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NEWS FEATURE Bolt, Phelps, Neymar: Who'll be the star of the Olympics? By Martin Moravec, dpa

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Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Neymar - each of them is a superstar. But will one of them manage to outshine the others at the Olympic Games in Rio? A rundown of the icons jostling for a place in the limelight this August.

Berlin (dpa) - Usain Bolt, Neymar and Roger Federer have long been icons of their respective sports. The Olympic Games provides them another stage on which to shine. An overview of the superstars looking to make their mark in Rio de Janeiro.

USAIN BOLT: Bolt turns 30 on the closing day of the Olympics and he‘ll be hoping to celebrate his birthday with three freshly minted gold medals around his neck. The global poster boy of athletics will compete in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay and will be looking to claim the top prize in each event, as he did in 2008 and 2012.

"I‘ll be more focused than ever before," he warned.

MICHAEL PHELPS: Phelps is the most successful summer Olympian of all time, with 18 gold medals to his name. He wants to end his career with a bang in Rio. "It‘s really important to me to be in the condition to bring things to an end like that," Phelps said.

Phelps‘s presence at the Rio Olympics is remarkable when you consider his story in recent years. After announcing his retirement following the 2012 Olympics in London, Phelps endured a tough time in his personal life. The one-time wunderkind - he won his first Olympic gold at the age of 15 in Sydney - was convicted of drink-driving and spent a time being treated for alcohol problems in a rehab clinic. He will be keen to prove that those dark days are behind him with a memorable swansong in Brazil.

NEYMAR: Neymar‘s injury while playing for Brazil against Colombia in the World Cup 2014 quarter-final was the turning point of the tournament for his team; without him in the side, the hosts collapsed to a scarcely believable 7-1 defeat at the hands of eventual winners Germany in the following round.

It cast a pall over the football-mad country not seen since the infamous loss to Uruguay that cost Brazil the 1950 World Cup and Neymar and co. will are looking to bring smiles to their countrymen‘s faces with their performances at the Olympics.

"We‘ll do everything to bring joy back to the Brazilian people," the Barcelona star said. Olympic gold would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Despite their football pedigree, Brazil have never come out top in the Olympics - the closest they‘ve come was a silver medal in 2012 after they lost out to Mexico in the final.

ROGER FEDERER: The Swiss legend has tasted Olympic gold before, but only in the doubles, which he won at the 2008 Olympics alongside his compatriot Stan Wawrinka. Federer could only claim silver in the men‘s singles in 2012 after being unable to overcome Britain‘s Andy Murray in the final.

Having overcome a knee operation and a back injury, he should be in top form for Rio - he doesn‘t even anticipate that the Zika virus will bother him. "I‘ll use mosquito spray and take all precautions that I have to take," he said.

KEVIN DURANT: After LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) withdrew from the US Olympic basketball squad, the spotlight will be firmly on Durant.

Together with the New York Knicks‘ Carmelo Anthony, Durant is the most prominent member of the squad; indeed, the two are the only US players with any previous Olympic experience, both having already claimed gold medals in the event. Anthony was a winner in 2008, with both players part of the victorious 2012 squad.

KATIE LEDECKY: The American was overshadowed at the 2012 Olympics by her compatriot Missy Franklin, who won four golds in London. Ledecky is the form swimmer this time, however, and after claiming five titles at the World Championships in Kazan in 2015 she‘ll be looking to clean up at Rio.

"She swims like a guy," 11-time Olympic medal-winner Ryan Lochte said. "She‘s so strong in the water. I‘ve never seen a female swimmer like that."



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(23.10.2018 05:46)

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