Top Nine Greatest Team USA Olympians
By Lou DiPietro
The London Olympics are over, and America has been introduced to a handful of new heroes - like swimmer Missy Franklin, gymnast Gabby Douglas, and many of the young stars on the U.S. Women's Soccer team - that will hopefully be the "big names" to watch in Rio in 2016.
A lot can happen between now and then, of course, but no matter how great a single Games an athlete may have, the true test of greatness is whether or not they can keep it up four (or more) years later.
Sure, you may always remember the likes of Kerri Strug, Mary Lou Retton, or Bruce Jenner forever, but the extraordinary athletes listed below are at least a sampling of those "best of the best" who didn't limit their moments to one Olympiad.
Torres competed in five Olympic Games, which is unprecedented for a swimmer as is, but it's a feat made more impressive by the fact that she sat out 1996 and 2004. And, this past summer, at age 45, she came within a tenth of a second from making it six.
Once thought of as the World's Fastest Man, Johnson won 400-meter gold in 1992, 1996, and 2000 - the latter making him the oldest gold medalist at any track event shorter than 5000-meters in Olympic history - and also won gold with a pair if 4x400 relay teams.
MISTY MAY-TREANOR & KERRI WALSH JENNINGS
Misty and Kerri have won three straight beach volleyball golds without losing a match - and in fact never even lost a set until this year. Both were also 2000 Olympians, as May-Treanor finished fifth in beach with Holly McPeak and Walsh was on the indoor team that placed fourth.
If not for the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Games in Moscow, Louganis would've been a four-time Olympian, and likely a four-time medalist as well…and yet, most people still only remember him as the guy who whacked his head on the diving board.
THE WILLIAMS SISTERS
Venus (2000) and Serena (2012) have both won singles gold, and together, they won the doubles in 2000, 2008, and 2012. That's a dozen years of Olympic dominance in a sport where most careers don't even last that long.
"Mark the Shark" followed up four medals in Mexico City in 1968 with seven golds (and seven World Records) in Munich in 1972, a total that wasn't surpassed until that Phelps guy stormed Beijing. And to think, Spitz "retired" at 22.
Jackie won six Olympic medals in the heptathlon and long jump over four Olympics from 1984-96, and set a world record in the heptathlon in 1988 that still stands. And in 2000, at age 38, she came within inches of qualifying for a fifth Olympiad.
This Lewis guy was only the best long jumper in the world for over a decade, winning gold in 1984, '88, '92, and '96. Oh, yeah, and he was pretty good at running too, winning five golds and a silver in those years in either the 100m, 200m, or 4x100m relay.
With a record 22 medals and 18 golds, who else could be number one? He says he's done after that record haul, but he'll only be 31 when the Rio games come around…so who says he might not change his mind and go for a quarter-hundo?