Olympics

Olympians to watch at the London Games

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LONDON (AP)

More Olympians to watch this summer:

BASKETBALL

LeBron James, United States

The three-time NBA MVP won his first league title this year, leading the Miami Heat past the Oklahoma City Thunder in the finals. This will be his third appearance in the Olympics. He helped the U.S. win gold in 2008 and will face increased pressure this summer with the American team depleted by injuries. Twitter handle is (at)KingJames

Tina Charles, United States

The Connecticut Sun center is playing in her first Olympics. She was the third-leading scorer for the U.S. at the 2010 world championship, averaging 10.7 points in 16 minutes. Rookie of the year in the WNBA in 2010 and averaged a league-best 11 rebounds per game last year. Twitter handle is (at)tinacharles31.

SAILING

Ben Ainslie, Britain

With three gold medals and one silver medal since 1996, Ainslie can become the most successful Olympic sailor by winning gold in Weymouth. He would surpass Denmark's Paul Elvstrom, who won four gold medals from 1948-1960. After winning a silver medal in Laser class at Atlanta, Ainslie won gold in 2000 in an epic showdown with Brazil's Robert Scheidt. He then moved up to the bigger Finn class and won gold in 2004 and 2008. Twitter handle is (at)AinslieBen

Anna Tunnicliffe, United States

Born in Doncaster, England, Tunnicliffe's family moved to the U.S. when she was 12. She won gold in Beijing in Laser Radial. Has now switched to women's match racing and is considered the favorite. Crew is Deborah Capozzi of Bayport, N.Y., and Molly Vandemoer of Redwood City, Calif. Twitter handle is (at)atunnicliffe

FIELD HOCKEY

Maartje Paumen, Netherlands

Captain and penalty corner specialist with defending champion, Paumen has only gotten better in the years since netting an Olympic-record 11 goals in Beijing. She was the world player of the year in 2011. Twitter handle is (at)maartjepaumen

Jamie Dwyer, Australia

Scored winning goal in extra time off penalty corner to help Australia to its first men's Olympic gold medal and four years later helped the Kookaburras win bronze. World player of the year record five times in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011. Twitter handle is (at)JamieDwyer01

EQUESTRIAN

Zara Phillips, Britain

The 31-year-old granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II may attract headlines because of her family ties, but she is a former world champion and was in line to compete at the Beijing Games until her horse, Toytown, was injured. Both her parents were British Olympians in equestrian events. Her mother, Princess Anne, competed in Montreal. Her father, Mark Phillips, is a two-time Olympian and gold medalist.

BADMINTON

Lin Dan, China

Regarded as the greatest men's player ever. He has won every major title available to an Asian, including gold at the Beijing Games. Known for his jumping smash. Tattooed on both arms; the right has Chinese writing of his wife's nickname in initials, FF, and ''Until the end of time,'' and the left has five stars, one for each of his biggest titles. Married to Xie Xingfang, the retired two-time world champion and Beijing Olympic silver medalist.

Wang Yihan, China

Reigning world champion. She won seven titles in 2011. This year, beaten in All England Open and Asian finals, but has winning records against teammates Wang Xin and Wang Shixian. Known for her fitness and power.

SHOOTING

David Kostelecky, Czech Republic

Reigning Olympic trap champion, equaled Olympic record in final with a perfect round in a heavy downpour. Said afterward he believed the rain brought him good fortune.

Kim Rhode, United States

Two-time Olympic gold medalist. Youngest female shooting champ in Olympic history at 17 when she won the double trap in Atlanta in 1996. Won her second gold in Athens, sandwiching a bronze in Sydney. Despite women's double trap being discontinued after Athens, Rhode medaled at her fourth successive Olympics with a silver in Beijing in skeet. Has qualified for skeet and trap in London, and could become the first woman to shoot three disciplines in the Olympics, and become the first U.S. athlete to medal in five consecutive games.

WEIGHTLIFTING

Behdad Salimikordasiabi, Iran

At 22, this powerhouse has taken over the mantle as the ''Iranian Hercules'' from retired superheavyweight and double Olympic gold medalist Hossein Rezazadeh. World champion in 2010 and 2011. Big favorite for the superheavyweight gold medal in London. Set new snatch world record at 2011 world championships by lifting 214 kilograms.

Svetlana Tsarukaeva, Russia

Reigning world champion in 63 kg category. World-record holder in snatch. She was among gold medal favorites in 2008 Olympics but bombed out in the snatch without a single successful lift. Was an arm wrestler before switching to weightlifting.

TAEKWONDO

Steven Lopez, United States

Has won a record five world championships as well as Olympic gold medals in Sydney and Athens and a bronze medal at the Beijing Games. He is coached by his older brother Jean. Often uses combination jump kicks aiming for his opponent's head to counter-attack. Once named one of the world's 50 most beautiful people by People magazine, he is one of the oldest taekwondo competitors at 33 but says he has no plans to retire. Twitter handle is: (at)StevenLopezTkd

Karine Sergerie, Canada

First Canadian to win world championship in 2007 and followed it a year later with silver medal at Beijing Games after breaking a toe in her first fight of the day. Currently ranked second in the world. Introduced to karate at age 5 by her police detective father, but switched to taekwondo when it became an Olympic sport.

Tagged: Ben Ainslie, Maartje Paumen, Steven Lopez, Tina Charles, Jamie Dwyer, Lin Dan

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