Feature | Weightlifting

USA youth weightlifters name Durant and Mayweather among favourite Olympians

Jerome Smith, who is competing at Buenos Aires 2018, and Antwan Kilbert select their top five athletes.

Jerome Smith and Antwan Kilbert are two 17-year-old Team USA weightlifting athletes from Saint Louis, Missouri.

Smith is representing the United States at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, while both teenagers hope to forge careers in their chosen sport.

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The Olympic Channel asked the pair to choose their five favourite Olympic athletes who they follow and look up to for their personality, star power, and sporting success.

5. Shakur Stevenson

Born in 1997 and still only 21 years of age, Team USA boxer Shakur Stevenson is the youngest person on this list.

Dubbed the "next Floyd Mayweather" by Mayweather himself, Stevenson won gold at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games before taking silver at Rio 2016.

Stevenson turned professional in 2017, and already holds a record of 8–0.

4. Floyd Mayweather

One of the most-recognisable boxers around, Floyd Mayweather is unbeaten in his professional boxing career with a 50–0 record, 27 of them by knockout.

Before turning pro, the American won Olympic gold on home soil at the Atlanta 1996 Games.

Mayweather's uncle, Roger, was also a professional boxer.

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3. Kyrie Irving

USA point guard Kyrie Irving is part of an exclusive club of just four men to have won the National Basketball Association championship and Olympic gold in the same year.

The Australian-born player claimed the NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, and just two months later was part of the American team that took home gold from Rio 2016.

Those three other players to have achieved the feat? Lebron James (2012), Michael Jordan (1992) and Scottie Pippen (1992).

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2. Muhammad Ali

Boxer, human rights activist, and humanitarian. Muhammad Ali was all that and more.

Competing under his original name of Cassius Clay, Ali won gold at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games. His memorable one-liners and quotes during his career has helped ensure his name is still recognised worldwide to this day.

Although he suffered from Parkinson's Disease for the last three decades of his life, Ali lit the Olympic Cauldron at the Atlanta 1996 Opening Ceremony, and was a part of the Olympic Flag entrance during the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

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1. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has seen success on the court that very few players will ever accomplish.

The 30-year-old small forward has two NBA Championship titles to his name with the Golden State Warriors, and has also won two Olympic golds and a World Championship with the U.S. national team.

With another FIBA Basketball World Cup scheduled for next year, and having said he's aiming for Tokyo 2020, Durant could yet add to his growing list of honours.

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