ANOTHER TO WATCH: NATALIE COUGHLIN: SWIMMING

If you want to get off to a bad start with Natalie Coughlin, just compare her to Michael Phelps. "It's so uncreative! The one commonality we have is that we both swim several strokes," she says, "but they're not even the same strokes! Also, he's skyrocketed to success, and"--she laughs--"I've had a lot of ups and downs." As a high-school senior, Coughlin, now 21, was so tormented by a nagging shoulder injury that she grew to hate her sport. She left for college at UC Berkeley, believing her career was over. But a new coach and teammates re-ignited her passion. Coughlin, who at 5 feet 8 is small for an elite swimmer but technically flawless, will chase five gold medals in Athens. Not Spitz's seven? She's happy to leave that for what's-his-name.

ANOTHER TO WATCH: NATALIE COUGHLIN: SWIMMING | News