Athletes you should cheer for at the Olympics

With so many athletes not attending this year’s Olympic Games in Rio (and Starts at 60 isn’t just talking about the Russians) it’s hard to know who to cheer for. However, the Sydney Morning Herald believes there’s no end of talent on offer and has come up with a list of athletes you should cheer for.

From the pool to the basketball court and even the uneven bars, these athletes will make you forget all about the doping dramas and the controversial flaws of the host country.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

Australia has a few superstars in its team these year and the ones you should be looking out for include:

Anna Meares representing Australia in her fourth Olympics and this year the team’s flag-bearer the cycling champion is arguably the Golden Girl of the Games. Already the winner of two Olympic gold medals, Anna will contest the sprint, the team sprint and the keirin in Rio where it’s hopeful she will top the podium in at least one of those events. This girl is one hell of a hard worker and goes into the Games in impeccable shape. Rumour has it Rio will be the 32-year-old’s last games, and after her memorable comeback in Beijing and a well-deserved victory in London, it’s hoped a victory in Rio will be just the farewell she deserves.

Ad. Article continues below.

Shelley Watts will be one of just three Aussie boxers taking to the ring in Rio, and the only woman at that. Women’s boxing only made its debut at the London Games in 2012, but it was praised and apparently more popular than the men’s event. Shelley is a definite medal contender if you listen to what’s being said around the traps.

Cate Campbell will be participating in her third Olympic Games in the swimming events and is the older sister of fellow swimmer and world champion, Bronte. Cate will take on the competition in the sprint freestyle events and she’s a hot chance in the 50m and 100m events. Prior to the Games, Cate broke the 100m world record, which has everyone on edge wondering what she’s going to do next.

Ad. Article continues below.

Fabrice Lapierre reminds us what’s to like about Australian athletics again. The veteran long jumper has had a remarkable lead up to the Rio Games with top four performances at Diamond League events. He won gold at the Commonwealth Games, but you’ll have your fingers crossed that it all falls into place at this year’s Olympics.

Athletes from around the world

It goes without saying that when your home country isn’t competing you should still cheer on the other competitors, but if you want to know who to pay attention to, this list might help.

Usain Bolt is the world’s fastest man, and will be in Rio to defend his 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold medals that were snared in the London Games in 2012. It’s a mind-blowing feat, should he be successful for the second time.

Ad. Article continues below.

Simone Biles is a United States gymnast and the 19-year-old is creating something of a buzz. She’s a world champion, having won eight gold medals in the past two World Championships and is regarded as the favourite to win the individual all-around, balance beam, floor and potentially the vault. Not bad, not bad.

Savenaca Rawaca might be a name hard to get off the tongue, but the Fijian rugby player is a try-scoring sensation. The Fijian team is tipped to take top honours in Rio, and with Savenaca in fine form, this shouldn’t be too difficult an ask.

Kevin Durant will be at Rio on the basketball court playing for the US. He’s a major signing and likely will lead the Americans to gold medal glory.

Lydia Ko will take to the golf course for team New Zealand in Rio. The 19-year-old has scored more than $7 million in prize money on the tour, but the world number one is chasing gold medal glory. It shouldn’t be too hard to find, so long as she keeps the ball out of the rough.

Will you be watching the Rio Olympic Games in August? Which sport/s will you be following?