Even though this U.S. Olympic men's basketball team has lost the likes of Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard because of injury, count Chris Paul among those who believe this squad would beat the 2008 gold-medal version.
Paul said Friday that he didn't know how wide the margin would be but said his reasoning is based on the fact that most of the players on the team have improved over the past four years.
"I know if I played against myself in '08, I would beat me," Paul said. The former Wake Forest point guard also said that "LeBron James 2012 would kill LeBron James 2008."
While that logic may be somewhat flawed for instance, would the 33-year-old Kobe Bryant of 2012 be preferable to the 29-year-old version of four years ago? it speaks to the confidence Paul has as the U.S. team prepares to open the tournament Sunday against France.
"We're here for one reason and one reason only," Paul said. "We're trying to go home with the gold."
Paul is the U.S. team's starter at point guard, although head coach Mike Krzyzewski has been splitting the point guard minutes almost equally between Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.
Paul will face off in the opener against France's Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs' point guard who nearly missed these Olympics because of an eye injury but has been cleared to play. Paul said he has seen Parker in London and he seems fine, although Parker will be playing with goggles.
"I'll just try to keep him out of the paint as much as possible," Paul said. "We've got to contain him because he's the head of the snake."
Gymnastics U.S. national champion John Orozco and Olympic Trials winner Danell Leyva will compete in all six events when men's team qualifications begin today.
The U.S. lineup, announced Friday, means two-time Olympic medal winner and team captain Jon Horton will not be eligible for the all-round competition in London.
Horton finished third in the all-around at the 2010 world championships. He will compete on pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars and high bar.
Archery South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun sees only blurred colors and lines when he peers toward the target about 76 yards away, arrow at the ready. It doesn't stop the legally blind Olympian from hitting the grapefruit-sized yellow center again and again and again.
Im set the first world record of the London Olympics on Friday, breaking his own mark in the 72-arrow event and helping South Korea set a team record in the opening round.
The 26-year-old Im does not wear glasses in competition, saying he relies on distinguishing between the bright colors of the target. He won gold in the team event at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
Shooting A Malaysian woman who is eight months pregnant will compete in 10-meter air rifle. She found out she would be a mother just days after she found out she would be an Olympian.
Nur Suryani Mohammed Taibi is due in September.
Perhaps feeling some of mom's Olympic excitement, the baby is kicking, and between deep breaths Taibi will ask her unborn child for restraint during competition today.
"I will breathe in and breathe out and try to calm myself down and talk to baby: 'Behave yourself and help Mummy to shoot.' And luckily she understands. She always understands," the 29-year-old Taibi told the Olympic news service.