyle at the trials to qualify for the 4x100 relay.
Chance at a medal: Good. She should figure in the relay team, which historically does very well.
Komova is probably the biggest competition in the individual events for the Americans (Wieber, Douglas, etc.) in London.
Chance at a medal: High. She came in second in the all-around at the 2011 World Championships.
She missed her prom to join the British swim team!
Chance at a medal: Slim. She won the 100m breast stroke at the UK trials, but was only .49 seconds under the qualifying standard, according to the Telegraph.
She's strictly a backstroker, and she's one of the best in the world.
Chance at a medal: Good. Franklin is better than her, but she's still right up there in the 100m backstroke.
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