The 2012 Summer Olympics are almost here and like any previous Games, there will be dozens of memorable moments to watch. But, this year there’s a monumental occurrence to recognize even before the games get started. For the first time in the history of the games, women outnumber men on the U.S. Olympic Team. Of the 530 members of the team, 269 are women and 261 are men. Being that this year also marks the 40-year anniversary of Title IX, it’s a meaningful milestone. So who are these talented, determined, dedicated Women You Should Know® representing the red, white and blue competing for gold?
Household Names Kerri Walsh Jennings & Misty May-Treanor, Beach Volleyball
The duo is shooting for a third-straight gold.
Lolo Jones, Track & Field
Making no excuses for her mistakes in 2008, Lolo is determined to make her mark this year.
Serena Williams & Venus Williams, Tennis
These two powerhouses will be defending their unbeaten streak in Olympic doubles as they seek a third gold medal.
Soon to be Stars Jen Kessy & April Ross, Beach Volleyball
The lesser-known women’s duo could be the ones to upset stars May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings.
Queen Underwood, Boxing
This Lightweight will be one of three U.S. women competing in boxing for the first time as an Olympic event.
Missy Franklin, Swimming
This 17-year-old is taking her sport by storm and could haul in seven medals in London.
Reed Kessler, Equestrian
The youngest-ever U.S. Olympic show jumper will lead the two-time defending gold champion show jumping team.
Carmelita Jeter, Track & Field
Known to be the best sprinter that we haven’t heard of yet; she will be competing in the 100m sprint in an attempt to become the fastest woman in the world.
Sarah Robles, Weightlifting
Robles can lift as much as 570 pounds and is considered the strongest woman in America. She’s one of our best chances for gold.
Repeat Offenders Mariel Zagunis, Fencer
The best American fencer of this or any recent generation, the two-time Olympic gold medalist has single handedly put U.S. fencing on the map.
Allyson Felix, Track & Field
Often compared to legend Wilma Rudolph, this silver medal winner is aiming for multiple sprint medals in London.
Amy Acuff, Track & Field
After a brief retirement from the sport this 36-year-old decided to attempt a comeback which clearly paid off, this will be her fifth consecutive Olympic games.
Corey Cogdell, Shooting
Corey is a trapshooter who won bronze in the women’s Trap event at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Team Players Soccer – The U.S has won the last two Olympic gold medals, after taking silver in 2000 and winning the inaugural gold medal for women’s soccer in 1996. Abby Wambach, has been the center of the U.S. soccer team for nine years and is one of the best players in the world. Alex Morgan, the 23-year-old is the team’s most powerful scoring threat.
Gymnastics – One of the Games’ most popular sports can be counted on to have some of its biggest controversies. Led by reigning world all-around champion Jordyn Wieber, the U.S. women are strong contenders for team gold and individual medals this year.
Basketball – the U.S. women’s team is a sure bet to win its fifth Olympic title in a row (and seventh in nine chances). No women’s team in any sport has achieved this feat in the Olympic arena. Maya Moore, who knows what it is to be a champion will finally get her shot at Olympic gold medal.
Off the Beaten Path Kayla Harrison, Judo
Kayla has a strong chance to bring home the first-ever U.S. gold in the sport.
Kim Rhode, Shooting
She may not be a household name, but with a strong performance in London she can become the first American to win an individual medal in five straight Games.
Evelyn Stevens, Cycling
The former Wall Street investment banker took up the sport as a hobby in 2008, then quit her day job to race full time; she heads to London with a real shot at making the medal podium.
Gwen Jorgensen, Triathlon
A former competitive runner and swimmer, she was recruited by U.S. triathlon officials who convinced her to take up training for the event. It paid off, because she earned a spot on her first Olympic team this year.
Julie Zetlin, Rhythmic Gymnastics
Zetlin will be making her first Olympic appearance at these Games. She recently competed at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011 where she won all-around gold and individual gold in ball.
Mariya Koroleva & Mary Killman, Synchronized Swimming
The U.S. synchronized swimming team didn’t qualify for the Games this year, but Mariya and Mary qualified for the duets competition. These two are our only hope at medaling in this sport.
Whether they compete in the ring, on the beach, or out in the field, we expect we’ll see many of them on the medal stand! Go Team USA!