They run faster, jump higher and ball harder than anyone else in the world. With bodies seemingly designed for their sports, they're primed and ready to make the athletically impossible look routine. Some you'll recognize, and some you won't. All that, however, will change on July 27 when Team USA descends upon London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games with these guys leading the charge. They dominate their sports in the United States -- and some are the absolute best in the world. On the following slides, you'll find the elite of the elite -- athleticism at its highest level. The best part? They're on your team. Let the games begin.

The 25 Fittest Olympians On Team USA Slideshow


LeBron James, Basketball

At 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds at age 27, carrying one gold and one bronze medal on his resume, and with the ability to play every position on the court, LeBron James is a force unlike any other in basketball. The unstoppable combination of speed and strength possessed by "King James" was a key factor in propelling the American team to Olympic gold in 2008. Hoping to repeat, James is taking his talents to London this year -- along with a major chip on his shoulder -- to compete alongside Miami Heat teammates Wade and Chris Bosh.


Ryan Lochte, Swimming

Olympic competition is serious business for the 27-year-old with three golds, one silver and two bronzes, but Lochte keeps things light. The six-time swimming medalist once used over a hundred rolls of toilet paper to wrap the cars of the women’s team at the University of Florida, his alma mater. Training under former strongman competitor Matt DeLancey, however, his strength and conditioning sessions are no joke. "We flip tires, lift chains, pull ropes, throw kegs in the air, and do all types of strengthening exercises," says Lochte, who'll bring a thoughtful approach into the pool in London. "My philosophy is loving what I'm doing and making sure I’m having fun all the time. If you follow that philosophy in sport and life, you’ll always be happy and successful."


LaShawn Merrit, Track

If Merritt wins gold in London, he'll join Michael Johnson as one of two athletes in history to win consecutive gold medals at 400 meters. At age 26, he’s also looking to shatter Johnson’s world record in the event (43.18 seconds). "I have to leave it all on the track," Merritt says. "I'm focused on having a great year defending my titles and bring two golds back to the United States." That would add to the two golds he already has.


Jesse Williams, High Jumper

"I'm going to be really hard to beat," says Williams, who's been fixated on gold in London since failing to qualify for a medal in Beijing. The 28-year-old has gone full paleo since then, cutting out processed foods and grains and getting all his carbs from fruits and vegetables. with a 226-pound snatch and 292-pound clean, the 175-pound Williams is among the most powerful athletes, pound-for-pound, on the American squad. "I'm a very strong competitor, mentally, too," he says. "When I'm confident, I feel like I'm unbeatable."


Danell Leyva, Gymnastics

As the 2011 world champion on the parallel bars and U.S. national champion, it's Leyva's daredevil style at just 20 years old that's impressed his contemporaries most. "The most challenging part about gymnastics," he says, "is that your success is driven by your ability to pull off stunts that have never been done before."


David Oliver, Hurdles

While his physique seems to get most of the attention, Oliver’s résumé as a hurdler -- and all-around athlete -- is certainly impressive on its own. The 30-year-old one-time bronze medalist is the American record holder in the 110-meter hurdles and a two-time NCAA All-American in track and field at Howard University, where he somehow found time to play wide receiver on the football team. most recently, he won bronze in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2010 world indoor championships, but it's his bronze medal from the 110-meter hurdles in Beijing that has this favorite hungry for gold.


Tony Azevedo, Water Polo

The U.S. Olympic water polo team’s training borders on the absurd: swim for three hours, hit the gym for two, then get back in the pool for another three -- six days a week with no off-season. "I'll tell anyone that our sport is the toughest in the world," says Azevedo, the team's captain and arguably the best water polo player on the planet. That's saying a lot for a man who doctors said would never walk again after a severed esophagus and trachea, sustained from a childhood fall, left him without a heartbeat for almost four minutes before a final attempt to revive him succeeded. "I was in and out of the hospital a lot around that time," the 30-year-old Azevedo says. "Then, when I could walk, they said I’d never play sports."


Ashton Eaton, Decathlete

A 24-year-old phenom who's been shattering records since his freshman year at the University of Oregon, Eaton recorded a new world record score in the heptathlon in March. The 2012 Games could potentially introduce Eaton the way the 2004 Games marked the debut of Michael Phelps, giving the world just a taste of what’s in store.


Brady Ellison, Archery

Ellison’s love of archery—and hard work—stems from an Arizona childhood spent hunting with his father. after failing to medal in Beijing in 2008, Ellison, 23, heads to London as the number-one-ranked archer in the world and a heavy favorite to bring home the gold medal.


David Boudia, Diver

The first American to break 600 points in six dives, this Purdue attendee has also broken the American record for most points on a single dive (the 10 meter). Only 23, the Noblesville, Ind., native tours as a motivational speaker when he's not training.

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25 Fittest Athletes On Team USA,
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