The United States is favored to win the total medal count for the sixth consecutive Olympic Games, and the Americans are in good position to claim the most golds in Rio this month.
A good chunk of those medals will come from swimming and track & field events, which are plentiful and always a strength of this country. It’s no secret Team USA is strong in basketball, golf — new to these Olympics — women’s artistic gymnastics, women’s soccer and women’s tennis, too.
But keep an eye on these sports, all of which feature U.S. athletes with a chance to earn gold but don’t receive as much attention in non-Olympic years.
The men’s team, led by Brady Ellison, is in position to medal.
Claressa Shields won gold in London four years ago at 17 years old, and she’s favored to repeat at 165 lbs. Newark, New Jersey native Shakur Stevenson, 19, is the men’s team’s best hope at 123 lbs.
Megan Guarnier is in the mix for gold in road race, and Sarah Hammer may medal in omnium. The U.S. is in the mix for team pursuit, too.
David Boudia looks to repeat in 10-meter platform, plus he and synchronized partner Steele Johnson could wind up on the podium as a pair.
McLain Ward and his teammates should do well in individual and team competition.
The men’s foil and women’s sabre teams are strong. In particular, keep an eye on Alexander Massialas (foil) and Mariel Zagunis (sabre).
Kayla Harrison will look to duplicate her golden victory in London four years ago at 172 lbs.
The men stand a good chance in the four without coxswain, while the women could make waves in single sculls (Gevvie Stone), pair without coxswain and eight.
Matt Emmons (50-meter rifle, three positions), Joshua Richmond (double trap) and Vincent Hancock (skeet) are targeting gold. Kim Rhode is in the mix to reach the women’s skeet podium.
Gwen Jorgensen could be the first triathlete to capture gold for the U.S.
The duo of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross will look to continue U.S. dominance on the beach. On the indoor side, the women’s team is favored to win it all after two consecutive Olympic silvers.
The women’s team is the front-runner to repeat after claiming gold in 2012.
Jenny Arthur (165 lbs.) and Sarah Robles (above 165 lbs.) are in the mix to end a 16-year U.S. drought in the sport.
Jordan Burroughs (163 lbs.) aims for repeat freestyle gold after a successful London Games, while Kyle Snyder (214 lbs.), 20, has a chance at gold himself. Adeline Gray (165 lbs.) and Helen Maroulis (117 lbs.) are strong bets to win their women’s freestyle divisions.