The 2012 Olympic Games begin two years from today, and nearly every major star from Beijing has left the door open for a return in London, including swimmer
London could be the farewell for the second-most decorated Olympian ever (Soviet gymnast
Since we left him in Beijing, Phelps forayed into freestyle sprints, tinkering with and then shelving a windmill stroke. His surest bets for gold are the 100- and 200-meter butterfly (winning both at the '09 world championships with world records among his five golds) and in the three relays. Next up is August's national championships in Irvine, Calif.
Bolt has since surpassed Phelps as the world's most exciting Olympian. He lowered his 100- and 200-meter world records at the 2009 world championships in Berlin.
Like Phelps, Bolt considered a change in his program, pondering running the 400 for the 2010 season, a year that does not include a world championship. While a serious run at the 400 hasn't come yet, Bolt continues to dominate the 100 and 200. He's undefeated in both distances the last two years while rivals
Nobody has come back for a second Olympic gymnastics team since 2000, but 2008 all-around silver medalist Johnson and gold medalist
Johnson officially announced a comeback; Liukin remains undecided. As for the possibility of competing in London, Johnson is more likely because she's younger by two years and has unfinished all-around business. Still, it's a tall task to overcome 2008 teammate
If anybody is going to be within sight of Bolt in London, count on Gay. The same was said leading up to Beijing until Gay suffered a severe hamstring injury at the Olympic trials. Unfit, he didn't reach the final in the Olympic 100.
Gay rebounded at the 2009 world championships, running the third fastest 100 time ever. Unfortunately, Bolt bettered his world record and won by an easy 13 hundredths. This year has been relaxed for both, but they are scheduled to be on the same track for the first (and perhaps only) time Aug. 27 in Brussels. At that 100-meter race, we'll get an updated measure of the true distance between Bolt and Gay.
For as in sync as they were in winning gold in 2004 and 2008, May-Treanor and Walsh have been unsettled since. May-Treanor tore an Achilles tendon while on
Age and the
Olympic gold medalist comebacks came in threes this year. Shawn Johnson and
With a fit Hamm and anchor
She promptly won her signature event, the 100 backstroke, in her comeback meet in March and again at the Los Angeles Grand Prix two weeks ago. Coughlin
Though Felix won the last three world titles in the 200, she's only won silvers at the Olympics. Jamaican rival
Felix seemed to be forging ahead after Beijing, but Campbell-Brown again nipped her at the adidas Grand Prix last month in their only head-to-head meeting on the 2010 Diamond League circuit. But all is not lost. Felix won two major 400-meter races this year and the U.S. championship in the 100, keeping her options open for a variety of sprints and relays come 2012.
Jeter (pronounced like the airplane, not the Yankees shortstop) has been a sprinting force since missing the 2008 Olympic team. She flew to No. 1 in the world in the 100 with six wins in seven major races this season. She's also raising eyebrows by peaking sharply at age 30 after mostly pedestrian results in her 20s.
Jeter ran a season's best 10.82 in her most recent victory last week in Monaco. Contrast that with previous U.S. 100-meter dynamo
The U.S. hopes to win its first diving medal in London since 2000, and Wilkinson may own similar plans. Wilkinson, the 2000 Olympic platform gold medalist, quietly
Wilkinson says she is not coming back for competitive reasons. Rather, the 32-year-old wants to enjoy the summer and see where it leads. With or without Wilkinson, USA Diving could finally regain the podium in London. Americans won four medals at the 2009 world championships.