16 Americans to watch in London

(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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.