5 to watch in London

LONDON — With the London Olympics fast approaching, here are five of the athletes worth watching.

Michael Phelps

A no-brainer. After winning a record eight gold medals in Beijing, the 26-year-old American is back for his final big splash before retirement. With a career total of 16 medals, Phelps needs just three more of any color to become the most decorated Olympian in any sport.

Oscar Pistorius

A South African double-amputee athlete, who runs on carbon-fiber blades, Pistorius is looking to make history by becoming the first amputee runner to compete in an Olympics. The "Blade Runner" has already gone under the 400-meter Olympic qualifying time of 45.30 seconds and needs to do it once more at an international meet to be eligible for Olympic selection. Pistorius also plans to run in able-bodied IAAF events in Europe and the United States ahead of the Olympics. He'll compete in the Paralympics, too.


Hiroshi Hoketsu

At the age of 71, the Japanese equestrian will be the oldest competitor in London. Hoketsu has qualified for the individual dressage competition, riding a 15-year-old mare called Whisper. He competed in his first Olympics in 1964 when he was 23. Hoketsu was 67 when he competed in Beijing, finishing ninth in the team event and 35th in the individual competition. He still won't break the record as the oldest Olympian ever. That distinction belongs to Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who was 72 when he won a silver medal at the 1920 Antwerp Games.

Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor

Beach volleyball will be one of the main attractions in London, with the competition taking place at a temporary venue in Horse Guards Parade, a stone's throw from Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. No one will get more time in the spotlight than Walsh and May-Treanor, who won gold medals in Athens and Beijing and are favorites for a third title in London. And, yes, the Americans will still be wearing the standard bikini uniforms — not the more modest attire approved recently by the international volleyball federation.

Lin Dan

Widely considered the greatest badminton player of all time, China's "Super Dan" is a four-time world champion, five-time All England winner and the reigning Olympic gold medalist. Standing in the way of 29-year-old Lin's quest for a second Olympic title will be his main rival, Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. Get ready for a dose of, you guessed it, "Lin-Danity."

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