Flanagan owns the American record in the 10,000m and won the bronze medal in that event at the 2008 Olympics. Now she’s trying to follow in the footsteps of Deena Kastor, who moved up to the marathon and won a bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She’s already been following in the footsteps of her parents. Flanagan’s mother, Cheryl Treworgy, held the world record in the marathon from 1971-73, while her father, Steve Flanagan, was once a 2:18 marathoner who represented the U.S. at the World Cross Country Championships.
Age at the Olympics: 31
Trains in: Portland, Ore.
PR: 2:25:38 (2012 U.S. Olympic trials, Houston)
Recent results: 2012 Lisbon Half Marathon, first, 1:08:52
Previous Olympics: 2008: bronze medal, 10,000m; 2004: 11th, 5,000m semifinals
Olympic outlook: If you’re going to put your money on one American to win a medal in the marathon in London, Shalane Flanagan seems to be the best bet. The ferocious Flanagan has a reputation for being able to brutalize her body in a way that most athletes can only dream of, and this rare gift no doubt helped her win the bronze in Beijing despite being waylaid with food poisoning only days before the race. Other reasons to bet on Flanagan? Her runner-up finish at the 2010 New York City Marathon, her debut at 26.2 miles, was the best for an American in 20 years, and she set an Olympic trials record when she won in Houston with a 2:25:38 in what was only her second marathon.