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Top 10 Athletes to Watch at the Olympics

Written by Kelly Herdrich

The 2012 London Olympics are just around the corner. Olympic hopefuls are competing in qualifying competitions and preparing for what may be the biggest performances of their athletic careers. Who should audiences prepare to watch during the 2012 Olympics in London?

1. Vanessa Ferrari, Italy, Gymnastics

After sustaining an injury that kept her from competing during the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, Italian gymnast Vanessa Ferrari came back to score the highest all-around title at the final qualifying test event for women's gymnastics. As the 2006 World Champion, she is poised to lead the Italian female gymnastics team and potentially win a medal for herself.

2. Larissa Franco & Juliana Silva, Brazil, Beach Volleyball
3. Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh, USA, Beach Volleyball

These two beach volleyball teams may compete in the must-watch events of the 2012 Olympics. While May-Treanor and Walsh are typically the favorites, they haven't been able to beat Franco & Silva in the past year. Will they be able to defeat them in London? Expect large crowds excited to find out.

4. Kohei Uchimura, China, Gymnastics

Uchimura won the all-around title at the World Championships in Tokyo in October. It was no surprise, really, as this was not his first, second, but third gold medal at the World Championships. Expect big things from him in London in 2012.

5. Michael Phelps, USA, Swimming

Was there really any doubt? With an incredible Olympic history, records smashed whenever he's in the pool, and a training schedule that seems impossible, Michael Phelps is the swimmer to watch at the 2012 Olympics in London.

6. Chris Hoy, GB, Cycling

British cyclist Chris Hoy is no stranger to the Olympic platform. Expect Hoy, who won three gold medals in Beijing, to thrive with a hometown crowd behind him. He should win gold again in London.

7. Zi He, China, Diving
8. Minxia Wu, China, Diving

Competing and dominating both independently and as a team, Zi He and Mixia Wu prove that diving is an art form, as well as a sport. Not only are they able to compete alone, but they are able to synchronize and compete together for China. With so many opportunities for a gold medal, expect both women to leave London with at least one.

9. Andy Murray, Great Britain, Tennis

Up against big names Raphael Nadal, Novak Djokavic, and Roger Federer, does Andy Murray really have a chance to break free from his ATP #4 ranking and leave with a Olympic gold? He knows the game, knows the court, and knows his competitors...his home advantage could just serve him well.

10. Usain Bolt, Jamaica, Athletics/Track

Don't blink, or you just might miss Usain Bolt as he sprints past. After winning three gold medals in 2008, he's expected to continue his winning streak in 2012. Will he continue his reign as one of history's fastest men? The London Olympics will tell the tale.

Who are you planning to watch in the 2012 London Olympics? These ten athletes should certainly top your list.

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