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16 Team USA athletes to cheer at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021

These U.S. athletes are ready to shine at the Tokyo Games.

The countdown to Tokyo is ticking, and while you probably know a few athletes to watch (hello, Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky!) there are so many more standouts from the U.S. team.

As we get ready for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, still officially called the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, here's a quick guide to 16 of our favorite U.S. athletes to cheer on Team USA.

Team USA Athletes
Katie Ledecky, Noah Lyles, Simone Biles, and Caeleb Dressel are four top athletes to watch from Team USA.TODAY Illustration / Getty Images / NBC

Simone Biles

Biles is the star of the women's Olympic gymnastics team, if not the entire Olympics. In Rio, she won five Olympic medals, four of them gold. If she wins two more medals, she'll tie Shannon Miller as the most decorated Olympics gymnast in history. Four medals? Simone Biles will officially be the most decorated gymnast of all time — counting Olympics and world competitions.

In Tokyo, Biles will be competing with five other Team USA gymnasts: MyKayla Skinner (at 27, the oldest gymnast to compete for the U.S. since 2004), Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee, Jade Carey and Grace McCallum.

Katie Ledecky

We remember the Rio Olympics, when Ledecky, now 24, met her hero Michael Phelps. These days, he might be asking for her autograph.

Ledecky now holds world records in the women’s 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events and is also the defending Olympic champion in the 200m free. If she wins four golds at the Tokyo Olympics, she would become the most decorated female Olympic swimmer ever.

Caeleb Dressel

The U.S. men's swimming team star could win six or more gold medals in Tokyo. Dressel won two relay golds in Rio, and is now a 13-time world champion.

Noah Lyles

Track and field's Noah Lyles is the reigning 200m world champion. His time of 19.50 in July 2019 was the best run since Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake at the 2012 Olympics. Tokyo will be his first Olympics.

Simone Manuel

Swimmer Simone Manuel tied for gold in the 100m freestyle in Rio, but after being diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, she was surprisingly eliminated in the 100m free semifinal at the Olympic Trials. She did win the 50m freestyle final, and will be a top contender in that event for gold in Tokyo.

Sydney McLaughlin

At this year's Olympic Trials, hurdler Sydney McLaughlin beat defending Olympic and reigning world champion Dalilah Muhammad and set a new record in the 400m hurdles. She was the first woman to run the event in under 52 seconds.

April Ross and Alix Klineman

Beach volleyball's April Ross is returning to the Olympics with a new partner, Alix Klineman, replacing Kerri Walsh Jennings. Ross won silver in London with Jennifer Kessy and bronze in Rio with Jennings.

Megan Rapinoe

The leader of the U.S. Women's National Team is one of the most dominant soccer players in the world. She's also a powerhouse in the fight for equal pay, and she's engaged to fellow Olympic standout Sue Bird. Other soccer standouts include Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle.

Sue Bird

The five-time Olympic basketball player is one of the Olympics flag-bearers and will become the oldest U.S. basketball player and the oldest woman to play at age 40 when she competes in her fifth Olympics in Tokyo. Bird and teammate Diana Taurasi are hoping to become the first players to win a fifth Olympic gold medal. She's also a four-time WNBA champion and 11-time WNBA All-Star.

Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix, a nine-time Olympic medalist, is making her fifth Olympic appearance in Tokyo, and first as a mother, competing in the 400 meters and possibly the women's 4x400 and the mixed gender 4x400, a new event. She's been an advocate for maternal leave for athletes and teamed with Athleta to fund grants for child care for athletes. If she medals, she could tie Carl Lewis' record for the most Olympic medals by an American track and field athlete.

Cat Osterman

The American softball player came out of retirement when softball was reinstated to the Olympics. At 38, she will be competing in her third Olympics, after helping the U.S. team to gold in 2004 and silver in 2008.

Nyjah Huston

Nyjah Huston is a favorite for gold when street skateboarding makes its debut at the Tokyo Olympics. He's one of the most decorated skateboarders of all time, with13 X Games gold medals and three consecutive world skateboarding championships.

John John Florence

Surfing is also making its debut in Tokyo, and Florence, the current world No. 3, was Team USA’s final qualifier, edging out 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.

Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe
Carissa Moore surfing on June 20, 2021 in Lemoore, California.Pat Nolan / World Surf League via Getty Imag

Carissa Moore

On the women's side, Carissa Moore is a four-time world champion and currently world No. 1 after landing a historic air reverse at a competition in Australia.

Hannah Roberts

BMX freestyle is also debuting at the Tokyo Games, and 19-year-old Hannah Roberts is favored for gold. Roberts has won gold at three world championships and was the top-ranked rider in 2018, 2019 and 2020.