Olympians to watch at the London Games
LONDON (AP) - More Olympians to watch this summer:
Chris Hoy, Britain
Hoy is the most successful Olympic male cyclist in history. He won three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, one at the Athens Games and silver in 2000 in Sydney. He is also an 11-time world champion in keirin, time trial and team sprints. Twitter handle is (at)chrishoy
Victoria Pendleton, Britain
One of the top women's track cyclists in the world, Pendleton is the reigning Olympic and world gold medalist in sprint. Nine-time world champion in the sprint, team sprint and keirin. Won an unprecedented three golds at 2007 worlds. Began cycling on grass tracks at age 9 with her father, Max, a former national champion. Twitter handle is (at)v-pendleton
Tom Boonen, Belgium
The 2005 world road race champion is a single-day specialist whose attacking style could steal Olympic gold from the sprinters. He won his fourth Paris-Roubaix, third Tour of Flanders and third Gent-Wevelgem this season after struggling with injuries in recent years. Twitter handle is (at)tomboonen
Marianne Vos, Netherlands
Vos has excelled in several cycling disciplines, with eight world championships in track, on the road and in cyclo-cross. She won gold in points race at 2008 Beijing Olympics and at world championships. She has five straight silver medals at road world championships after winning gold in 2006. Twitter handle is (at)mariannevos
Kohei Uchimura, Japan
Reigning three-time world champion, the only gymnast - male or female - to win three consecutive world titles. Silver medalist in all-around at 2008 Beijing Olympics, has not lost a competition since. Considered by some to be the greatest male gymnast of all time.
Jordyn Wieber, United States
Reigning world and U.S. champion, has failed to win only one meet in the last two years. She won the American Cup in New York in March, which augers well for London - Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin all won the American Cup then went on to win Olympic gold the same year. She is the sixth U.S. woman to win the world all-around title. Twitter handle is (at)jordyn-wieber
Beth Tweddle, Great Britain
In 2006, became first British gymnast, male or female, to win a world title, on uneven bars. Repeated as world bars champion in 2010 and also won a world title on floor exercise in 2009. Tweddle considered retiring after narrowly missing a medal on bars in Beijing, but decided to keep going with the 2012 Olympics in London. Twitter handle is (at)bethtweddlenews
Novak Djokovic, Serbia
Rafael Nadal is the reigning Olympic champion, but Djokovic has shown he is the player to beat over the last two years. Nadal's victory over the Serbian in this year's French Open final prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four straight major titles. Started 2011 with a 41-match winning streak that ended in a semifinal loss to Roger Federer at the French Open. Twitter handle is (at)DjokerNole
Maria Sharapova, Russia
Missed 2008 Olympics because of shoulder injury. Won Wimbledon in 2004 at age 17. Also won 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Australian Open. Completed the career Grand Slam by winning this year's French Open, her first major victory since 2008.
Talk about lavish praise: Neymar is said by Brazil great Pele to be better than three-time FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi. The 20-year-old Neymar has been repeatedly linked to a transfer to Real Madrid but still plays in his native Brazil for Santos. The striker has scored at the rate of about a goal every two games for club and country. Instantly recognizable with his mohawk hairstyle. Twitter handle is (at)Njr92
Abby Wambach, United States
Wambach is the second all-time leading scorer for the U.S., behind only Mia Hamm. Last year she became the first individual soccer player to win The Associated Press' Female Athlete of the Year. Wambach helped the U.S. win the gold at the 2004 Games in Sydney but missed the 2008 tournament in Beijing after breaking her leg in the final match before the competition. Twitter handle is (at)AbbyWambach
Mahe Drysdale, New Zealand
The five-time and current world champion in men's single scull is a big favorite to win his first Olympic gold. Won bronze in Beijing after suffering serious stomach ailment on the day of the final. Born in Melbourne, Australia but is a proud New Zealander, captaining the country's Olympic team in 2008 and carrying the flag into the Bird's Nest at the opening ceremony. Twitter handle is (at)MaheDrysdale
Ekaterina Karsten, Belarus
Nicknamed "Queen of the Singles,'' she is a double Olympic gold medalist in the single sculls, in 1996 and 2000, making her a national hero in Belarus. The winner of a silver medal in 2004 and bronzes in 1992 (quadruple scull) and 2008, she is looking to medal in a sixth straight games. The six-time world champion will be 40 at the Olympics and has even talked about going through to Rio.
Dong Hyun Im, South Korea
Part of the team that won Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008, and considered a strong contender for individual gold at the London Games, despite having very poor eyesight. He can distinguish colors on the target. He proved he is in form by breaking his own world record in October at an Olympics test event, scoring 693 points on the 70-meter round.
Bo Bae Ki, South Korea
World No. 1 finished first in World Cup event in Shanghai in April after taking bronze at the London Olympics test event late last year. London will be her first Olympics. Won gold in three events (individual, team and mixed team) at World Cup in Shanghai in 2010 and swept all three again in 2011 at Summer Universiade in China.