kevin durant*It’s hard to believe, but the Olympics are only a couple of months away.

Doesn’t it seem like the memories of Beijing – Michael Phelps’ ridiculous streak, those creepily young Chinese gymnasts, the “Redeem Team” bringing the basketball Gold medal back to America – are still fresh in everyone’s minds

The great thing about the Games is that it gives the country an every-four-years opportunity to discover a whole new crop of international sports stars, many of them African-American. So, as the eyes of the world turn on England, who are the best bets to break out across the pond beginning July 27?

* Kevin Durant – With Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard injured, Kobe Bryant finally showing signs of slowing down and LeBron James dogged with playoff questions, there’s a good chance that Durant will come into merry old England as the brightest star in the U.S. Olympic galaxy. If he leads the Americans to the gold over a very good international field, the “who’s the best player in the world?” debate will get even more interesting.

* Walter Dix – This promising sprinter from Florida won Bronze medals in the 100m and 200m at the 2008 Olympics; imagine the attention he could receive if Dix were to upset fastest-man-alive Usain Bolt in either of these events?

* Sydney Leroux – A promising forward on the women’s soccer team, LeRoux scored five goals in a January qualifying match against Guatemala. A good Olympic run could produce Hope Solo-like levels of fame.

* Cullen Jones – One of the true pioneers for African-Americans in the sport of swimming, Jones won a Gold medal in the 4×100 freestyle in Beijing. With all the attention that will be on swimming this year (thanks to Michael Phelps), Jones can become another shining aquatic star.

* Tyson Gay– Another sprinter poised to challenge Usain Bolt’s swiftness, Gay will be looking to rebound from a disappointing 2008 Games.


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