Top 10 American athletes to watch in Rio

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

During Sunday's Closing Ceremony, London will officially pass the Olympic flag on to Rio de Janeiro, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic. In just 1,456 days, our eyes will turn to Rio. In no particular order, here are the top Americans (and in one case, American team) to focus on:

Claressa Shields, boxing: Though she already has a gold medal, Shields is 17. Her speed and striking prowess can continue to mature as she does.

Elizabeth Price, gymnastics: To give you an idea of how deep U.S. women's gymnastics is, Price took fifth at the Olympic trials and has a vault just a bit smaller than McKayla Maroney's. She was an alternate for this year's team, and with some polish, Price will lead the next group of American gymnasts.

[ Photos: Crazy things rhythmic gymnasts do ]

Anthony Davis, basketball: As the youngster of the men's basketball team, Davis has not seen much playing time. However, the fact that he was named to the team out of college over more established stars shows how USA Basketball sees potential in Davis. By Rio, he'll be a four-year veteran of the NBA and should be a bona fide leader of the team.

Haley Anderson, swimming: The USC junior won silver after a sprint at the end of the marathon open water swim. At just 19, she is one to watch both in the open water and in long-distance swims in the pool.

Men's four rowing team: A young and relatively inexperienced group earned a bronze medal for the U.S. The Olympics were their first international competition. Can you imagine what Scott Gault, Charlie Cole, Henrik Rummel and Glenn Ochal will do with four years together?

Maggie Steffens, water polo: At 19, she already is an Olympic gold medalist and a sophomore at Stanford. With the experience of playing with one of the NCAA's best programs under her belt in Rio, Steffens will try to lead the U.S. to a repeat gold.

April Ross, beach volleyball: Though Misty May-Treanor has retired, three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings will continue on and need a partner. Don't be surprised to see her pair up with April Ross, the silver medalist who lost to Walsh and May-Treanor in the finals.

Kristian Ipsen, diving: He's 19 years old and won bronze in synchronized diving in London. If he can avoid injury, Ipsen can challenge for both synchronized and individual medals in diving.

[ Photos: Olympic bloopers ]

Galen Rupp, track and field: The 26-year-old had one of the memorable performances of the Olympics as he made a late move to take the silver in the 10,000m behind Great Britain's Mo Farah. Rio will be the perfect showcase for his next move.

Seth Kelsey, fencing: Coming into the Olympics seeded 17th, Kelsey knocked off the world champion and the No. 1 seed on the way to a fourth-place finish in London. He's not as young as the rest of this group, but with the long careers of fencers, expect to see him in Rio.

Who will you be watching in Rio? Tell us in the comments.

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