The 7 Most Buzzed-About Stars at the 2012 London Olympics
Sunday marks the close of yet another exciting Olympic Games, but before the torch is extinguished in London, Us Weekly is looking back at just a handful of the most stand-out athletes and achievements.
Ryan Lochte: A resounding "jeah" is in order for what has been the 27-year-old's most successful Olympics yet. The sexy single swimmer grabbed golds in the 400m Individual Medley (IM) and the 4x200m Freestyle Relay, two silvers in the 4x100, Freestyle Relay and 200m IM, respectively, and a bronze in the 200m Backstroke.
Michel Phelps: After getting off to a shaky start, the 27-year-old chiseled champion went out with a bang for his last Olympics. He nabbed two silver medals for the 4x100m Freestyle Relay and the 200m Butterfly, then stepped it up and won gold medals in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay, the 200m IM, the 100m Butterfly and the 4x100m Medley Relay. His six medals brought his total Olympic winnings to 22, making him the most-decorated Olympian of all time.
Gabby Douglas: Days after making history with her Fab Five teammates when they won the gold for the Women's Team Finals, the 16-year-old Virginia Beach native came out on top at the Women's All-Around Finals. While being praised by fans and celebs like Beyonce, the Vampire Diaries cast and Gabrielle Union for her victory as the first African-American woman to nab the honor, the teen found herself making headlines over her hair. "They have no idea what they're talking about," the gymnast told Us of her critics.
Missy Franklin: The 17-year-old high school senior came out on top during the women's 100m Backstroke event on July 30. As if her first gold medal wasn't enough of a victory in itself, Justin Bieber recorded a video message for her. "I was flipping out when I saw it!" the Aurora, CO teen told Us. Franklin's winnings also include a 4x100m Freestyle relay bronze and three golds for the 4x200m Freestyle Relay, the 200m Backstroke, and the 4x100m Medley Relay.
Serena Williams: The 30-year-old tennis ace made history with her first-ever Olympic gold Women's Singles win, which locked down her Golden Slam achievement (winning all four tennis Grand Slam titles - the Australian, French and U.S. Opens plus Wimbledon, plus an Olympic gold). She and sister Venus Williams won the Women's Doubles gold as well.
Claressa Shields: To further the States' girl power, this 17-year-old's gold Women's Boxing victory made her the first-ever USA female to achieve such a feat, not to mention she's the second-youngest fighter to come out on top across both men and women.
Ashton Eaton: The 24-year-old showed the utmost grit and perseverance when he won the gold medal for the decathlon, which he set the world record for at June's Olympic Trials. "So Ashton doesn't have to sound selfish or self-centered, Ashton is the best athlete to ever walk the planet – hands down," Eaton's teammate Trey Hardee, who came in second, told the Associated Press.