When the United States Olympic Committee announced the 2016 U.S. Olympic team’s place in the Olympics, the list was filled with superstars from a number of sports.
While many of the men and women who made the team were the most decorated athletes in history, some of the best athletes in the world have made the list of some of history’s most celebrated Olympians.
Here’s a look at how each of the athletes on the roster came to be the favorites to win the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics.
Athletes in the top 20 of the 2016 Olympic team who made it to the top of the list: 1.
Marcelo Biaggi (Italy): The 26-year-old Biaggis gold medal-winning kickboxing career has included the worlds most famous kickboxing bout: with former world champion Marcelo Garcia.
Biaggia also earned the nickname “The Bigger of the Gi” for his size, height and ability to make incredible catches.
Biaggi was born in Turin, Italy, but moved to Rome to pursue his boxing career.
Biaggi and his coach, Eddy Alves, trained together at the famous Juventino Boxing Gymnasium.
He earned the respect of both Giacomo Marchetti and Francisco Vargas, the two most decorated kickboxers of all time, for his technique.
Bryan Stevenson (United States): Stevenson has been in the spotlight since winning gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.
He is considered by many to be one of the top five kickboxer in history.
Stevenson is considered one of three best kickbox fighters in history after boxing legends Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and was the reigning world champion for two years.
Stevenson has a long and storied career, but he has been fighting professionally since 2010.
He lost his UFC welterweight title to Nate Diaz in 2014, but earned a world title by defeating Mike Tyson in the UFC’s biggest show of all-time, the UFC 200.
Alexandre Crozier (France): Crozier, a 23-year old French kickboxing superstar, has earned the reputation as one of France’s most successful boxers.
He won the world championship in 2012 and 2013, but lost to Tyson in a welterweights title rematch.
Croziers career took a turn when he won the 2015 world title in the main event of the fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao.
He was later stopped by Mayweather for the title in 2016.
Crozonier is also the youngest man to ever win a world championship and he has made a name for himself with his impressive boxing skills.
Hiroshi Nishiura (Japan): Hiromi Nishiuras victory at the 2015 Tokyo Olympics was the first time he ever won a world gold medal.
Nishiurs defeat at the 2010 Beijing Olympics made him a legend and Nishiuras best ever performance at the Olympics.
He has been an all-around athlete, but Nishiuri is known as the best all-round fighter in the history of kickboxing.
He also has the distinction of winning two straight world titles.
Miguel Angel Ortiz (Spain): Elias Garcia is considered the most dominant kickboxing fighter of all times and Ortiz is considered to be a legend.
The 24-year year old Ortiz was the undisputed champion of the UFC for two straight years.
Ortiz was also the undisputable champion of kickboxing for more than three years and is considered as one the greatest kickboxists of all years.
Tito Ortiz (United Kingdom): Titanic is considered a true icon of the sport and Ortiz holds the record for most victories in the sport of kickball.
He defeated Miguel Angel Ortiz in a super fight and his record of 16-1 was also a record by any other kickbox champion.
Ortiz is also considered to have been the first American to defeat an undefeated opponent and one of just two fighters to ever earn a gold medal in the men’s kickball tournament at the 1984 Olympics in Rome.
Kamal Cholimu (United Arab Emirates): Cholimus career began with a bang in 2007 when he knocked out Rafael Marquez in the first round of their first fight in the UAE.
Cholimiu is considered among the most feared boxers of his era and was a world champion in kickboxing for five years before being stopped for the second time by Mayweather in 2016 in a fight that Mayweather won by decision.
Lukasz Bielinski (Poland): Bielinski is considered an icon of Polish kickboxing and one who is considered part of the greatest group of kickboxes ever.
He became the first Polish boxer