6 "New Faces" Of The Olympics

With every Olympics season comes a fresh batch of athletes considered the “new face” of their sport (inevitably replacing the “new faces” of just a few years ago). Here's a look at a few American women the media has already labeled the defining personas of the London Games.

Missy Franklin, Swimming

Missy Franklin, Swimming

Image by Al Bello / Getty Images

Missy Franklin, a 17-year-old from Colorado, is the first American woman to swim in seven events during the same Olympics game. NBC says she's the "new face everyone will love." The Guardian calls her the "future of women's swimming" and distinguishes her from other hyped-up swimmers — including "new face of men's swimming" Ryan Lochte: "If we're going to talk about Missy Franklin, let's get one thing straight first. Missy Franklin is not the next Michael Phelps. Nor is Missy Franklin the next Natalie Coughlin. And Missy Franklin is most certainly not the next Ryan Lochte. Missy Franklin is the first Missy Franklin."

The problem with The Guardian's assessment is that in 2008, Michael Phelps was also the first Michael Phelps. Coughlin was also the first Coughlin. But every four years, we need a new darling to hinge our hopes on. Someone like Couhglin goes from being called "Olympic star" to "seasoned Olympic veteran," while someone like Franklin becomes the "next big thing." Blame it on the transient nature of the games — Olympians rarely stay at their athletic peak for more than four years, let alone eight. As Franklin's coach Todd Schmitz told Knox News, "Michael and Natalie Coughlin will be done after these Olympics, and we'll need a new face for swimming."

Jordyn Wieber, Gymnastics

Jordyn Wieber, Gymnastics

Image by MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

Jordyn Wieber became the "new face" of her shortly after Beijing 2008, an Olympics ruled by Shawn Johnson, the gold medalist who was declared the "new face of women's gymnastics" at age 15, but recently retired at age 20.

Since winning gold at the American Cup as a junior in 2009, Wieber has racked up a series of medals and become a world champion. Now, the Bleacher Report predicts that the 17-year-old gymnast will "steal the show" in London, while Shawn Johnson spends her free time sleeping in and going to family weddings.

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