From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
Q&A Ryan Lochte

At the 2008 Games, Lochte took two gold and two bronze medals. He and friendly rival Michael Phelps are back for a swim-off in two events.

On his relationship with Phelps: I won't call him up like, "Hey buddy. How's practice?" But at a meet, we definitely hang out. He's still my partner in spades.

His training routine: Five to six hours a day, half in the pool, half out, pushing cars, dragging 500-lb. chains.

How he unwinds: Hanging out with my Doberman Carter. We sit, watch TV.

Celeb crush: Blake Lively. She makes my toes curl.

If he weren't an athlete, he'd be ... Designing clothing. That's what I want to do after swimming. I love Ralph Lauren.

On longevity: I've been swimming since I was 8. It's fun every day. There are times I want to lie down and sleep. But I'm happy in the water.

DON'T MISS THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES BEGINNING JULY 27 ON NBC

Where to Spot a Royal

Princess Beatrice

MARATHON

The 23-year-old ran the London race in 2010 with some friends for charity, and may be keeping an eye on the endurance runners.

Princess Kate

FIELD HOCKEY

Kate, 30, plans to follow the sport she played at school, and will likely pop in on some tennis matches as well; sailing is also a favorite.

Prince William

WATER POLO

He donned a Speedo to compete at St. Andrews and, like Kate, is a Team GB ambassador who will be around the Olympic Village.

Prince Harry

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Turning the Horse Guards ground into a beach? "Amazing," says Harry, who plans to watch with his Army pals.

COMPETING

Zara Phillips

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S GRANDDAUGHTER IS A BRITISH OLYMPIAN, LIKE BOTH HER PARENTS. BUT DAD IS NOW WORKING FOR TEAM USA

Bloodlines are everything in horses and royalty. Equestrian Zara Phillips is the daughter of Princess Anne (who rode in the '76 Games) and Capt. Mark Phillips, who won gold for Britain in '72 and is now a coach for the U.S. Zara, 31, is "technically better than her mum," says Horse & Hound editor Lucy Higginson. Let's hope so, as Anne fell off her mount at the Montreal Games. While Dad is a rival, he gallantly said, "It would be fantastic if she did well."

Players to Watch

ATHLETES FROM 204 NATIONS WILL COMPETE IN 26 SPORTS. ALL WANT THE GOLD-HERE ARE A FEW EXPECTED TO SHINE

Lolo Jones/Hurdles/U.S.A.

Favored to win the 100 meter event in Beijing, she finished seventh after tripping on a hurdle. Again touted for a first, the Des Moines native, 29, says preserving her virginity for marriage has been harder than her training.

John Orozco

Gymnastics/U.S.A.

Orozco, 19, was raised in the Bronx by Puerto Rican parents. His dad, a sanitation worker, begged a coach to train his son, saying it might be the boy's only ticket out of the Bronx.

Neymar

Soccer/BRAZIL

Soccer legend Pele calls Neymar, 20, the best player in the world. The striker has his eye on gold-the only soccer prize to elude Brazil.

Kayla Harrison

Judo/U.S.A.

In 2010 Harrison, 22, became the first U.S. woman in 26 years to claim a World Championship title. If she triumphs in London, she'll be her sport's first U.S. Olympic champion.

I WAS THE ONE WHO... TAUGHT KATNISS ARCHERY

U.S. women's archer Khatuna Lorig is headed to her fifth Olympics. But more people have benefited from her behind-the-scenes work on The Hunger Games, for which she trained star Jennifer Lawrence (inset), who had never shot before. "She was a natural," says Lorig, 38. Between that film and Brave, archery is having a moment, which thrills Lorig. "It is an awesome sport: Age doesn't matter. And you can go hunt or you can go to the Olympics. It's your choice."

Yelena Isinbayeva

Pole Vault/RUSSIA

At 30, this five-time world champ could become the first female track and field athlete to win gold in three consecutive Games.

Usain Bolt/Track/JAMAICA

While taking three gold medals in Beijing, Bolt shattered 100-meter and 200-meter world records and restored pride to his scandal-plagued sport. At 25, he calls London "the last chapter of my career."

Lin Dan

Badminton/CHINA

Reigning Olympic champ and four-time world titlist, "Super Dan," 28, is widely hailed as the greatest badminton player of all time.

  • Contributors:
  • CONTRIBUTORS Johnny Dodd,
  • Kristen Mascia,
  • Simon Perry,
  • Jill Smolowe.