Helen Jenkins, Great Britain. Age at the Olympics: 28
Reigning world champion Helen Jenkins is a rare athlete in that she can race well in any condition—hot, cold, hilly, flat, all-out from the start, tactical until the end—and this bodes well for her with London’s unpredictable weather and the Olympics’ anything-can-happen atmosphere. If Jenkins gets the buy-in of a few stellar swim-bikers or the help of a potential British domestique, it’s possible that she could swim and ride away from the pack and secure gold in the same way she won gold at the 2008 World Championships in Vancouver. Jenkins’ only real weakness is she doesn’t quite have that top-end sprint speed that can sometimes be the difference between gold and silver, but the way she annihilated the field at the Olympic test event last year shows that this doesn’t necessarily have to be a concern.