There are many reasons to be excited about the 2016 Rio Olympics - 292 of them. That's the number of women on the U.S. Olympic team going to Rio this year, more than ever before. For only the second time, women will represent more than half of all U.S. athletes!
Read on to see which athletes we have our eye on. Plus, enter for the chance to win your choice of official Olympics Gear to cheer on Team USA!
NBC Sports reports about the record-breaking amount of women competing this year - the U.S. will have more women competing for a single nation than any country has before.
And with more women competitors going to the Olympics this year, well be watching for their amazing stories and athletic abilities.
Swim fans will be holding their breath in Rio when Katie Ledecky attempts the rare triple for the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle. The only other Olympian to pull this off for all three was Debbie Meyer in 1968. There’s a good chance this 19 year old won’t disappoint as she holds world records in the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyles (the first woman to hold records in 3 distance events since Janet Evans).
Vashti Cunningham keeps it all in the family with her former NFL quarterback father Randall Cunningham acting as her agent. And at just 18 years old, she’s already broken a record becoming the youngest woman to win an IAAF World Indoor high jump championship.
U.S. Olympic fencer Ibitihaj Muhammed is set to break some records and stereotypes of her own. She will be the first U.S. athlete to compete while wearing a hijab. Muhammed has had to deal with her fair share of ridicule and prejudice, being a devout Muslim and one of the few African Americans competing in her sport. Explaining her journey to the Olympics she says, “I feel like I owe it to my community, I owe it to people who look like me and fight struggles every day, to hear something different. It's up to all us to combat these things. I have to speak up because I know there were people before me that did it.”
And as the world pays close attention to gymnasts like the amazing Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas, a young newcomer named Laurie Hernandez is showing a good deal of promise. At just 16, this will be her first year of senior competition. Fans enjoy watching her enthusiasm, difficult routines and upbeat performances. Though she may not be a shoe-in, she has four national championship medals and five other international and domestic competition medals. She also finished second place just behind Biles in the Olympic trials this year.
Women are also killing it in Olympic golf this year with Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller all competing for the U.S. The one and only time women ever competed in this category in the Olympic Games was 116 years ago in 1900. They seem to have excellent chances of breaking even more golf records with both Thompson and Lewis ranked in the top 9 of world and Olympic rankings.
Which Olympic athletes are you most excited to watch? Tell us and you could win a $100 gift card to The Official Team USA Olympic Shop and Store to buy official Olympics gear to cheer on Team USA!
There are two ways to enter:
Simply comment below and tell us the names of athletes you will be cheering for.
Tweet about the giveaway!
Click here to Tweet: "I entered the @SheSpeaksUp Olympics Giveaway to win official #TeamUSA gear! bit.ly/2asCXga"
*One lucky commenter or Tweeter will be chosen at random to receive a $100 gift card to http://www.teamusashop.com. Giveaway is open through August 14th 2016 to U.S. residents at least 18 years of age. Entrants must be a member of SheSpeaks. If you are not a member, click here to join. Winner will be notified by email.
Update: Thanks to all for entering! Congratulations to our winner: SheSpeaks member Irishborn.
We are rooting for Ryan Lochte!
I will be rooting for Laurie Hernandez the gymnast. I hope to win a $100 gift card for Team USA gear. I walk in the morning and this is my work out.
Love all of the Divers and Swimmers. Will be watching Michael Phelps!
I tweeted https://twitter.com/bre631989/status/763579926909976576
We cheer for them all, but mostly Laurie Hernandez, Gymnastics. She is so talented!
I will be cheering for all the American women gymnast but especially for Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez.
I am going to be honest. I do not have a clue of who the athletes are. I have not followed the Olympics at all. However, I am always a fan of anything American team at any sporting event!
Michael Phelps and Laurie Hernandez
Excited for all amazed by those gymnasts!!
Awe I love all of them. They're so amazing and so dedicated. After reading their little bio I can't just chose one to cheer for. I'll be excited for all of them and cheering for them too
I love watching swimming and gymnastics, but we've also been watching some of the cycling and other water events. And my kids love seeing how fast the track and field athletes can run!
Laurie Hernandez is my cousin so of course I want her to get the gold! :) go baby girl win for the family!
I'm looking to watch all USA team members..
I will be cheering for all of them but I am most excited about Katie Ledecky! She is just amazing.