Nicola Adams, Boxer
What you need to know: The first woman to win an Olympic boxing title, Adams took home the gold in flyweight at the London 2012 Olympics and is currently the reigning Olympic, World, Commonwealth Games and European Games champion at flyweight. Not bad for a girl from Leeds who won her first bout at 13 and then had to wait four years to find another suitable opponent. Openly bisexual, she's also the first openly LGBTQ person to win an Olympic boxing gold medal.
Words to live by: "Women boxers prefer to focus on the win rather than the bravado. We've come a long way. In the '90s you only ever saw women parading in heels and a bikini holding a scorecard. Now we're owning it, we should get some male models in Speedos to do the ring walk."
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Savannah Marshall, Boxer
What you need to know: Dubbed "The Silent Assassin" for her memorable punches and notorious shyness, middleweight Marshall, who made history in 2012 when she became Britain's first-ever female amateur champion, was a favorite medal-contender at the London 2012 games, which ended in disappointment after she was defeated in her opening quarter-final bout. She's ready to get on the podium this time around.
Words to live by: "I don't like to dwell on what's happened, win or lose, every competition is different. People assumed that I was confident as a world champion fighting in the Olympics, but I was actually more confident before becoming a world champion. I always like to keep my feet on the ground and, despite not winning a medal in 2012, the experience made sure I didn’t lose track of that mentality, thinking 'my opponent is better than me.'"
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Ellie Simmonds, OBE, Paralympian swimmer
What you need to know: The freestyle S6 swimmer splashed onto the global scene as the youngest British athlete at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing where she took home two gold medals at the tender age of 13. Four years later, in London, she won two more gold medals. She continues to break world records - most of which she set herself - and in her spare time writes children's books, which star a character called Ellie — based on Simmonds — with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.
Words to live by: "We're athletes, we train as hard as the Olympians, we are dedicated, we enjoy it all. If you've got a disability you're normal, it's just something that's different. I think people shouldn't think 'I'm not normal, I've got a disability.' Overcome that, go out there and enjoy your life and achieve something."
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Francesca Halsall, swimmer
What you need to know: Primarily a freestyle and butterfly swimmer, Rio 2016 looks set to be Fran's big moment, after a disappointing Olympics in 2012 and 2008. This summer, look out for her pursuit of the 50m freestyle gold. She's coming in strong after winning three gold medals at the European Championships in May 2016.
Words to live by: "Life would be boring if it was a straight line from A to B. Appreciate what you have, strive for what you want and expect it to be a challenge."
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Chloé Tutton, swimmer
What you need to know: The Welsh breaststroke champ has been making waves since 2015, when she won the national 200m breaststroke title at the British Swimming Championships. In April 2016's British Championships, she set a new British record with her time of 2min, 22.34sec in the 200m breaststroke. Watch. This. Space.
Words to live by: "It couldn’t have gone any better at all... I put the improvement down to surrounding myself by happy people. I’ve got a really, super happy coach, and it makes coming a training a lot easier when you’ve got so many happy people to see."
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Natalie Powell, judoka
What you need to know: Fighting to get on to the Olympic team is hard enough, but for Natalie Powell, who took home a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, getting selected for Rio meant beating out London 2012 silver medalist Gemma Gibbons. After taking home a bronze at the Mexico World Masters this past May, Powell will now become the first Welsh woman to compete in judo at the Olympics.
Words to live by: "Everything I do everyday is geared towards winning gold in Rio and I haven't thought about anything else."
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The Downie sisters, Ellie and Becky, gymnastics
Age: 16 (Ellie) and 24 (Becky)
What you need to know: The Nottingham-born sister act known as the "Double Downies" is taking British gymnastics to new heights: at the European Championships in Bern in June 2016, Becky scored a gold for her uneven bars routine, while Ellie claimed the silver in vault and floor. Becky is the European and Commonwealth 2014 champion on uneven bars, while Ellie was the first female gymnast to win an individual all-around medal for GB at the European Championships in 2015 at the age of 15.
Words to live by: "You always feel nervous for a team-mate, but when it's a family member it’s a different kind of emotion, you feel it more. You feel the highs more and you feel the lows more. While she was doing her routines I just held my breath," says Ellie.
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Olivia Breen, paralympic sprinter, long jumper, relay runner
What you need to know: After taking home a bronze in the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the age of 16, she became the second youngest athlete on Team GB. Breen, who has cerebral palsy, has her sights set on the podium in Rio. She's coming back from a toe injury looking strong as she recently scored a personal best in the T38 100m at the Loughborough International in May 2016.
Words to live by: "People get embarrassed around people with disabilities — they don't want to say the wrong thing. But they can ask me anything — I don't mind. The only thing I hate is when they say, 'Oh, you’re so brave.' Why would I need to be brave? I'm absolutely fine."
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Jessica Ennis-Hill, CBE, heptathlete
What you need to know: After a gold medal win at the 2012 London Olympics, Ennis-Hill — and her eight-pack — achieved poster-girl status, Ennis-Hill seems to be juggling the whole work-life balance thing pretty well: she gave birth to son Reggie in July 2014, and then won the heptathlon at the Beijing World Athletics Championships the following year. She's currently struggling with a long-term Achilles injury, but we have faith that it's just another obstacle for her to overcome.
Words to live by: "The only one that can tell you 'you can't win' is you, and you don't have to listen."
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Isobel Pooley, high jumper
What you need to know: At 6'3 1/2" the 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist jumped her height — 1.92m — to land her second-place win. In July 2015, she set a new GB outdoor record of 1.97m. She's currently training hard to get a spot on Team GB at this summer's Olympics.
Words to live by: "Over time, I've become self-confident enough to not let other people's negative comments affect my opinion of myself. It's always lovely to receive a compliment but sometimes people do miss the point — I'm out there trying to jump high and break records, not to look sexy or — thank goodness — skinny."
Photo Credit: Ian Walton/Getty Images for IAAF
Katarina Johnson-Thompson, heptathlete
What you need to know: The other British heptathlete to watch, she's the 2012 World Junior Champion (she finished 15th at the 2012 Olympics) and European indoor champion in the pentathlon. She's also had her share of issues — most notably in the long jump and throwing — which she needs to conquer if she's hoping to get the Olympic gold she dreams of this summer.
Words to live by: "I'm really into quotes and stuff, but mine are more geared towards competition. I always tell myself, 'Don't let success get to your head, and don't let failure get to your heart.'"
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Dame Sarah Storey, para-cyclist
What you need to know: After taking home four gold medals, two on the track and two on the road, at London's Paralympic Games in 2012, the most decorated female Paralympian (in total, she's won 11 gold, 8 silver and 3 bronze medals across six Paralympic Games) had a baby daughter, Louisa, and came back even stronger. Storey broke her 75th world record for the C5 and Master's Hour at the Revolution Series in February 2015 — she was still breastfeeding her daughter at the time. She recently won the British Cycling Para-cycling Time Trial and Road Circuit Championships with a time of 37 minutes and 57 seconds.
Words to live by: "Being an athlete, you have to be very strict about certain things. Doing something for somebody else helps me strike that balance between the selfishness of being an athlete and the selflessness of being a mother."
Photo Credit: Christopher Lee/Getty Images for British Cycling
Lizzie Armitstead, track and road racing cyclist
What you need to know: The reigning World, Commonwealth and National road race champion took home the silver medal in the road race in London's 2012 Olympics, and is riding high into Rio this summer in search of gold.
Words to live by: "Mentally, I think I’m going into Rio completely differently than I went into the London Olympics. In London, I was hoping for a top 10, and it was my first time at the Olympics and I didn’t really know what to expect. Whereas this time around I know exactly what to expect, and I’m excited about trying to turn silver into gold."
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Charley Hull, golfer
What you need to know: Ranked 27th in the world, Hull is hotly tipped to bring home a medal for Team GB this summer, when golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
Words to live by: "I'm not going to die if I hit a bad shot, am I?"
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Laura Trott, OBE, track and road cyclist
What you need to know: The reigning Olympic and European Champion in team pursuit and omnium (for which she's also the current world champ), Trott also has a world championship gold after coming out on top in scratch race and is looking to claim more glory as she cycles into Rio.
Words to live by: "I love the freedom of the road but track has always been my thing. My favourite is the team pursuit, as I love working with the other girls. You feel as though you are moving as one rider. When you get sucked around the bend [of the track] at speed it is like being in a washing machine."
Photo Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, MBEs, rowers
Age: 31 (Stanning) and 29 (Glover)
What you need to know: The dynamic duo that dominate British rowing, Glover and Stanning are currently the World, Olympic and European record holders and reigning World, Olympic, World Cup and European Champions in the women's coxless pairs — the first Brits to hold all seven distinctions at once. Most impressively, when they won gold in London in 2012, Glover had been rowing for only four years.
Words to live by: "If you work hard and try your best absolutely anyone can do anything," says Glover.
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Joanna Rowsell Shand, MBE, track and road cyclist
What you need to know: The current Olympic and European champion in world pursuit, Rowsell Shand is also the Commonwealth Games champion in individual pursuit.
Words to live by: "Everyone does their hair in the morning. I put a wig on. That's just what I do. It's not something that enters my day-to-day thoughts. The more I get asked about it, the more I think maybe I should be worried about it, maybe I look awful," Rowsell Shand says of life with alopecia.
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