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16 Americans to watch in London

Michael Phelps Getty Images

(CBS News) Of the U.S. athletes heading to the 2012 London Olympics, these have a shot at bringing home some metal accessories:


Michael Phelps

Age: 27

Hometown: Baltimore, Md.

Sport: Swimming

In 2004, a 19-year-old Phelps told CBS that his dream was to tie or break Mark Spitz's Olympic record of seven gold medals. Though he didn't  do it in 2004, he eclipsed the long-standing record in 2008, capturing eight gold medals.

Phelps became only the second athlete to win eight medals at a single Olympics, after Alexsandr Dityatin, who won eight medals in gymnastics in 1980, with six gold medals and two bronze medals. He is now a 14-time Olympic gold medalist and is the only swimmer ever to break seven world records at one meet. He competes in freestyles, the butterfly, and the individual medley.

16 Americans to watch in London

Ryan Lochte Getty Images

Ryan Lochte

Age: 27

Hometown: Canandaigua, N.Y.

Sport: Swimming

Setting his sights on teammate Michael Phelps' Beijing performance is Ryan Lochte, a two-time Olympian who competed in 2004 in Athens and in 2008 in Beijing.

A six-time Olympic medalist (three gold, one silver, two bronze) and defending world champion, Lochte began his swimming career early under the tutelage of his parents. His head-to-head races with Phelps are shaping up as one of the great rivalries of the London Games.

16 Americans to watch in London

BEIJING, CHINA - MAY 10: Misty May-Treanor of the United States in action during the 2012 Swatch FIVB World Tour Beijing Grand Slam pool D match with Kerri Walsh against Nadine Zumkehr and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland in Chaoyang Park on May 10, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) Lintao Zhang

Misty May-Treanor

Age: 34

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

Sport: Volleyball

Misty May-Treanor, a professional American beach volleyball player, entered her first volleyball tournament when she was 8 years old. Now, she is a two-time gold medalist who, with more than 100 career wins, has triumphed in more tournaments than any other female player.

For the first time, she and her volleyball partner, Kerri Walsh, aren't the favorites; they're in third place behind Brazil and China.

May-Treanor has announced this is her last Olympics. After competing in London, she plans to retire and focus on starting a family.

16 Americans to watch in London

US players Serena Williams (L) and Venus WIlliams (R) playing in their first round women's doubles match against Ukraine's Olga Savchuk and Serbia's Vesna Dolonc on day four of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 28, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/GettyImages) ANDREW YATES

Serena Williams

Age: 30

Hometown: Saginaw, Mich. and Lynwood, Calif.

Sport: Tennis

Sisters Serena and Venus Williams will be seeking their third gold medal in London during their doubles competition, which they won in 2000 and 2008. 

Serena Williams will be playing in both the singles and doubles competitions. She goes to London with 27 Grand Slam titles and more prize money than any other female athlete.

16 Americans to watch in London

Lebron James surges past the Oklahoma Thundercats during the NBA Finals 2012. Ronald Martinez

LeBron James

Age: 27

Hometown: Akron, Ohio

Sport: Basketball

During the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, basketball phenom Lebron James helped the U.S. men's basketball team beat Spain and win the gold medal.

Now, a Miami Heat NBA champion, James is on the roster for the London 2012 Olympic team to once again help lead the U.S. men's basketball team to victory.

16 Americans to watch in London

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 26: Natalie Coughlin competes in preliminary heat 17 of the Women's 100 m Backstroke during Day Two of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials at CenturyLink Center on June 26, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Jamie Squire

Natalie Coughlin

Age: 29

Hometown: Vallejo, Calif.

Sport: Swimming

Swimmer Natalie Coughlin is a two-time Olympic champion and 11-time Olympic medalist with three gold, four silver and four bronze medals.

Coughlin has the chance to win a record-tying 12th Olympic medal in London.

16 Americans to watch in London

EUGENE, OR - JUNE 23: (L-R) Christina Manning, Michelle Perry and Lolo Jones compete in the women's 100 meter hurdles semi-final during Day Two of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 23, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Christian Petersen

Lolo Jones

Age: 29

Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.

Sport: Track & Field

Lolo Jones is an American Olympic hurdler who specializes in the 60- and 100-meter hurdles. While she was the favorite to win the 100-meter hurdles in Beijing, she tripped and finished seventh.

Arguably the most popular female track athlete in the country, she is a three-time U.S. indoor champ and a two-time world Indoor champ.

16 Americans to watch in London

SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 01: Jordyn Wieber competes on the beam during day 4 of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials at HP Pavilion on July 1, 2012 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Ezra Shaw

Jordyn Wieber

Age: 16

Hometown: DeWitt, Mich.

Sport: Gymnastics

Though she is only 16 years old, gymnast Jordyn Weiber was the American Cup All-Around Champion in 2009, 2011, and 2012. Earlier this year, she was also the floor exercise silver medalist.

She won a spot on the coveted U.S. Gymnastics team and the chance to compete at the 2012 London Olympics.

16 Americans to watch in London

KAWASAKI, JAPAN - MAY 06: Allyson Felix (L) of the United States and Chisato Fukushima of Japan compete in the Women's 100m during the Seiko Golden Grand Prix Kawasaki at Todoroki Stadium on May 6, 2012 in Kawasaki, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) Kiyoshi Ota

Allyson Felix

Age: 26

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

Sport: Track & Field

Track and field athlete Allyson Felix won four 200-meter national titles in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008. In Athens in 2004, she won a silver medal, followed by world titles in 2005 and 2007. In 2007, she became just the second female to win three gold medals at one World Championships.

In London, Felix will compete in the 100- and 200-meter races.

16 Americans to watch in London

US Kerri Walsh receives the ball during the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome's Foro Italico, on June 18, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images) FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Kerri Walsh

Age: 33

Hometown: Santa Clara, Calif.

Sport: Volleyball

American volleyball star Kerri Walsh is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. In Athens in  2004, Walsh and her partner Misty May-Treanor went 7-0, winning 14 sets, to win the Olympic Games. In 2008, they became the first team to win two beach volleyball Olympic gold medals, finishing the Games with a 108-match winning streak.

16 Americans to watch in London

GUADALAJARA, MEXICO - OCTOBER 16: Terrence Jennings of the USA looks on druring a match against Danny Miranda of Venezuela at the 63kg-67kg Taekwondo during Day 2 of the XVI Pan American Games on October 16, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Mike Ehrmann

Terrence Jennings

Age: 25

Hometown: Alexandria, Va.

Sport: Taekwondo

Terrence Jennings, who was not able to compete at the 2008 Olympic trials because of a pair of knee injuries, has secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic taekwondo team, after a selection process that extended over several events and about 18 months.

The 25-year-old is seeking a gold medal this year, and says that making it to the Olympics is the only way he could pay his parents back for all their commitment and dedication to his passion.

16 Americans to watch in London

EUGENE, OR - JUNE 23: Carmelita Jeter competes on her way to winning the women's 100 meter dash final during Day Two of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 23, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Andy Lyons

Carmelita Jeter

Age: 32

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

Sport: Track and Field

After she failed to make it past the semifinals in the 2008 Olympic trials, Carmelita Jeter was determined to make it to London this July. She earned a spot on her first Olympic team after winning the 100-meter race in 10.92 seconds during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials.

Last year, Jeter had the world's fastest time in the 100 meters - 10.70 seconds.

16 Americans to watch in London

US women's national football team goalkeeper Hope Solo warms up before an international women's friendly match against China at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, on May 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages) NICHOLAS KAMM

Hope Solo

Age: 30

Hometown: Richland, Wash.

Sport: Soccer

Hope Solo is a soccer goalkeeper for the Seattle Sounders Women and has played for the U.S. women's national soccer team since 2000. In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, she helped her team win the gold medal. The top-ranked team will head to the Olympics in London and try to successfully defend its soccer title.

16 Americans to watch in London

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09: Tyson Gay of Jamica races en route to winning the Men's B 100m at Icahn Stadium on Randall?s Island on June 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) Mike Stobe

Tyson Gay

Age: 29

Hometown: Lexington, Ky.

Sport: Track and Field

Gay has a time of 9.69 in the 100-meter race, which is the second-best performance of all time, equaling Usain Bolt's then-world record from the 2008 Olympic Games. He is the fourth-fastest man ever for the 200-meters and will represent the U.S. in the 100-meters at the London Olympics after placing second in the Olympic trials with a finishing time of 9.86.

16 Americans to watch in London

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 27: Missy Franklin competes in the championship final of the Women's 100 m Backstroke pushes off of the block at the start ofthe championship final of the Women's 100 m Backstroke during Day Three of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials at CenturyLink Center on June 27, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Al Bello

Missy Franklin

Age: 17

Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.

Sport: Swimming

At the 2012 U.S. Olympic swimming trials, 17-year-old Missy Franklin had a dominating win in the 200 backstroke, giving her four individual events and likely all three relays at the London Games - the first American woman to swim that many events in a single Olympics.

Nicknamed "Missy the Missile," Franklin, is a junior in high school.

16 Americans to watch in London

US players Serena Williams (L) and Venus WIlliams (R) playing in their first round women's doubles match against Ukraine's Olga Savchuk and Serbia's Vesna Dolonc on day four of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 28, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/GettyImages) ANDREW YATES

Venus Williams

Age: 32

Hometown: Saginaw, Mich. and Lynwood, Calif.

Sport: Tennis

Sisters Serena and Venus Williams will be seeking their third gold medal in London during their doubles competition, which they won in 2000 and 2008.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams will be the first American tennis player to compete in four Olympics, and will be playing in both the singles and doubles competitions.