Breakout Stars of the 2012 Olympics

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Breakout Stars of the 2012 Olympics

You might not know their names now, but these athletes will be all over your radar during the 2012 Olympic Games.

Every Olympics has a handful of star athletes that members of the media latch onto, catapulting them from relative obscurity to megastars almost overnight. Even though any Olympian is a champion in his or her own right, expect to see the most coverage on the champions amongst champions—the athletes poised to dominate the field, sometimes in multiple events.

We all remember the hype surrounding athletes like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Bode Miller in the past. Phelps took six gold medals and two bronze in the Athens 2004 Games as a 19-year-old, then won a record eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008. That year, we also saw Bolt sprint his way to gold medals in all three events he participated in. Bode, on the other hand, was hyped to an extreme degree in the 2006 Winter Olympics, then finished without any medals in five downhill skiing events, leaving Turin amid a huge amount of media scrutiny.

Here’s a list of potential new stars that are likely to command a high level of coverage when they take the stage in London this summer. You may not know them now, but you will once the events heat up.

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