By: Christie Smith

It’s almost that time of year again, and Americans are gearing up for one of the most exciting Olympic games yet. The Olympics have been around since 1896 when the first game occurred in Athens, Greece; making this year the 105th Olympiad in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. There are many different sports that participate in the Olympic Games including popular events such as Swimming, Gymnastics, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Track and Field, and Cycling. This year the Olympics welcomes back Golf, which hasn’t been a part of the games since 1912; as well as Rugby, which hasn’t been in the games since 1924. Of course everyone has their preference of sport and specific athletes they’ll be cheering for, but here are some athletes who are in the spotlight as we countdown to the Rio games.

Men’s Swim Team:

Michael Phelps is making his fifth appearance at the Olympic Games. This time around, he’ll have a new supporter cheering for him because he is now a father. So does this mean we have another great Olympian in the making? Team USA has also gained four new faces to the Men’s Swim Team: Gunnar Bentz, Blake Pieroni and Clark Smith. All three swimmers are highly decorated athletes by American standards; however, this will be their first attempt at achieving an Olympic medal.

Women’s Swim Team:

Along with the Men’s Swim team, the Women’s Swim team has a new star to the lineup. Katie Ledecky is a powerhouse and is the first swimmer to ever sweep the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle in a major International competition, but don’t forget about Missy Franklin. Franklin is making her second Olympic appearance; and she has everyone asking, will she add any more Gold Medals to her current total of four?

Men’s Basketball Team:

With the NBA Finals just having ended, I’m sure all of America is ready to watch the Team USA Men’s Basketball Team dominate the games. The team is stacked with the NBA’s best including Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving. The US women’s basketball is expected to take home gold as well.

Women’s Gymnastics Team:

Simone Biles (will be) a new face to Team USA’s Women’s Gymnastics team along with Olympic veteran and Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas. Biles is the three time all around champion, and can stick routines harder than any other gymnast out there.

Women’s Soccer Team:

Will the US Women’s Soccer team continue their winning ways? Team USA is coming off a World Cup win and is looking to capture its fourth-straight Olympic Gold.  

Women’s Tennis Team:

The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, will be playing doubles tennis together; something which they haven’t done since 2014.

Women’s Cross Country Mountain Biking Team:

Lea Davidson is making headlines. The cross country mountain biker just won a silver medal at the Mountain Bike World Championships in the Czech Republic.

Men’s Golf Team:

Golf is making its first appearance in the Olympic Games since 1912. America’s top players Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler are looking to beat Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Spain’s Sergio Garcia, both are favored to take the top spots at the games. 

Track and Field:

The whole world will be watching Usain Bolt’s last Olympic games, or will we?

There should be many more surprises to come with these Summer Games, so grab your family, grab your friends and let’s all get ready to cheer on Team USA this August.