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.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte is competing in his fourth Olympic Games, but it’s still not easy being away from his pups. “I miss my boys so much,” the silver medalist wrote in the caption on Instagram with this photo of Yeezy, a French Bulldog, and Carter, a Doberman Pinscher, after leaving for Rio in July.

Michael 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 beloved Alaskan 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!

Gabby 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 said.

Gymnast Simone Biles has an entire doggy cheering squad ready for her Olympic debut. The 19-year-old’s family includes four affectionate German Shepherds: Maggie, Atlas, Lily and Bella. Biles’ younger sister, Adria, here with one of their dogs, is also a gymnast.  

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 Olympic competition. 

Tennis star Serena Williams relaxing with her dogs, Lauralei and Chip, earlier this year. She’ll be taking the court in Rio for her fourth Olympic Games. Williams’ third dog, Jack, passed away late last year.

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.
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