US athletes may exceed '9 golds won in London'
THE United States will field a powerhouse athletics team for next month's Rio Games, even though several big names crashed out in the just-completed American trials.
Five reigning Olympic champions - and a total of 10 athletes with the best performances in the world in their specialities - were named on Monday to a 127-member US team for the Aug 5-21 Games.
"It's one of the strongest ever," respected international athletics expert Mel Watman told Reuters.
"They could well exceed the nine gold medals obtained at the London Olympics of 2012."
Decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton, triple jumper Christian Taylor, pole vaulter Jenn Suhr and long jumper Brittney Reese will be back for a shot at a second gold, with Allyson Felix, the London 200m champion, going for gold in the 400m.
World silver medallist Justin Gatlin again will have to face six-time Jamaican Olympic champion Usain Bolt in the sprints.
A solid mixture of experienced athletes and newcomers will be going to Rio with members ranging in age from 41-year-old 5,000m winner Bernard Lagat making his fifth Olympic team to 16-year-old Sydney McLaughlin, who became the fastest teenager ever in the 400m hurdles.
An amazing 66 per cent - 84 athletes - are first time Olympians.
"The US team under-performed at the world champs last year but this time they should fare very well," Watman said.