From left, U.S. Olympians Sunisa Lee, Caeleb Dressel and Noah...

From left, U.S. Olympians Sunisa Lee, Caeleb Dressel and Noah Lyles. Credit: AP; Getty Images

When the world already recognizes you as the greatest athlete in your sport, the Olympics serve more as a coronation than competition.

Those athletes — Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles and Allyson Felix, to name a few — already are in the record books, the Olympic endorsement pipeline, and the collective minds of Americans who regularly watch and enjoy the Summer Olympics.

So, who's got next? Who will swim, run or jump out of your screens and into your advertisements, social media timelines, talk shows, reality competition TV shows and more once the Olympics conclude?

Here's a look at some potential breakout stars for Team USA, listed in alphabetical order, as the Tokyo Olympics take place from July 23 through Aug. 8.

Michael Andrew

Michael Andrew at the U.S. Olympic swim trials.

Michael Andrew at the U.S. Olympic swim trials. Credit: Getty Images/Tom Pennington

Sport: Swimming

Events: Men's 100-meter breaststroke, 200 individual medley IM and 50 freestyle

Olympic experience: None

Michael Andrew, 22, brings a unique distinction to his first Olympics. He is the first American swimmer to compete in the Games in both breaststroke and an event other than a medley. Andrew turned pro at age 14, the youngest American to do so. He said his earliest memory of swimming was watching Michael Phelps at the 2008 Olympics. Andrew was 9 at the time.

Caeleb Dressel

Caeleb Dressel at the U.S. Olympic swim trials.

Caeleb Dressel at the U.S. Olympic swim trials. Credit: Getty Images/Al Bello

Sport: Swimming

Events: Men's 50- and 100-meter freestyle, 100 butterfly, various relays

Olympic experience: Won gold in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay and swam in the 4x100 medley relay heats to win a second gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

He already has two gold medals, so how exactly is Caeleb Dressel on this list of potential breakout stars of the 2020 Olympics? Well, because for the better part of 16 years, USA Swimming's list of male stars began with Michael Phelps and then most people stopped reading after that. (Sorry, Ryan Lochte and Nathan Adrian.) Dressel, 24, qualified for the Tokyo Games in three individual events, and with the relays, could swim in as many as seven events. He has the potential to match Phelps and Mark Spitz as the third male swimmer to win three individual gold medals in one Olympics. If that happens, and if mixed in with some relay gold, Dressel will be all over your TV screens and device streams.

Nyjah Huston

Olympic skateboard Nyjah Huston.

Olympic skateboard Nyjah Huston. Credit: Getty Images/Sean M. Haffey

Sport: Skateboarding

Events: Men's street

Olympic experience: None

How does someone with nearly 5 million followers on Instagram qualify for "breakout star" status? When that someone — Nyjah Huston — is skateboarder -— a highly niche audience — and his sport figures to get a bump in attention as it makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. Huston, 26, is a 12-time gold medalist at the X Games and won four world skateboarding championships.

Sunisa Lee

U.S. Olympic gymnast Sunisa Lee will compete for Auburn after...

U.S. Olympic gymnast Sunisa Lee will compete for Auburn after the Olympics. Credit: Getty Images/Harry How

Sport: Gymnastics

Events: Specialties include uneven bars and balance beam

Olympic experience: None

Can anyone really challenge Simone Biles, the American gymnast with no less than four moves named after her, in Tokyo? Perhaps Sunisa Lee can. An incoming freshman at Auburn, Lee outscored Biles overall on the last day of the U.S. Olympic trials, the first time that has happened since 2013.

Olympic women's gymnastics has a way of creating stars, in part based on history (Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Gabby Douglas, Biles, to name a few) and in part based on the way they soar through the air and contort their bodies at such a young age. The storytellers at NBC won't have to dig too deep to craft a compelling narrative for Lee, 18. She broke her foot last year, an injury that would have ended her Olympic dreams if they weren't postponed and added some drama to this year's Games. She lost an aunt and an uncle to COVID-19, and her father was injured in a fall and paralyzed from the chest down the day before she left for the 2019 national championships.

Noah Lyles

Noah Lyles went to T.C. Williams High School in Virginia,...

Noah Lyles went to T.C. Williams High School in Virginia, the school featured in the Denzel Washington-led movie, "Remember The Titans." Credit: Getty Images/Patrick Smith

Sport: Track and field

Events: Men's 200-meters, perhaps relays as well.

Olympic experience: None

Usain Bolt's Olympic run ended in 2016 after three straight gold medals in the 200 meters, making way for a new face to emerge from the track. Enter Noah Lyles, 24, who enjoys art, music and Lego construction — and also happens to be the reigning world champion in this even. His personal best of 19.50 is the eighth fastest time ever, with only three people running faster (Jamaica's Bolt and Yohan Blake, and USA's Michael Johnson). If he somehow breaks Bolt's 19.19 world record, hello, Wheaties box.

Sydney McLaughlin

Sydney McLaughlin qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics at age...

Sydney McLaughlin qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics at age 16, making her the youngest American track and field Olympian since Carol Lewis in 1980.  Credit: Getty Images/Maddie Meyer

Sport: Track and field

Events: Women's 400-meter hurdles

Olympic experience: Finished fifth in the 2016 semifinals in Rio.

Yeah, but what about an encore?

At the Olympic trials last month, the New Jersey-raised Sydney McLaughlin set the world record in the 400-meter hurdles at 51.9 seconds. In doing so, she became the first woman to run this race in under 52 seconds. McLaughlin, 21, also outran the Queens-raised Dalilah Muhammad, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and the previous world record holder at 52.16 seconds. This has all the makings of a wonderful on-track rivalry for folks to soak up in the second week of the Games, with a little bit of geographical banter thrown for fun. Can Muhammad, 31, take back the spotlight when it shines brightest by besting the woman who took her world record? Yes, she can. And if that comes with another world record on top of that, cue up the commercials and posters and paid appearances. Who needs fans in the stands to enjoy this race on your screens?

Regan Smith

U.S. Olympic swimmer Regan Smith will attend Stanford after the...

U.S. Olympic swimmer Regan Smith will attend Stanford after the Tokyo Games.  Credit: Getty Images/Harry How

Sport: Swimming

Events: Women's 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter butterfly.

Olympic experience: None

The 19-year-old sophomore at Stanford holds the world record in the 200 backstroke and is the former world record holder in the 100 back. (She's also part of Team USA's world record 4-x-100 medley relay.) When Smith was 14, she swam against gold medalist Missy Franklin, her childhood idol, in the 2016 Olympic trials in the 100 back. Three years later, Smith broke Franklin's world record in the event.

Should Smith bring golds back to her home in Minnesota and become a known commodity, don't expect many headphones endorsements for her. She doesn't like to wear them before a race, she said. "I think I feed off the energy in the crowd really well," she told, "and that motivates me more than any song."

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