The Top Female Olympic Athletes You Cannot Miss

The Summer Olympics in Beijing kick off tonight with the Opening Ceremonies airing on NBC at 8pm. But when the fanfare and pageantry is over, it’s time for some serious competition featuring the roughest, toughest ladies from our great land. These amazing women will really bring out our inner patriot. So for the gals who inspire us all to keep kicking butt in our own lives because they do is so well for sport, here are the Top Five Female American Olympians!

1. The first U.S. swimmer to compete in five Olympics, Dara Torres is like a fine wine that just gets better with age. Still showing us how it’s done at age 41, Torres has already won eight Olympic medals.
2. Basketball queen Seimone Augustus is holding court for the first time at the Olympics. The 2006 WNBA Rookie of the Year is six-feet of female b-ballin’ bad ass.

3. Sarah Hammer just can’t stop cycling! She attempted to retire, but instead she’s still going for the gold. A heavy favorite, Hammer has already broken four world records and won seven UCI World Cup gold medals, and two consecutive world titles in individual pursuit since pretending to go on hiatus.

4. Chellsie Memmel has got more starch than her spandex suit. After becoming the first U.S. woman since Shannon Miller to win the all-around gold medal at the World Championships, a shoulder injury sidelined her. But now she’s come back swinging!

5. Four time Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig is aiming to bring home the gold for America in the recurve event. After competing for the United Team of the former Soviet Union in 1992 and Georgia in 1996, she began shooting for the US in 2000. A huge KISS fan, we know she’ll rock the Olympics.

Because butt-kicking ladies are universal, here are some women from around the world who will wow you. They’ve trained tirelessly and are worthy, womanly competition.

1. Dana Hussein Abdul-Razzaq has already beaten all the odds. One of two athletes representing Iraq, this sprinter has gone the distance to compete for a country with no Olympic committee.

2. Eighteen-year-old Pamela Jelimo has run the fastest 800 meter in the past 11 years and now, as of her second international competition, holds the record in Africa. Needless to say, the teen from Berlin with a need for speed is on the fast track to success!

3. Christine Sinclair, the Canadian soccer team captain, just led her ladies to a stunning victory over Argentina in the qualifying rounds. The two-time Women’s World Cup Player of the Year and Honda-Broderick Cup Winner, Sinclair trained at Portland University where she graduated with a 3.75 GPA.

To check out the times to watch these women battle it out in Beijing, check your local NBC listings here.