The World Cup Rookie of the Year for 2012, Shiffrin won the slalom title at the U.S. Alpine Championships last March, shortly after her 17th birthday. The Colorado resident made her debut on the World Cup circuit as a 15-year-old and, at only 16, finished third in a slalom in Austria in her eighth career start.
2 of 18Kirby Lee/US Presswire
One of the fastest high school sprinters in history, Bracy is starting his freshman year at Florida State University. As a high school senior, Bracy ran 10.06 seconds for the 100 meters, which would have been the fourth-fastest time in prep history, but the wind-aided result didn't officially count for the record books. Bracy also plays wide receiver for the Seminoles, and he could follow in the footsteps of former Florida football player and sprinter Jeff Demps, who ran in the prelims of the 4 x 100-meter relay at the London Olympics.
3 of 18Janos Schmidt/ITU via Getty Images
The Lithuanian-born Verzbicas was the world junior triathlon champion last September, only months after becoming the fifth U.S. high school runner ever to break four minutes in the mile. But the past year has been more challenging. Verzbicas left Oregon, where he was running cross country, to refocus on the triathlon. In late July, Verzbicas was injured in a bike crash. He needed back surgery and was in serious condition in the immediate aftermath, but he has now reportedly been upgraded to fair condition.
4 of 18Charlie Neibergall/AP
The middle distance runner nearly made the London Olympic squad, taking fifth in the 1,500-meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Andrews, the 2011 NCAA champion in the 800 while running for the University of Virginia, has a hard-finishing style that could be well-suited for international races that are often more tactical. The 21-year-old Andrews turned pro in March. With more international experience, he could be poised to join Matthew Centrowitz, the fourth-place finisher in the 1,500 in London, as the leaders of the next generation of American milers.
5 of 18Charlie Neibergall/AP
The 200-meter specialist had a huge year for LSU in 2012, winning the NCAA title in the 200 meters, finishing second in the 100 and leading the Tigers to the team championship. Duncan won the NCAA Women's Track Athlete of the Year award and Honda Sports Award for track and field. But she narrowly missed a spot in the London Games, taking fourth in the 200 at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
6 of 18Porter Binks/SI
One of the most dominant college basketball players in history, Griner led Baylor to an undefeated season and NCAA title as a junior in 2011-12. The 6-8 center is an intimidating presence inside, blocking 5.1 shots per game last season. She was widely expected to take the final roster spot for the London Olympics but withdrew from consideration. While the U.S. women's squad didn't need any help on its way to its fifth-straight gold in London, Griner's presence surely won't hurt in 2016.
7 of 18Todd Rosenberg/SI
The NBA Rookie of the Year seems to be exactly the type of player the U.S. men's national team wants: talented, young and willing to share the ball. Players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James could be back for the next Olympics, but an infusion of young talent also seems likely. Irving, a point guard who averaged 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game as a rookie, could fill help fill the role of Chris Paul or Deron Williams if the veteran point guards don't return.
8 of 18Simon Bruty/SI
The 16-year-old from Georgia has inspired comparisons to the Williams sisters, and her recent performance hasn't done anything to reduce expectations. Townsend is the reigning Australian Open junior champion, and she teamed with Canada's Eugenie Bouchard to win the Wimbledon girls' doubles title. In a few years, she may represent the U.S. in the Olympics -- like the Williams sisters did this summer.
9 of 18Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images
The Los Angeles Sparks drafted the 6-2 forward with the first pick in this year's WNBA Draft, and she is expected to develop into one of the league's top players. A three-time All-American at Stanford, Ogwumike has some experience with the Olympic process: She has been a member of the USA Basketball's select team, which scrimmages against the national team. Before long, she'll likely be switching sides to join the national team instead.
10 of 18Bob Stanton/Icon SMI
Chenault has been known in swimming circles for nearly a quarter of her life, by virtue of her appearance at the 2008 Olympic Trials as only a 13-year-old. At the 2012 Trials, Chenault made the final of the 200-free. But she finished eighth in the event, leaving the Olympics to wait for at least another four years. Chenault has continued to produce among the top times in the nation for her age group, meaning she has a good shot of joining swimmers like Missy Franklin in Rio in 2016.
11 of 18Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
The University of Georgia star finished seventh in the 200 free at the U.S. Olympic Trials, missing a spot as a relay alternate by 0.16 seconds. Romano, who excels in both freestyle and backstroke, had a strong junior season for the Bulldogs in 2012. She won the NCAA title in the 200 free and finished second in the 100 back.
12 of 18Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Murphy, a Jacksonville resident, held 11 national age-group records as of last December, and the 16-year-old reached the finals of two backstroke events at the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer. He was sixth at the 100 back and fourth in the 200 back. The experience of racing against stars like Ryan Lochte and Tyler Clary should help him grow as a competitor.
13 of 18Todd Bigelow/SI
Goalie Hope Solo has been in the spotlight for the women's national team, and Campbell, a goalie for the U.S.'s U-17 team, may be the one to follow in her footsteps. At a CONCACAF U-17 tournament this year, Campbell recorded five straight shutouts. She will reportedly play at Stanford starting in 2013 -- and maybe in the Olympics in 2016 or 2020.
14 of 18Richard Ulreich/ZUMApress.com
At the Visa Championships in June, the 18-year-old Whittenburg took the junior all-around title, setting him up for larger success in the future. In that event, he was separated from the rest of the field on the vault and still rings. His two-day average in the rings was more than a point better than any of the other top-five finishers in the all-around.
15 of 18Ted S. Warren/AP
The past three women's Olympic all-around champions have been Americans, and the 15-year-old Priessman may be the gymnast most likely to carry on that tradition. She won the junior national title this year and is especially strong on the vault. Priessman looks poised to take the place of Gabby Douglas as the face of the U.S. national team.
16 of 18Chris Jameson/SI
The favorite to win gold at the 2014 Olympics, Hendrickson won the inaugural women's ski jumping World Cup last December. The 18-year-old, nicknamed Giggles, first got on skis when she was 2. Now, she's the star of the U.S. ski jumping team.
17 of 18Lucas J. Gilman/SI
There's not a better name for an Olympic hopeful, and Gold is quickly making herself a threat for the Sochi Games in 2014. She won the Junior World Championships in March, two months after finishing second at the Winter Youth Olympics. Gold has now reportedly started to focus her schedule on Olympic qualifying events.
18 of 18Chris Williams/Icon SMI
Being a cycling star from Texas leads to an obvious comparison for Craddock. While he's not at Lance Armstrong's level -- at least not yet --the 20-year-old Craddock already has seven national championships. He rides for the Trek-Livestrong team and has also trained in Europe with USA Cycling's developmental program. With four more years to prepare, he could challenge for a spot in Rio.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!