What to watch for -- sport by sport
What to look for: In individual women's competition, the South Koreans have won every Olympic gold medal since 1984. The South Korean men have won seven of the past eight team world championships and three of the last five team events in the Olympics, but have not won an individual gold in that span. There is hope for the US, which finished without a medal in Athens for just the second time in the sport's Olympic history. In 2005, the US hired world-renowned coach Kisik Lee, who served as the South Korean men's coach from 1981-84 and the women's coach from 1986-89. Johnson, who calls Woodstock, Conn., home, will be competing in his fifth Olympics and is ranked No. 2 in the US behind Wunderle. Nichols and Lorig rank 1-2 among women.
What to look for: China owns this event, winning 22 medals since the sport's Olympic introduction in 1992. Don't be surprised if the Chinese, who boast the world's No. 1 men's player, Lin Dan, sweep the medals in Beijing. Bach, 29, is America's best hope for a medal. He won gold in men's doubles at the 2005 world championships - the first by a US athlete at a major international event. In Beijing, he will team with Malaythong, and also Lee in mixed doubles.
US schedule: Aug. 13, South Korea; Aug. 14 Netherlands; Aug. 15, Cuba; Aug. 16, Canada; Aug. 18, China; Aug. 19, Chinese Taipei; Aug. 20, Japan.
US entries: LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Jake Arrieta, INF Brian Barden, INF Matthew Brown, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Jeremy Cummings, SS Jason Donald, LHP Brian Duensing, OF Dexter Fowler, OF/1B John Gall, 3B Mike Hessman, RHP Kevin Jepsen, RHP Brandon Knight, RHP Mike Koplove, OF Matt LaPorta, C Lou Marson, RHP Blaine Neal, 2B Jayson Nix, OF Nate Schierholtz, RHP Jeff Stevens, RHP Stephen Strasburg, C Taylor Teagarden, INF Terry Tiffee, RHP Casey Weathers.
What to look for: The US didn't qualify for Athens, but it's a new day with a new coach: Davey Johnson, who won three World Series as a player and manager. Cuba isn't the favorite it once was - it lost to the US at the 2006 Olympic qualifier and in the 2007 World Cup championship game - but it should play up to its tradition (three golds the last four Games). The Netherlands could surprise. It has won 20 golds at the European Championships and upset Cuba in group play at last year's World Cup, snapping Cuba's 32-game winning streak in the event.
US schedule: Men - Aug. 10, China; Aug. 12, Angola; Aug. 14, Greece; Aug. 16, Spain; Aug. 18, Germany; Women - Aug. 9, Czech Republic; Aug. 11, China; Aug. 13, Mali; Aug. 15, Spain; Aug. 17, New Zealand.
US entries: Men - F Carmelo Anthony, F Carlos Boozer, F/C Chris Bosh, G Kobe Bryant, C Dwight Howard, G LeBron James, G Jason Kidd, G Chris Paul, F Tayshaun Prince, G Michael Redd, G Dwyane Wade, G Deron Williams; Women - F Seimone Augustus, G Sue Bird, F Tamika Catchings, C Sylvia Fowles, G Kara Lawson, C Lisa Leslie, F DeLisha Milton-Jones, F/C Candace Parker, G Cappie Pondexter, G Katie Smith, G/F Diana Taurasi, F Tina Thompson.
What to look for: Its been eight years since the American men have won an Olympic gold medal. Nor did they win the 2002 or 06 world championships. But with a veteran group of NBA stars that has spent a lot of time playing together, the Americans should live up to their favored status. Mike Krzyzewskis team knows stifling defense will be key to surviving a tough bracket that includes Spain, a German squad that features NBA stars Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman, and a Greek team that upset the Americans in the semifinals of the 2006 World Championships. The US women own an Olympic winning streak of 25 games that stretches from the Barcelona bronze medal game to the Athens gold medal contest. They have also won 50 of 51 senior team contests since 1996. With a star-studded cast of WNBA players, led by former UConn standouts Taurasi and Bird, as well as frontcourt forces Leslie and Parker, gold is expected in Beijing. The Americans top competition should come from 2006 world champion Australia, European champion Russia, and Spain, who is the USs toughest matchup of the preliminary round.
US entries: Men - Phil Dalhausser, Todd Rogers, Jake Gibb, Sean Rosenthal; Women - Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh, Nicole Branagh, Elaine Youngs.
What to look for: Experience should pay off for the US. Walsh and May-Treanor won gold in Athens and the pair has a 96-match winning streak. Youngs, who helped the US win bronze in Athens, returns with a new partner, Branagh. The pair seems to have chemistry, winning three AVP tournaments last year. Rogers and the 6-foot-9-inch Dalhausser surprised many with their win at the 2007 World Championships, and they added three more international wins this year.
US entries: Sadam Ali (lightweight), Demetrius Andrade (welterweight), Shawn Estrada (middleweight), Javier Molina (light welterweight), Gary Russell Jr. (bantamweight), Rau'shee Warren (flyweight), Deontay Wilder (heavyweight), Raynell Williams (featherweight), Luis Yanez (light flyweight).
What to look for: Warren was 17 when he competed in the last Olympics, the youngest US athlete in Athens. Now he's the first US boxer to participate in consecutive Olympics since Davey Lee Armstrong in 1972 and '76. Warren and Providence's Andrade were victorious at the 2007 World Championships, the first Americans to win a world championship since '99. Andrade is the welterweight favorite in Beijing. All five of Cuba's gold medalists from Athens are no longer with the team because of defections or retirement.
US entries: Men - Casey Eichfeld, Benn Fraker, Scott Parsons, Rick Powell, Rami Zur; Women - Heather Corrie, Carrie Johnson.
What to look for: Germany won seven medals in the flatwater events in Athens and Hungary won six, so they're the favorites. Johnson is America's best chance at its first flatwater medal since 1992 after winning the K-4 and K-1 trials at Athens. Parsons had a sixth-place finish in the K-1 in Athens. Twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner of Slovakia are the two-time defending gold medalists in the two-man canoe.
US entries: Men - Kyle Bennett, Michael Blatchford, Adam Craig, Mike Day, Adam Duvendeck, Michael Friedman, George Hincapie, Bobby Lea, Levi Leipheimer, Giddeon Massie, Jason McCartney, Taylor Phinney, Donny Robinson, Christian Vande Velde, Todd Wells, David Zabriskie; Women - Kristin Armstrong, Georgia Gould, Sarah Hammer, Jill Kintner, Mary McConneloug, Amber Neben, Jennie Reed, Christine Thorburn.
What to look for: France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy, and Norway are favored in the four disciplines: BMX, Mountain Bike, Road, and Track. But if there's one area the US can reach the podium, it's BMX. Robinson is the 2007 US champion and Bennett is the 2007 world champion. Hammer is a favorite on the track, but she'll face Great Britain's Rebecca Romera, who won a silver medal in rowing in Athens. Italy should own the road race with defending world champion Paolo Bettini, and Switzerland's Christoph Sauser is almost a sure podium finish in the mountain bike.
US entries: Men - David Boudia, Chris Colwill, Troy Dumais, Thomas Finchum, Jevon Tarantino; Women - Kelci Bryant, Mary Beth Dunnichay, Nancilea Underwood Foster, Hayley Ishimatsu, Christina Loukas, Ariel Rittenhouse, Laura Wilkinson.
What to look for: China has won more golds (20) in diving than any other sport. This time the Chinese are diving in familiar waters and should be favored in all eight categories. This will be Wilkinson's third Olympics - she was a surprise winner in the platform in Sydney but left Athens empty-handed - and she will face stiff competition in China's Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin. On the men's side, Boudia and Finchum should challenge the Chinese and Russian divers in the synchronized platform. If height helps, then the 6-foot-1-inch Finchum, who has grown 10 inches since 2004, should be fine.
US entries: Men - Phillip Dutton, Steffen Peters, Will Simpson, McLain Ward; Women - Becky Holder, Courtney King-Dye, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, Debbie McDonald, Gina Miles, Amy Tryon, Heidi White.
What to look for: While France and the Netherlands are the favorites, the US won the most medals in Athens with five. Ward and Madden won gold in team jumping, and Tryon bronze in team eventing. The big story is 67-year-old Japanese dressage rider Hiroshi Hoketsu, the Games' oldest athlete who is making his return to the Olympic stage after last appearing in Tokyo in 1964.
US entries: Men - Seth Kelsey, Gerek Meinhardt, Tim Morehouse, Jason Rogers, Keeth Smart; Women - Emily Cross, Kelly Hurley, Sada Jacobson, Erinn Smart, Hanna Thompson, Rebecca Ward, Mariel Zagunis.
What to look for: The US had never medaled in women's fencing before Athens, but Zagunis (gold) and Jacobson (bronze) broke that streak and raised expectations for these Games. Both are back in the sabre discipline. Cross, a rising Harvard senior, was the 2005 World Junior Champion and is making her Olympic debut. She could run into Italy's Valentina Vezzali, who will be going for her third straight gold in the individual foil in Beijing.
Preliminary groups: Men - Pool A: Belgium, China, Germany, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Spain; Pool B: Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Netherlands, Pakistan, South Africa; Women - Pool A: Australia, China, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain; Pool B - Argentina, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, US.
US entries: Men - did not qualify; Women - Kate Barber, Kayla Bashore, Lauren Crandall, Rachel Dawson, Kelly Doton, Katelyn Falgowski, Jesse Gey, Carrie Lingo, Angie Loy, Caroline Nichols, Lauren Powley, Dina Rizzo, Dana Sensenig, Keli Smith, Tiffany Snow, Amy Tran.
What to look for: Since the US hasn't been represented in field hockey since the 1996 Games in Atlanta, a podium finish is unlikely. But having Walpole's Rizzo, a national team member since 1997, and goalie Tran, the only American named to the 2006 and '07 WorldHockey All-Star teams, should help the US be competitive. The Netherlands have the men's and women's World Players of the Year in Teun de Nooijer and Minke Booij, and both Dutch teams are expected to finish high after taking home silver from Athens.
US entries: Men - Raj Bhavsar, Joe Hagerty, Jonathan Horton, Justin Spring, Kevin Tan; Women - Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel, Samantha Peszek, Alicia Sacramone, Bridget Sloan
What to look for: How do you improve on nine medals? The Americans had an astounding showing in Athens, winning both all-around titles (Paul Hamm and Carly Patterson) as well as both team silvers. Competing against the Chinese in their own gym will be daunting, though, and the US has a weaker men's team without Paul Hamm, whose comeback was ended by untimely hand and shoulder injuries after he'd been put on the roster, and his brother, Morgan, who withdrew Thursday because of an ankle ailment. Still, the world champion women could win seven medals by themselves and four of them could be gold. They'll be favored in the team event, all-around (Johnson), floor exercise (Johnson), and balance beam (Liukin), and Winchester native Sacramone should be good for medals on floor and vault. The rebuilding men made a huge leap at last year's global meet, jumping from 13th to fourth, but getting on the podium will be a challenge with the Chinese, Japanese, and Russians blocking the way.
US by event
Men's floor exercise: With the Hamm brothers withdrawn and Guillermo Alvarez missing the team, it's a depleted event. Hagerty is the best available.
Men's horizontal bar: Losing the Hamm brothers hurts - Paul won the silver in 2004 and Morgan lost the Athens bronze on a tiebreaker - but Hagerty is solid.
Men's parallel bars: Spring takes over as top man in Paul Hamm's absence, with Bhavsar a capable No. 2.
Men's pommel horse: With former world medalist Alexander Artemev failing to make the squad, it's the Yanks' worst event. Bhavsar will have to step up in Morgan Hamm's absence.
Men's still rings: Tan, who just missed making the world podium, is by far the best guy, backed by Horton.
Men's vault: The top man at trials (Sean Golden) didn't make the team. So it's Spring and Bhavsar.
Women's floor exercise: A fantastic 1-2 punch with Johnson and Sacramone, who won gold and silver at the world meet.
Women's uneven bars: Liukin is a three-time world medalist and Memmel a former global champion.
Women's balance beam: Liukin is a two-time world titlist here and both Memmel and Johnson are rock-steady.
Women's vault: Sacramone is a three-time global medalist on the runway and Johnson is a flyer, too.
Preliminary groups: Men - Pool A: France, Brazil, China, Croatia, Poland, Spain; Pool B: Russia, South Korea, Iceland, Germany, Denmark, Egypt; Women - Pool A: Angola, China, France, Kazakhstan, Norway, Romania; Pool B: Brazil, Germany, Hungary, Russia, South Korea, Sweden.
US entries: Men - did not qualify; Women - did not qualify.
What to look for: This is the third straight Olympics the US will not be represented in this event. The Croatian men won gold in Athens by squeaking past Germany, 26-24, in the gold medal game. Both Croatia and Germany finished 9-1 in the 2007 World Championships, so a rematch is a strong possibility. The Denmark women won gold the last three Games, but they failed to qualify for Beijing. Russia, the 2007 women's world champion, is the new favorite.
US entries: Men - Daniel McCormick (+100 kg), Brian Olson (90 kg), Ryan Reser (73 kg), Travis Stevens (81 kg), Taylor Takata (66 kg), Adler Volmar (100 kg), Taraje Williams-Murray (60 kg); Women - Valerie Gotay (57 kg), Ronda Rousey (70 kg), Sayaka Matsumoto (48 kg).
What to look for: With 58 medals, Japan has owned this event. It seemed like the rest of the world was catching up until Japan won eight golds in Athens. Once again, Japan is favored in almost every category. America's best chance is Rousey, who resides in Wakefield. Rousey competed in Athens while still in high school and won the Birmingham World Cup last year. Four-time Olympian Jimmy Pedro has trained Wakefield's McCormick the last two years. Williams-Murray is another Pedro protege.
US entries: Men - Eli Bremer, Sam Sacksen; Women - Margaux Isaksen, Sheila Taormina.
What to look for: Taormina, 39, is back for her fourth Olympics, but first in the pentathlon. She won a gold medal in swimming (800 freestyle relay) in 1996 and competed as a triathlete in 2000 and '04. Egypt's Aya Medany and Great Britain's Heather Fell are medal contenders. Former US Air Force captain Bremer won the Pan American Championships in 2006 and '07 to earn a spot in Beijing, but he'll have to outlast the traditionally successful eastern Europeans, which this year means the Czech Republic's Libor Capalini and Russia's Illia Frolov.
Men's single sculls: Ken Jurkowski
Women's single sculls: Michelle Guerette
Men's double sculls: Elliot Hovey, Wes Piermarini
Women's double sculls: Megan Kalmoe, Ellen Tomek
Men's lightweight double sculls: did not qualify
Women's lightweight double sculls: Jen Goldsack, Renee Hykel
Men's quadruple sculls: Scott Gault, Matt Hughes, Jamie Schroeder, Sam Stitt
Women's quadruple sculls: Jen Kaido, Lindsay Meyer, Lia Pernell, Margot Shumway
Men's pair: Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss
Women's pair: Anna Cummins, Portia McGee
Men's four: David Banks, Giuseppe Lanzone, Brett Newlin, Paul Teti
Men's lightweight four: Mike Altman, Will Daly, Tom Paradiso, Patrick Todd
Men's eight: Marcus McElhenney, Josh Inman, Bryan Volpenhein, Dan Walsh, Steven Coppola, Micah Boyd, Wyatt Allen, Beau Hoopman, Matt Schnobrich
Women's eight: Mary Whipple, Caryn Davies, Caroline Lind, Susan Francia, Anna Cummins, Elle Logan, Anna Goodale, Lindsay Shoop, Erin Cafaro
What to look for: The US men's eight made a historic breakthrough in Athens, winning gold after a four-decade drought. Is this finally the women's time? The Romanians have claimed three golds in a row but the Americans come in as world champs and could win for the first time against a full Olympic field. And Guerette, a two-time global medalist, could become the first US women's sculler in 20 years to make the podium. The US men face a tough title defense against their Canadian neighbors, but they belong on the stand. If the men's quad can spring a surprise, it'll be a solid Games for the oarsfolk.
US entries: Men - Ben Barger, Graham Biehl, Andrew Campbell, John Dane, John Lovell, Stuart McNay, Charlie Ogletree, Zach Railey, Chris Rast, Austin Sperry, Tim Wadlow; Women - Sally Barkow, Debbie Capozzi, Amanda Clark, Carrie Howe, Sarah Mergenthaler, Nancy Rios, Anna Tunnicliffe.
What to look for: This year, the RS:X replaces the Mistral in the windsurfing class, one-person dinghies were added in the men's and women's groups, and the Finn and Laser boats have switched to an open class boat and a men's class boat, respectively. Boston's McNay is in the 470 class and Beverly's Wadlow is in the 49er class, but the Australians are favored in both categories. Tunnicliffe seems like a lock for a podium finish in the Laser Radial. The star of the whole event may be Great Britain's Ben Ainslie, who is back for his fourth Olympics. Ainslie has won gold (2000) and silver (1996) in the Laser, and gold in the Finn (2004).
US entries: Men - Michael Anti, Brian Beaman, Walton Eller, Matthew Emmons, Bret Erickson, Dominic Grazioli, Vincent Hancock, Jeff Holguin, Sean McLelland, Jason Parker, Keith Sanderson, Stephen Scherer, Daryl Szarenski, Jason Turner; Women - Jamie Beyerle, Elizabeth Callahan, Emily Caruso, Corey Cogdell, Sandra Fong, Kimberly Rhode, Brenda Shinn, Rebecca Snyder.
What to look for: The US has several returning gold medalists, including two-time double trap champion Rhode and Athens rifle prone champ Emmons, but home-field advantage could be big as China is expected to bag the most medals. Du Li could be the Games' first gold medalist, in the women's air rifle final tomorrow morning. The 10m air rifle discipline will feature a pair of New Englanders: Scherer, a 19-year-old from Billerica who was a first-team All-American at Army last year, and Caruso, a native of Fairfield, Conn. China's Zhu Quinan broke Parker's world record in the 10m air rifle in Athens. Hancock could medal in the men's skeet.
Preliminary groups: Men - Group A: Argentina, Australia, Ivory Coast, Serbia; Group B: Japan, Netherlands, Nigeria, US; Group C: Belgium, Brazil, China, New Zealand; Group D: Cameroon, Honduras, Italy, Republic of Korea; Women - Group E: Argentina, Canada, China, Sweden; Group F: Brazil, Germany, Republic of Korea, Nigeria; Group G: Japan, New Zealand, Norway, US.
US schedule: Men - Aug. 7, Japan; Aug. 10, Netherlands; Aug. 13, Nigeria; Women - Aug. 6, Norway; Aug. 9, Japan; Aug. 12, New Zealand.
US entries: Men - M Freddy Adu, F Jozy Altidore, M Michael Bradley, F Charlie Davies, M Maurice Edu, M Benny Feilhaber, GK Brad Guzan, M Stuart Holden, D Patrick Ianni, M Sacha Kljestan, F Brian McBride, M Dax McCarty, D Michael Orozco, D Michael Parkhurst, F Robbie Rogers, GK Chris Seitz, M Danny Szetela, D Marvell Wynne; Women - GK Nicole Barnhart, M Shannon Boxx, D Rachel Buehler, D Laurie Chalupny, F Lauren Cheney, D Stephanie Cox, M Tobin Heath, M Angela Hucles, F Natasha Kai, M Carli Lloyd, D Kate Markgraf, D Heather Mitts, M Heather O'Reilly, D Christie Rampone, F Amy Rodriguez, GK Hope Solo, M Lindsay Tarpley, M Aly Wagner.
What to look for: US Men's soccer coach Peter Nowak is counting on ''overage'' players (the Olympics are an under-23 tournament, with three exceptions per team), including the Revolution's Parkhurst. Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Brian McBride (Chicago Fire), and Michael Parkhurst (Revolution). Europe-based Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), Michael Bradley (Heerenveen), and Benny Feilhaber (Derby County) key the midfield. Former Boston College striker Charlie Davies could be a factor in reserve. The US is playing with Japan, The Netherlands, and Nigeria. The US women has set standards for women's soccer since the early '90s and had been among the gold medal favorites to win the Olympic title, before an opening game 2-0 loss to Norway broke a 22-game (21-0-1) unbeaten streak. Pia Sundhage, who coached the Boston Breakers to the WUSA regular-season title in 2003, has revamped the team since replacing Greg Ryan after the US finished third in the '07 Women's World Cup. Angela Hucles, a former Breaker, and Natasha Kai are expected to compensate for the loss of all-time leading scorer Abby Wambach (broken leg). Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd, Heather O'Reilly, and Lindsay Tarpley drive the midfield. Former Breaker Kate Markgraf leads the defense, which is compensating for the loss of Lori Top defender Chalupny, injured in a second-minute collision with goalkeeper Hope Solo against the Norwegians.
Participants: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Netherlands, US, Venezuela.
US schedule: Aug. 12, Venezuela; Aug. 13, Australia; Aug. 14, Canada; Aug. 15, Japan; Aug. 16, Chinese Taipei; Aug. 18, China.
US entries: LHP Monica Abbott, OF Laura Berg, INF Crystl Bustos, INF Andrea Duran, RHP Jennie Finch-Daigle, UT Tairia Flowers, 3B Vicky Galindo, 2B Lovieanne Jung, OF Kelly Kretchsman, UT Lauren Lappin, OF Caitlin Lowe, OF Jessica Mendoza, C Stacey Nuveman, LHP Cat Osterman, C Jenny Topping, SS Natasha Watley.
What to look for: Calling the US the overwhelming favorite is like calling the desert dry. Combine the Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens Games and the US outscored its opponents, 117-16, including a 51-1 margin in 2004. Osterman went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in Athens, and Watley, who will bat leadoff, hit .400. Australia and especially Japan should pose a challenge. Japan won bronze in Athens and finished runner-up in the 2006 World Championships and the 2007 World Cup. But while Japan has a strong pitching staff (righthander Yukiko Ueno is back after throwing the first perfect game in Olympic history in Athens), its offense can struggle. Australia, which took silver in Athens, is led by Stacey Porter, a corner infielder who hit four home runs and slugged .920 in the '06 World Championships. It's a three-dog race, but the greyhound is wearing red, white, and blue.
MEN'S 50-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 21.28, Eamon Sullivan, Australia (2008)
US entries: Garrett Weber-Gale, Ben Wildman-Tobriner
What to look for: The Australians have yet to win gold in the breathless dash but Sullivan is one-tenth of a second ahead of the rest of the world. With two-time champion Gary Hall Jr. not on the team, Weber-Gale is the top Yank. He should make the podium, but he'll need to drop a tenth to overtake France's Amaury Leveaux.
MEN'S 100-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 47.50, Alain Bernard, France (2008)
US entries: Weber-Gale, Jason Lezak
What to look for: A French favorite? Bien sur. Bernard will be the first man from his country to win this race if he can hold off Sullivan, who's a just a hand's length behind, and Italian world champion Filippo Magnini. No American has claimed gold since 1988, but Weber-Gale looks strong for bronze.
MEN'S 200-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 1:43.86, Michael Phelps, US (2007)
US entries: Phelps, Peter Vanderkaay
What to look for: In Athens, this was the only individual gold medal Phelps didn't collect, coming in third behind Ian Thorpe and Pieter van den Hoogenband. This time, he's head and shoulders above the field and he could pull clubmate Vanderkaay along to a medal.
MEN'S 400-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 3:40.08, Ian Thorpe, Australia (2002)
US entries: Larsen Jensen, Vanderkaay
What to look for: With two-time champion Thorpe retired, Aussie countryman Grant Hackett is the heir apparent. Jensen will give him a go, though, and if Vanderkaay can push past South Korea's Park Tae Hwan and Tunisia's Ouesana Mellouli the Americans could put two men on the stand for the first time at a non-boycotted Games since 1976.
MEN'S 1,500-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 14:34.56, Grant Hackett, Australia (2001)
US entries: Vanderkaay, Jensen
What to look for: Hackett is going for a record third straight title but the Yanks won't make it easy for him, nor will Polish world titlist Mateusz Sawrymowicz. Vanderkaay, the surprise trials victor, is three seconds faster than Hackett this year and Jensen was fewer than two seconds behind the Aussie when he won silver in Athens.
MEN'S 100-METER BACKSTROKE
World record: 52.89, Aaron Peirsol, US (2008)
US entries: Peirsol, Matt Grevers
What to look for: The US has owned this event since 1996 and Peirsol, who set the world mark at trials, is odds-on to repeat ahead of Germany's Helge Meeuw.If Grevers can hang in, there'll be two American flags for the first time since 1992.
MEN'S 200-METER BACKSTROKE
World record: 1:54.32, Ryan Lochte, US (2007) and Peirsol (2008)
US entries: Peirsol, Lochte
What to look for: Peirsol will be favored to pull off the double in the backstroke, as he did in 2004. But Lochte, who lost by just two-100ths at trials, will push him to the wall again for a star-spangled sweep ahead of Austrian world medalist Markus Rogan.
MEN'S 100-METER BREASTSTROKE
World record: 59.13, Brendan Hansen, US (2006)
US entries: Hansen, Mark Gangloff
What to look for: Hansen was the man to beat in Athens, but Japan's Kosuke Kitajima knocked him off. Hansen will be favored in the rematch, and he'll need to be at the top of his game to be the first US winner since 1992.
MEN'S 200-METER BREASTSTROKE
World record: 2:07.51, Kosuke Kitajima, Japan (2008)
US entries: Scott Spann, Eric Shanteau
What to look for:
Kitajima was a clear favorite to defend his title even before Hansen failed to make the team in the event. He's two seconds ahead of Australia's Brenton Rickard and should cruise. If Spann hopes to medal, he'll have to get under 2:10. Shanteau, recently diagnosed with testicular cancer, is the sentimental favorite.
MEN'S 100-METER BUTTERFLY
World record: 50.40, Ian Crocker, US (2005)
US entries: Phelps, Crocker
What to look for: Could be a repeat of Athens, where Phelps touched out Crocker by four-100ths in his closest victory. Unlike then, Phelps is the favorite and he could break Crocker's world mark. France's Frederick Bousquet has the best chance to bust up a US sweep.
MEN'S 200-METER BUTTERFLY
World record: 1:52.09, Phelps (2007)
US entries: Phelps, Gil Stovall
What to look for: Phelps won this shoulder-searing race last time and he's a body length ahead of the field now. If he can pull Stovall with him ahead of Greece's Ioannis Drymonakos, it'll be the first American sweep since 1976.
MEN'S 200-METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
World record: 1:54.80, Phelps (2008)
US entries: Phelps, Lochte
What to look for: Phelps and Lochte were 1-2 in Athens, 1-2 at last year's world meet, and 1-2 at trials, where Phelps set the global mark. They'll be 1-2 again in Beijing, a couple of seconds ahead of Hungary's Laszlo Cseh.
MEN'S 400-METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
World record: 4:05.25, Phelps (2008)
US entries: Phelps, Lochte
What to look for: It'll be Phelps's first gold medal and he'll have to sweat for it. Lochte was fewer than a second behind him at trials, where Phelps took nearly a second off his own world record. Cseh is their top challenger, but the Yanks should sweep the event for the fourth straight time.
MEN'S 400-METER FREESTYLE RELAY
World record: 3:12:46, US (2006)
US entries: Phelps, Weber-Gale, Lezak, Cullen Jones, Nathan Adrian, Grevers, Wildman-Tobriner
What to look for: If the US doesn't win - and it hasn't since 1996 - Phelps's shot at eight golds vanishes early, as it did in Athens, where the Americans were third in their weakest-ever showing. Though the Yanks are world champs, the French have a better time this year.
MEN'S 800-METER FREESTYLE RELAY
World record: 7:03.24, US (2007)
US entries: Phelps, Vanderkaay, Ricky Berens, Klete Keller, Dave Walters, Erik Vendt
What to look for: The US had to go to the wall to beat Australia in Athens, with Keller touching out Ian Thorpe. The Americans still have the same quartet and they're still the world's best by a mile. The Aussies and Canadians are well in the backwash. North Easton's Vendt, who didn't make the team in an individual race but will swim the prelims, gets his first gold medal at his third Games.
MEN'S 400-METER MEDLEY RELAY
World record: 3:30.68, US (2004)
US entries: To be determined
What to look for: The Americans never have lost this race at the Games and they'll win easily unless they get DQed, which they did in the prelims at the world meet. Peirsol will give them a lead and his mates will take it from there, with the Australians and Japanese in their wake.
WOMEN'S 50-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 23.97, Libby Trickett, Australia (2008)
US entries: Dara Torres, Kara Lynn Joyce
What to look for: With Dutch two-time champ Inge de Bruijn having motored on, Trickett (who was Lenton when she won Athens bronze) is the heir apparent. Torres made the podium during her first renaissance eight years ago, but she'll need to be at least one-10th quicker than she was at trials (24.25) to do it again.
WOMEN'S 100-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 52.88, Trickett (2008)
US entries: Natalie Coughlin, Lacey Nymeyer
What to look for: The Aussies own this event the way they did during the Dawn Fraser days of the '50s and '60s. Trickett and Cate Campbell could go 1-3 around Germany's Britta Steffen. Coughlin won bronze last time, but she'll need to be faster to avoid the first podium shutout for the US in two decades.
WOMEN'S 200-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 1:55.52, Laure Manaudou, France (2007)
US entries: Katie Hoff, Allison Schmitt
What to look for: Manaudou rules the event, but the US has a good chance for two medals from Hoff and Schmitt, who'll need to outrace Italy's Federica Pellegrini to accomplish that for the first time since 1972 at a non-boycotted Games.
WOMEN'S 400-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 4:01.53, Federica Pellegrini, Italy (2008)
US entries: Hoff, Kate Ziegler
What to look for: Manaudou is favored to repeat, but she'll have to fight off Pellegrini and Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak, the returning silver medalist. The Americans usually get a medal here and Hoff will be very much in the chase.
WOMEN'S 800-METER FREESTYLE
World record: 8:16.22, Janet Evans, US (1989)
US entries: Hoff, Ziegler
What to look for: Until Japan's Ai Shibataprevailed in Athens, the US had won this event five straight times. The Yanks have a great 1-2 punch in Hoff and Ziegler, but it's a tough field with Manaudou, Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington, and Italy's Alessia Filippi.
WOMEN'S 100-METER BACKSTROKE
World record: 58.97, Coughlin (2008)
US entries: Coughlin, Margaret Hoelzer
What to look for: Nobody ever has won this race twice but Coughlin is odds-on to repeat. This isn't Hoelzer's better event, but she'll still be in the mix with Manaudou, Japan's Reiko Nakamura, and Russia's Anastasia Zueva.
WOMEN'S 200-METER BACKSTROKE
World record: 2:06.09, Hoelzer (2008)
US entries: Hoelzer, Elizabeth Beisel
What to look for: The last American to win this event was Melissa Belote in 1972, but Hoelzer has a great chance after setting the global mark at trials. She'll be chased by defending champion Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, Manaudou, Nakamura, and Beisel, the sprightly 15-year-old from Saunderstown, R.I.
WOMEN'S 100-METER BREASTSTROKE
World record: 1:05.09, Leisel Jones, Australia (2006)
US entries: Rebecca Soni, Megan Jendrick
What to look for: After a bunch of silvers and bronzes, the Australians finally strike gold with Jones and could sweep with Tarnee White. The Americans usually win something here, and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Jendrick can make the podium.
WOMEN'S 200-METER BREASTSTROKE
World record: 2:20.54, Jones (2006)
US entries: Soni, Amanda Beard
What to look for: Though Beard is defending champion, she was happy just to make the team this time. Jones should produce Australia's first gold in the event since 1972, and Soni, the easy trials winner, should also make the stand.
WOMEN'S 100-METER BUTTERFLY
World record: 56.61, Inge de Bruijn, Netherlands (2000)
US entries: Christine Magnuson, Elaine Breeden
What to look for: Figure an Australian sweep with Trickett and Jessicah Schipper, who were 1-2 at the world meet. The US was blanked in Athens for only the second time since 1976, but Magnuson has the goods to grab the bronze.
WOMEN'S 200-METER BUTTERFLY
World record: 2:05.40, Schipper (2006)
US entries: Breeden, Kathleen Hersey
What to look for: Jedrzejczak is the defending champ but world titlist Schipper is the favorite. Breeden has a medal shot, but she'll have to push past returning bronze medalist Yuko Nakanishiof Japan.
WOMEN'S 200-METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
World record: 2:08.92, Stephanie Rice, Australia (2008)
US entries: Hoff, Coughlin
What to look for: Not since Tracy Caulkins in 1984 has an American won this event, and Hoff will have her hands full with Rice and Coventry. She's got golden stuff, though, and Coughlin could slip in for bronze if she's left unwatched.
WOMEN'S 400-METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
World record: 4:31.12, Hoff (2008)
US entries: Hoff, Beisel
What to look for: If Hoff can duplicate her world record time in the trials, she could become the first US victor since Janet Evans in 1988. Rice will be right with her, though, as well as Russia's Yana Martynovaand Beisel.
WOMEN'S 400-METER FREESTYLE RELAY
World record: 3:33.62, Netherlands (2008)
US entries: Torres, Coughlin, Nymeyer, Emily Silver, Julia Smit
What to look for: Could Torres make the difference? The US was beaten in Athens for only the second time since 1956 but they should be within an arm's length of the Australian defenders and the rising Dutch. A Torres-Trickett anchor duel could be one of the meet's best moments.
WOMEN'S 800-METER FREESTYLE RELAY
World record: 7:50.09, US (2007)
US entries: Hoff, Schmitt, Smit, Caroline Burckle, Kim Vandenberg, Christine Marshall
What to look for: Should be a breeze for the US, which never has lost the event at the Games. Hoff and Schmitt both are sub-1:56 racers, which will be more than enough to put away the Germans and French.
WOMEN'S 400-METER MEDLEY RELAY
World record: 3:55.74, Australia (2007)
US entries: To be determined
What to look for: The Australians, who have the fastest woman in the world in everything but the backstroke, are strong favorites to repeat ahead of the US, which had owned the event since the demise of the East German doping machine. The Americans still are solid for silver, several seconds ahead of the Chinese.
US entries: Brooke Abel, Janet Culp, Kate Hooven, Christina Jones, Rebekah Kim, Meghan Kinney, Andrea Nott, Annabelle Orme, Jillian Penner, Kim Probst.
What to look for: Russia has won the last two team golds and the last two duet golds. Japan has done the same with silver. In an effort to win its first medal, China hired Japan's top coach, Masayo Imura. The host country's best medal chances are in the duet with star twins Jiang Tingting and Wenwen. The US won two bronzes in Athens and Nott is the sole returning team member. Nott will join Jones in the duet, America's best chance for a podium finish.
US entries: Men - David Zhuang; Women - Chen Wang, Crystal Huang, Gao Jun.
What to look for: The Chinese rule this sport with such command it's a forgone conclusion who will be standing on the podium. The world's four top-ranked men and five top-ranked women are Chinese, and the host country is favored in all four events. It'll be a surprise if any non-Asian country wins a medal, but America is sending two natives of China in Jun and Wang. Jun won silver at the 1992 Barcelona Games, but she is 39 now and it will be tough for her to overmatch the 20-something Chinese phenoms.
US entries: Men - Mark Lopez (featherweight), Steven Lopez (welterweight); Women - Charlotte Craig (flyweight), Diana Lopez (featherweight).
What to look for: The US will send four members of the Lopez clan to Beijing - three to compete, older brother Jean to coach - and there's a good chance they could bring home three medals. The first trio of family members to compete for the same country in the same sport since 1904 is led by the oldest sibling, Steven, the two-time defending gold medalist, four-time world champion, and one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People." Like the Lopezes, Craig is also favored to reach the medal stand.
US entries: Men - James Blake, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Robby Ginepri, Sam Querrey; Women - Lindsay Davenport, Liezel Huber, Serena Williams, Venus Williams.
What to look for: With the Williams sisters, the US will likely win gold somewhere. They will have an easier path to the gold in singles with Russia's Maria Sharapova on the sidelines. The Bryan brothers are a good bet to win the first men's doubles medal for the US since 1988. Andy Roddick decided to focus on the US Open rather than play in Beijing, which sets up a potential rematch of this year's epic Wimbledon final between Spain's Rafael Nadal and Switzerland's Roger Federer. Andre Agassi (1996) was the last American to win gold in men's singles.
Men's track & field
MEN'S 100 METERS
US entries: Tyson Gay, Walter Dix, Darvis Patton
What to look for: Gay says he'll be fully recovered from a strained left hamstring. But even healthy, he'll have trouble contending with the Jamaican duo of current world record-holder Bolt and former world record-holder Asafa Powell.
MEN'S 200 METERS
US entries: Dix, Shawn Crawford, Wallace Spearmon
What to look for: With the three fastest 200 times this year, Bolt is the clear favorite. And his quest for gold becomes easier without defending world champion Gay, who didn't qualify in this event. The Americans will battle for second and third.
MEN'S 400 METERS
US entries: LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner, David Neville
What to look for: Wariner is a man possessed after finishing second at the US trials to Merritt. He doesn't want to make the same mistake again with a gold medal to defend.
MEN'S 800 METERS
US entries: Nick Symmonds, Andrew Wheating, Christian Smith
What to look for: Vermont's Wheating won't medal, but his finishing kick will be fun to watch in the early rounds. Sudan's Abubaker Kaki is the only runner under 1:43 this year, making him a favorite for gold.
MEN'S 1,500 METERS
US entries: Bernard Lagat, Lopez Lomong, Leonel Manzano
What to look for: With 2004 Olympic champion El Guerrouj retired, Lagat can upgrade the silver he won for Kenya in Athens.
MEN'S 3,000-METER STEEPLECHASE
US entries: Anthony Famiglietti, William Nelson, Joshua McAdams
What to look for: Kenyans boast five of the six fastest times in the event this year, all six if you count Bahrainian Taher Tareq Mubarak, who was born in Kenya as Denis Kipkurui Keter.
MEN'S 5,000 METERS
US entries: Lagat, Matt Tegenkamp, Ian Dobson
What to look for: Lagat will be looking to repeat the double gold accomplished by El Guerrouj in 2004, but it will be tough to keep up with his former Kenyan countrymen after running the 1,500.
MEN'S 10,000 METERS
US entries: Abdi Abdirahman, Galen Rupp, Jorge Torres
What to look for: This event should come down to the Kenyans and Ethiopians. The race took on extra intrigue when Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie said he would focus solely on this event and skip the marathon (for which he holds the world record) because of pollution concerns.
MEN'S 110-METER HURDLES
US entries: David Oliver, Terrence Trammell, David Payne
What to look for: For the Chinese, this is the most anticipated final of the Olympics with 2004 gold medalist Liu Xiang attempting to defend his title. He lost his world record to Robles in June.
MEN'S 400-METER HURDLES
US entries: Bershawn Jackson, Kerron Clement, Angelo Taylor
What to look for: The US could sweep this event, considering they own all but one of the 11 fastest times this year.
MEN'S HIGH JUMP
US entries: Jesse Williams, Andra Manson, Dustin Jonas
What to look for: Defending champion Stefan Holm from Sweden could take home gold again, while the three Americans are medal contenders.
MEN'S LONG JUMP
US entries: Trevell Quinley, Brian Johnson, Miguel Pate
What to look for: Panama's Irving Saladino brings the best jump of the year (28-7) into the competition. Quinley won at trials with a leap of 27-5 1/4.
MEN'S TRIPLE JUMP
US entries: Aarik Wilson, Kenta Bell, Rafeeq Curry
What to look for: Great Britain's Phillips Idowu has his sites set on winning gold and breaking former teammate Edwards's world record.
MEN'S POLE VAULT
Derek Miles, Jeff Hartwig, Brad Walker
What to look for: Walker won the 2007 world outdoor title at 19-2 3/4. The 40-year-old Hartwig qualified for Beijing after a no-height at the US trials four years earlier.
US entries: Leigh Smith, Mike Hazle, Breaux Greer
What to look for: Greer failed to advance to the finals at the US trials because of a rotator cuff injury, but he made the team anyway because he met the "A" standard with an American-record 299-6 last year. It's doubtful Greer will show the form that won bronze at the 2007 World Championships, but you never know what to expect from the colorful competitor.
US entries: Ian Waltz, Michael Robertson, Casey Malone
What to look for: Estonia's Gerd Kanter and Lithuania's Virgilijus Alekna are favorites for top honors. Iranian Ehsan Hadadi could contend for a medal.
MEN'S SHOT PUT
US entries: Reese Hoffa, Christian Cantwell, Adam Nelson
What to look for: If every American avoids fouling, there is a good chance for a US sweep. The Americans' order of finish, however, is too close to call.
MEN'S HAMMER THROW
US entry: A.G. Kruger
What to look for: Ivan Tsikhan of Belarus has thrown significantly farther than his competitors this season. Hungary's Krisztian Pars will be his main threat.
MEN'S 4 x 100-METER RELAY
US entries: Gay, Dix, Patton, Travis Padgett, Rodney Martin, Leroy Dixon
What to look for: Since American and Jamaican sprinters have dominated the 100 this year, it is only natural those countries will battle for gold in the relay.
MEN'S 4 x 400-METER RELAY
US entries: Merritt, Wariner, Neville, Reggie Witherspoon, Calvin Smith, Darold Williamson
What to look for: The US has owned this event and this Olympics should be no different, especially with the world's top two 400 runners, Wariner and Merritt, on the team.
US entries: Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein, Brian Sell
What to look for: Hall has an outside shot at a medal. Kenya will be looking for its first gold in the event.
MEN'S 20K RACE WALK
US entry: Kevin Eastler
What to look for: Morozov is favored to lead the Russian team in a sweep.
MEN'S 50K RACE WALK
US entry: Philip Dunn
What to look for: There could be another Russian sweep here with Nizhegorodov leading the way.
US entries: Bryan Clay, Trey Hardee, Tom Pappas
What to look for: Clay, Hardee, and Pappas established this year's highest point totals at the US trials. Coming off the 2008 World Indoor championship, Clay could easily improve upon the silver he won at Athens.
Women's track & field
WOMEN'S 100 METERS
US Entries: Muna Lee, Torri Edwards, Lauryn Williams
What to look for: With World Champion Veronica Campbell-Brown failing to qualify, the race opens up for Muna Lee and Torri Edwards. But don't forget Jamaican Kerron Stewart or count Lauryn Williams, who always performs best in the biggest races.
WOMEN'S 200 METERS
US Entries: Allyson Felix, Muna Lee, Marshevet Hooker
What to look for: Competing in one individual event instead of doubling as hoped, both Allyson Felix and Campbell-Brown will bring their best and extra motivation to the track, making it a two-woman duel for gold.
WOMEN'S 400 METERS
US Entries: Sanya Richards, Mary Wineberg, Dee Dee Trotter
What to look for: Returning from illness that derailed her 2007 campaign, Sanya Richards is the favorite for gold. A pair of JamaicansRosemarie Whyte and Novlene Williams-Millswill be her toughest competition.
WOMEN'S 800 METERS
US Entries: Hazel Clark, Alice Schmidt, Nicole Teter
What to look for: Kenyan Pamela Jelimo has run five of the seven fastest times this year. Not bad for a 19-year-old. The only question is how the teenager will handle the pressure and tactics of Olympic competition.
WOMEN'S 1500 METERS
US Entries: Shannon Rowbury, Erin Donohue, Christin Wurth-Thomas
What to look for: Ethiopian-turned-Bahrainian Jamal Maryan Yusuf is a favorite, but she seemed nervous about Shannon Rowbury running the 1500 in Paris three weeks ago. Rowbury finished second to Yusuf in a personal best 4:00.33 and could surprise the competition with a smart race.
WOMEN'S 3000-METER STEEPLECHASE
US Entries: Anna Willard, Lindsey Anderson, Jennifer Barringer
What to look for: Women's steeplechase will be contested for the first time at the Olympics. The history-making win will likely go to either a RussianGulnara Samitova-Galkina or Tatyana Petrovaor a KenyanEunice Jepkorir.
WOMEN'S 5,000 METERS
US Entries: Kara Goucher, Jennifer Rhines, Shalane Flanagan
What to look for: World record holder Tirunesh Dibaba is going for double gold in the 5,000 and 10,000. She should have enough to pull out a victory in the 5000, but countrywoman Meseret Defar will make it tough.
WOMEN'S 10,000 METERS
US Entries: Flanagan, Goucher, Amy Begley
What to look for: Marblehead-product Shalane Flanagan will have her best chance to medal in the 10,000, and third place could come down to a battle with 2007 World Championship bronze medalist Kara Goucher.
WOMEN'S 100-METER HURDLES
US Entries: Lolo Jones, Damu Cherry, Dawn Harper
What to look for: With a win in the 100 hurdles, Lolo Jones could become one of the breakout stars of the Games. The US could finish 1-2 with Jones, then Damu Cherry.
US Entries: Tiffany Ross-Williams, Queen Harrison, Sheena Tosta
What to look for: The absence of Australian and two-time World Champion Jana Rawlinson due to foot surgery means Jamaican Melanie Walker and Tiffany Ross-Williams will likely compete for gold.
WOMEN'S HIGH JUMP
US Entries: Chaunte Howard, Amy Acuff, Sharon Day
What to look for: This is Croatian Blanka Vlasic's competition to win, considering she has the top eight jumps this year. But she has looked tired, rather than sharp, in some recent European meets.
WOMEN'S LONG JUMP
US Entries: Brittney Reese, Grace Upshaw, Funmi Jimoh
What to look for: Brittney Reese enters the competition tied for the fourth and fifth longest jump of the season.
WOMEN'S TRIPLE JUMP
US Entries: Shani Marks, Erica McLain
What to look for: Cuba's Yargelis Savigne has the second, third and fourth longest jumps of the season. Greece's Hrysopiyi Devetzi just edged her out for the top spot on the year's best list.
WOMEN'S POLE VAULT
US Entries: Jennifer Stuczynski, April Steiner, Erica Bartolina
What to look for: Yelena Isinbayeva has set 12 outdoor world records and three of the top seven vaults this season. Jennifer Stuczynski has the other four. At the US trials, Stuczynski proved she can overcome nerves, struggles with technique and a shaky start to pull out a big performance.
US Entries: Kara Patterson, Kim Kreiner
What to look for: The Czech Republic's Barbora Spotakova and Germany's Christina Obergfoll have outperformed world record holder Osleidys Menendez in a trend that could continue in Beijing.
US Entries: Aretha Thurmond, Suzy Powell-Roos, Stephanie Brown Trafton
What to look for: While Russian Darya Pishchalnikova is among the favorites, her countrywoman and defending 2004 gold medalist Natalya Sadova could make things interesting, especially since she just returned from a steroid ban.
WOMEN'S SHOT PUT
US Entries: Michelle Carter, Kristin Heaston, Jillian Camarena
What to look for: Belarus' Nadezhda Ostapchuk has four of the top five throws this season, and the other top throw is from countrywoman Natallia Mikhnevich, not reigning World Champion and rival Valerie Vili of New Zealand.
WOMEN'S HAMMER THROW
US Entries: Jessica Cosby, Amber Campbell, Loree Smith
What to look for: Cuba's Yipsi Moreno will be looking to improve upon her silver medal performances at the 2004 Olympics and 2007 World Championships.
WOMEN'S 4x100-METER RELAY
US Entries: Lee, Edwards, Lauryn Williams, Angela Williams, Mechelle Lewis, LaShaunte'a Moore
What to look for: With the US and Jamaica boasting the best 100 runners, the gold will come down to the two friendly rivals.
WOMEN'S 4x400-METER RELAY
US Entries: Richards, Wineberg, Trotter, Monique Henderson, Natasha Hastings, Ebonie Floyd
What to look for: It will be déjà vu after the 4x100 with the US and Jamaica again battling for gold.
US Entries: Deena Kastor, Magdalena Lewy Boulet, Blake Russell
What to look for: Heat, humidity and air quality could play a big factor and, as a result, give the Chinese team a big advantage, including 2007 World Championship silver medalist Zhou Chunxiu. Kastor handled the conditions in Athens well enough to win bronze and is again a medal contender.
WOMEN'S 20K WALK
US Entries: Joanne Dow
What to look for: There is a local rooting interest with Joanne Dow hailing from Manchester, N.H., but her best time this year is 10 minutes behind the top time by golf medal favorite Russian Olga Kaniskina.
US Entries: Hyleas Fountain, Jacquelyn Johnson, Diana Pickler
What to look for: After winning her third consecutive World Championship last year, Sweden's Carolina Kluft decided not to defend her 2004 Olympic title, giving Hyleas Fountain has a good chance of taking gold.
US entries: Men - Chris Estrada; Women - Erin Blanchard.
What to look for: First introduced at the Olympics in 2000, the US will compete in the event for the first time. They could surprise with a medal, but oddsmakers like China for a podium finish after Chinese athletes won half the individual medals at the 2007 World Championships. Blanchard came out of retirement for this event, but the favorite is Russia's Irina Karavaeva, who won gold in Sydney but failed to qualify in Athens. Canada is formidable with two-time medalist Karen Cockburn and Rosannagh MacLennan.
US entries: Men - Hunter Kemper, Matt Reed, Jarrod Shoemaker; Women - Laura Bennett, Julie Ertel, Sarah Haskins.
What to look for: Sudbury's Shoemaker was the top American finisher at the World Cup in Beijing in September and is competing in his first Olympics. His World Cup finish was surprising considering he beat the two-time Olympian Kemper. Kemper, the first triathlete to be featured on the cover of a Wheaties box, did not medal in Athens and Sydney, and he will need a strong effort to beat out New Zealand's Bevan Docherty, a medal favorite. The story of this event is Spain's Javier Gomez, who finished 2007 ranked No. 1 in the world and was once barred from competing in the event by his country because of an abnormal heart valve. In the women's discipline, Australia is strong with Emma Snowsill and Emma Moffatt. Bennett, an alternate in Sydney and Athens, is the most likely US podium finisher.
Preliminary groups: Men - Pool A: Bulgaria, China, Italy, Japan, US, Venezuela; Pool B: Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Poland, Russia, Serbia; Women - Pool A: China, Cuba, Japan, Poland, US, Venezuela; Pool B: Algeria, Brazil, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, Serbia.
US schedule: Men - Aug. 10, Venezuela; Aug. 12, Italy; Aug. 14, Bulgaria; Aug. 16, China; Aug. 18, Japan; Women - Aug. 9, Japan; Aug. 11, Cuba; Aug. 13, Venezuela; Aug. 15, China; Aug. 17, Poland.
US entries: Men - Lloy Ball, Gabe Gardner, Kevin Hansen, Tom Hoff, Rich Lambourne, David Lee, Ryan Millar, Reid Priddy, Sean Rooney, Riley Salmon, Clay Stanley, Scott Touzinsky; Women - Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, Lindsey Berg, Heather Bown, Nicole Davis, Kim Glass, Tayyiba Haneef-Park, Jennifer Joines, Ogonna Nnamani, Danielle Scott-Arruda, Stacy Sykora, Logan Tom, Kim Willoughby.
What to look for: Brazil won the men's gold in Athens and it's favored again with two-time Olympian Gilberta "Giba" Godoy Filho. The Russian women's team has been strong lately with silver medals in Sydney and Athens as well as its first world title in 2006, but the US team welcomes back two-time Olympian Tom, who tried beach volleyball for two years but decided to return to indoor.
Preliminary groups: Men - Pool A: Australia, Canada, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, Spain; Pool B: China, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Serbia, US; Women - Pool A: China, Italy, Russia, US; Pool B: Australia, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands.
US schedule: Men - Aug. 10, China; Aug. 12, Italy; Aug. 14, Serbia; Aug. 16, Croatia; Aug. 18, Germany; Women - Aug. 11, China; Aug. 13, Italy; Aug. 15, Russia.
US entries: Men - Brian Alexander, Tony Azevedo, Ryan Bailey, Layne Beaubien, Brandon Brooks, Peter Hudnut, Tim Hutten, JW Krumpholz, John Mann, Rick Merlo, Merrill Moses, Jeff Powers, Jesse Smith, Peter Varellas, Adam Wright; Women - Betsey Armstrong, Patty Cardenas, Kami Craig, Erika Figge, Natalie Golda, Alison Gregorka, Brittany Hayes, Jaime Hipp, Heather Petri, Jessica Steffens, Moriah van Norman, Brenda Villa, Lauren Wenger, Elsie Windes.
What to look for: The US women's team has been on the rise after winning bronze in Athens and then gold at the 2007 World Championships, but Russia is a threat. Expect a showdown in the final if defending Olympic champion Italy and '05 world champion Hungary don't interfere. Azevedo captains the US men's team and led all players at the '07 worlds with 19 goals. The Americans aren't expected to medal, but they have beaten Croatia and Australia this year.
US entries: Men - Casey Burgener (105+ kg), Kendrick Farris (85 kg), Chad Vaughn (77 kg); women - Carissa Gump (63 kg), Cheryl Haworth (75+ kg), Melanie Roach (53 kg), Natalie Woolfolk (63 kg).
What to look for: Russia could snag five or more medals, including gold in the 94 kg and 105+ kg disciplines. China won 11 medals in 15 events at the 2006 World Championships, and the host nation should do well even without defending Olympic champion Zhang Guozheng, who was left off China's roster. Vaughn is American men's best chance for a medal as the five-time national champion returns to the Games after a 19th-place finish in Athens. Gump (won '05 and '07 Collegiate National Championships) and Woolfolk (won US National Championships from '05-'07) are threats to medal, but Haworth is the star of the women's team. The three-time Olympian won bronze in Sydney.
US entries: Men - Ben Askren (freestyle, 74 kg), Dremiel Byers (Greco-Roman, 120 kg), Henry Cejudo (freestyle, 55 kg), Daniel Cormier (freestyle, 96 kg), T.C. Dantzler (Greco-Roman, 74 kg), Jake Deitchler (Greco-Roman, 66 kg), Andy Hrovat (freestyle, 84 kg), Spenser Mango (Greco-Roman, 55 kg), Steve Mocco (freestyle, 55 kg), Doug Schwab (freestyle, 66 kg), Brad Vering (Greco-Roman, 84 kg), Adam Wheeler (Greco-Roman, 96 kg); Women - Ali Bernard (72 kg), Clarissa Chun (48 kg), Randi Miller (63 kg), Marcie Van Dusen (55 kg).
What to look for: Only two Americans return from the Athens team, Vering and Cormier. Russia dominated in 2004, winning five golds, and is picked to win nearly that many in the men's freestyle this year. Mocco replaces Athens gold medalist Cael Sanderson as the Olympian with a sterling college record. America's Greco-Roman team will need help after legendary heavyweight Rulon Gardner retired after winning bronze in Athens, but Byers was Gardner's teammate and training partner and is likely to medal. Japan could have a gold medal sweep in women's freestyle, but Van Dusen scored silver in Athens and could upset Japan gold medalist Saori Yoshida, just as she did in the 2008 World Cup, snapping Yoshida's 119-match winning streak.