The Paris Summer Olympics begins on July 26, 2024 (Credit:

The countdown to the 2024 Summer Olympics has begun. In just one month, on July 26, about 11,000 athletes from 206 nations will gather in Paris, France, for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad. Here are a few trailblazers ready to make their mark on the world stage.

Dominika Banevič — Breakdancing (Breaking)

Dominika Banevič, aka B-Girl Nicka, is a 16-year-old breakdancing phenom from Lithuania. The talented teen has won four national championships. She recently took gold at the World Breaking Championship in Belgium, beating Japan's Ayumi Fukushima. This win earned her a place at the debut Breakdancing Olympics event, where she will be one of the youngest competitors.

Eliud Kipchoge — Marathon

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge is widely regarded as the greatest marathoner of all time. He first rose to fame in 2003 when he won the 5,000-meter race at that year's World Athletics Championships. Shortly after, he won a bronze medal in the same event at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and then a silver at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Kipchoge switched to road running in 2012. He has since won 15 of the 18 competitive marathons he has entered. His victories include five wins in Berlin, where he broke two world records, four in London, and two Olympic gold medals. In 2019, Kipchoge became the first person ever to run a marathon in under two hours, finishing in 1:59:40. This feat, achieved in Vienna, Austria, was not officially recognized for various reasons. However, it cemented Kipchoge's status as a legend in the world of distance running.

Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes — Beach Volleyball

Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes are a dynamic beach volleyball duo from the United States. Cheng, a talented defender, and Hughes, a skilled blocker, began playing as a team in high school, winning numerous tournaments. Their successful partnership continued at the University of Southern California (USC), with two NCAA titles in 2016 and 2017.

After pursuing the Tokyo Olympics with different partners in 2018, they reunited in late 2022. Within a year, they made history as the first US team to win the world beach volleyball championships since 2009. The win secured them a spot at the 2024 Games, with a clear shot at gold.

These athletes, along with all the other Olympic contestants, serve as a powerful reminder of the remarkable things people can achieve through hard work, focus, and perseverance.