Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

84. Eric Shanteau

United States
Age: 24

Expectations always weigh heavily on Olympians, but Shanteau carries an extra burden with him to Beijing. Just a week before making his first Olympic Games, the Georgian learned he had testicular cancer. His doctors recommended surgery, but Shanteau has opted to compete first. "I am not taking this lightly," he says. "I am training on a week to week basis, and if things take a turn for the worse, I know I have to put swimming on the back burner." He is being tested once a week to determine if the cancer has spread, and already has a motivating — and empathetic — supporter in cyclist Lance Armstrong, whose battle with the same cancer didn't stop him from going on to win the Tour the France seven times.