Outlook: Of the 21 competitors in the men's single-handed Finn class, 14 have competed at previous Olympic sailing competitions. Karlo Kuret of Croatia is the only one competing in his third straight Olympics. The men's Star fleet contains the greatest depth of talent and ability. The teams are highly funded, highly trained and highly experienced. Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom of Sweden are the world champs.
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel
When: Aug. 14-22.
Top U.S. athletes: Matt Emmons, Todd Graves, Kim Rhode.
U.S. chances: Emmons, a three-time NCAA rifle champion, will compete in three events, a first in U.S. shooting. Graves, a 41-year-old Army sergeant, will compete in his fourth Olympics.
Outlook: Could Mongolia win its first gold medal? Gundegmaa Otryad, 26, ranked No. 1 in women's air pistol, could make it happen.
-- The Sun
When: Aug. 11-28.
Top U.S. performers: Abby Wambach, Briana Scurry.
U.S. chances: Having won the gold medal in Atlanta and the silver in Sydney, the American women would prefer not to complete the set with a bronze in Athens. World champion Germany as well as China and Sweden are their main challengers for the gold this time. A U.S. medal is virtually a certainty. The U.S. men did not qualify.
Outlook: Argentina comes in as the firm men's favorite.
- Los Angeles Times
When: Aug. 14-23.
Top U.S. performers: Pitcher/third baseman Lisa Fernandez; pitcher Jennie Finch; shortstop Natasha Watley.
U.S. chances: Team USA is seeking its third consecutive gold medal.
Outlook: The U.S. team lost three games in 2000 but rebounded to win five in a row and win the gold medal. Japan, China and Australia beat Team USA at the 2000 Games and should be the top threats again.
-- Orlando Sentinel
When: Aug. 14-21
Top U.S. performers: Other than that Phelps fellow, Ian Crocker, Brendan Hansen and Aaron Peirsol are world-record holders, as are Amanda Beard and Natalie Coughlin.
U.S. chances: The Americans took gold in 14 of the 32 events in 2000. Now the men are drawing comparisons to the landmark 1976 team, talking about winning 12 of their 16 events (13 individual and three relays). The women don't possess that star power, as only Beard and Coughlin are clear favorites.
Outlook: American Gary Hall Jr. seeks a repeat in the men's 50 freestyle. Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands is the world record-holder in the men's 100 freestyle and reigning Olympic champion, but the ageless Alexander Popov beat him at the 2003 worlds. Ian Thorpe owns history's eight fastest times in the 400 freestyle, but false-started at the Australian trials and is defending only because Craig Stevens bowed out. In the 800 freestyle relay, Australia's men are unbeaten since the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships. The women's sprints feature 30-year-old Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands.
- The Sun
When: Aug. 25, 27.
Top U.S. performers: Anna Kozlova and Alison Bartosik in duet; Tammy Crow, Erin Dobratz, Becky Jasontek, Sara Lowe, Lauren McFall, Stephanie Nesbitt, Kendra Zanotto, Bartosik, Kozlova in team.
U.S. chances: The U.S. consistently has finished among the top three teams with this lineup; Kozlova and Bartosik are contenders to finish among the top five duets but not necessarily the top three.
Outlook: The 2000 gold medalists, Olga Brousnikina and Maria Kisseleva, of Russia have moved to team competition and been replaced by an even stronger duet of world champions Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova.
- The Sun
When: Aug. 14-23.
Top U.S. performers: Ilija Lupulesku (men); Gao Jun, Jasna Reed (women).
U.S. chances: Lupulesku is experienced, having won silver in doubles for Yugoslavia in 1988. Reed won a bronze for Yugoslavia in 1988 and Gao won silver for China in 1992.
Outlook: Austrian world champion Werner Schlager will try to prevent a sweep by the Chinese men.
-- Chicago Tribune
When: Aug. 26-29.
Top U.S. performers: 2000 gold medalist Steven Lopez and Nia Abdallah (only athletes to qualify).
U.S. chances: Lopez, who won the gold in Sydney as a featherweight, is now a welterweight and the reigning world champion; he's the favorite in a tough weight class. Abdallah is a relative unknown with only two international competitions prior to Athens.
Outlook: Greece's Michail Mouroutsos was 20 when he won the gold medal in Sydney and became a national hero. Men's heavyweight Pascal Gentil of France won the bronze in Sydney, then won three consecutive World Cup titles (2000-02). Greece's Areti Athanasopoulou will have the hometown crowd behind her in women's featherweight.
When: Aug. 14-24, 29.
Top U.S. performers: Neither the U.S. men nor the U.S. women qualified.
Outlook: Croatia's men won the 2004 world championships, but Germany is the gold-medal favorite. France's women were the 2003 world champs.
- Allentown Morning Call
When: Aug. 15-22.