The 2016 Summer Games are nearly here and athletes are preparing to ship out for Rio de Janeiro. There will be plenty of returning names, of course, but the most exciting thing about the Olympics is finding and watching a new generation of unfathomable talent make its mark on a global stage. The following are 12 Americans primed to make the leap to stardom in Brazil. Remember these names when the games begin. They'll be the ones doing Subways television commercials before long.
Devon Allen -- 110-meter hurdles
Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen destroyed the competition and ran the second fastest 110-meter hurdles time in the world for 2016 at his Olympic Trial qualifers in early July. The 21-year-old Phoenix, Arizona native heads into Rio in top form, and will miss several weeks of football in order to compete in the games. Put simply: dude is almost guaranteed to win gold. Book it.
Laurie Hernandez -- gymnastics
At 16-years-old, Laurie Hernandez is the youngest member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team at Rio. The New Brunswick, New Jersey high school student also has the coolest nickname on the team: "Baby Shakira," a name she was given for her dancing background, which she uses to stand out from other gymnasts during the floor segments of competition. So show out for Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas, but keep an eye out for the new girl with moves.
APDavid J. Phillip
Boris Berian -- 800-meter dash
If you haven't heard of Boris Berian yet, prepare to be inundated with his story come Rio, because it's one of the more bizarre and inspiring tales you'll hear. The short version is this: Berian dropped out of college in May of 2014 and began working the day shift at McDonald's. The Colorado Springs native ran and trained at night, and eventually began making headway. Then Nike sued him, only to drop their case due to public sentiment building for Berian. Now he's an Olympian. Great guy? Great guy.
Ibtihaj Muhammad -- Fencing
Ibtihaj Muhammad is primed to destroy pretty much everyone in the women's fencing competition in Rio. The Maplewood, New Jersey product is a three-time All-American fencer out of Duke and will become the first American Olympian to compete in a hijab when she fences for the U.S. in Rio. "I'm just your basic Hijabi Zorro," Muhammad told the New York Times.
Sydney McLaughlin -- track and field
At 16-years-old, Sydney McLaughlin will be the youngest member of the U.S. track team since 1973 coming into Rio. She's very fast, very mature, and she has a lucky blanket she takes with her everywhere--because you can't grow up too quickly.
APMarcio Jose Sanchez
Caeleb Dressel -- swimming
Caeleb Dressel is very, very, very fast at moving his body through water. The 19-year-old Florida Gators swim star has already posted an NCAA record in the 50-yard freestyle, and could make some noise at the 2016 Games. Sure, the fifth return of Michael Phelps to the Olympics will overshadow Dressel for a while, but no one will probably be ignoring him once he does he things and turns swimming into drag-racing.
Steele Johnson -- diving
Excellent name. Excellent hair. Steele Johnson comes into the 2016 Olympics as the heir apparent to three-time Olympian David Boudia. The Purdue Boilermaker student-athlete will compete alongside Boudia, another Purdue alum, in the 10-meter synchronized diving event. I just hope he's eating enough.
Olivia Smoliga -- swimming
Joining the U.S. swim team at the Olympics fo the first time, Olivia Smoliga shocked crowds at the Olympic Trials in June by taking first in the 100-meter backstroke--beating American stars Katie Ledecky and Natalie Coughlin to the wall. Smoliga, 21, will now compete in Rio for a chance at a medal and an opportunity to work her into the greater picture of American swim stars. It's the opportunity Smoliga, a University of Georgia student, has been waiting for ever since missing out on qualifying for the London Games in 2012.
APMark J. Terrill
Mason Finley -- discus
You'll be hard-pressed to miss Mason Finley in Rio. He'll be the giant bear-man slinging metal discs seemingly a half-mile through the air--a feat he's been pulling off since setting a U.S. national high school record with a 236-feet-and-six-inches discus toss. The 25-year-old Buena Vista, Colorado native is likely to medal. Or at least dent the moon.
Clark Smith -- swimming
Learn the name. Love the name. Expect the name. Clark Smith is a first-time Olympian who's torn up the collegiate ranks the last few years with the Texas Longhorns swim team--a veritable petri dish of Olympic swimming excellence. Clark, 21, holds the American record for the 1,000-meter freestyle and won a national title in the 500-meter free. He'll be part of the U.S. 4x200 relay team that's a strong contender for gold in Rio. Also, the dude's like 6'9". You won't be able to miss him.