Some of the athletes competing for Team USA in Rio in the coming weeks have some very dedicated — and adorable — fans glued to their TVs and cheering them on back at home: their pets.
As the Olympic Games kick off, we want to introduce you to some of the dogs and cats who belong to the athletes we’ll all be hearing about as they compete in events including swimming, gymnastics and tennis.
Even if their humans don’t come home with the gold, we know they’ll always be champions to their four-legged friends.
Phelps, a swimmer who’s competed in the Summer Games since 2000, is back
again after claiming he was retiring after the 2012 London Games. The most
decorated Olympian of all time has two French Bulldogs waiting at
home to see if he can make history again. Juno, who’s lighter in color and
almost 5 years old, was joined by little brother Legend earlier this year.
Gold medalist Missy
Franklin returns to the Olympics to swim for Team USA again. Sadly, her
Malamute, Ruger, passed away late last year at age 13. But the
21-year-old’s heart is full again, thanks to a sweet Christmas present: her
cuddly kitten, Prince. The only problem? All that cuddling can make it tough
to get up and go to practice!
Douglas is hoping to repeat her performance as an all-around gymnastics
champion in Rio. Her happy dog, Mood, will be anxiously awaiting her return.
Douglas' teammate Aly
Raisman, who won gold in her gymnastics floor routine in 2012, has a brand-new BFF — a precious puppy she fell in love with after posing with him in a
promotional shoot late last year for NBC’s Olympic coverage. “I knew from the moment I saw Gibson that it was meant to be,” Raisman
Minka is ready to roll! Here, one of decathlete Trey
Hardee’s two dogs sports a fan T-shirt that reads, “Vamos Trey,” which
means “Let’s Go, Trey” in Portuguese, for the Games, which are taking place in Brazil. “When the whole
squad got your back,” Hardee posted with the photo on Instagram last month.
We’re assuming Luca, his other pup, has the same uniform for Hardee’s third
Serena’s sister, Venus
Williams, has shared three gold medals with her for their women’s doubles wins. The
sisters also share a love of dogs. Venus’ Havanese, Harold,
can often be found hanging around the tennis court while his mom plays. This year, Venus is competing in the Games for the fifth time.