Olympic Athletes Play With Pups Ahead of the 2016 Rio Games

Puppies up for adoption in Southern California got their big break as stars of a People Magazine photoshoot with the Rio 2016 USA Olympic Team.

11 photos
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NBCPhiladelphia.com
Left to right: Olympians Venus Williams, Michael Phelps, and Kerri Walsh Jennings play with puppies.
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Fairfield University
With 22 medals, swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. He had originally planned to retire after the 2012 London Olympics but returned to the pool in April 2015. Last August, Phelps clocked three of the year's fastest times worldwide.
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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Venus Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, more than any other tennis player in history — except for her sister, Serena Williams, who also has four. The pair shared the 2000, 2004 and 2012 women’s doubles titles. Venus also won gold in singles at Sydney 2000.
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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Kerri Walsh Jennings began playing volleyball when she was 10 years old. She is returning to the court in Rio in hopes of winning her fourth consecutive beach volleyball gold.
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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Swimmer Missy Franklin was the bubbly teenage star of the 2012 Olympics in London, bringing home four gold medals and a bronze at just 17 years old. She briefly struggled with back problems in 2014, but was able to bounce back to earn five medals at the 2015 World Championships.
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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Justin Gatlin, 34, has achieved tremendous career longevity for a sprinter. At his first Olympics, in 2004, he took home a medal of every color — gold in the 100-meter dash, silver in the 4x100-meter relay and bronze in the 200 meters.
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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Alex Morgan is a member of the U.S. women's national soccer team and plays for the Orlando Pride. During her Olympic debut in London, she scored a dramatic extra-time goal in the semifinals to send the U.S. to the Gold Medal Match. She also helped lead the women's national team to victory in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Now in his fourth Games, a more mature Ryan Lochte looks to add to his Olympic legacy. The swimmer has taken home 11 medals, seven of them individual, and set four world records. Lochte famously bragged about eating only McDonald’s during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
During the 2012 London Olympics, swimmer Nathan Adrian out-touched his Australian rival in the 100-meter freestyle to win by the smallest margin in the sport, one one-hundredth of a second. He’s earned medals in every Olympics, Pan Pacific Championships and world championships since 2008.
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A member of the beloved "Fierce Five," Aly Raisman was the most decorated U.S. gymnast to compete in the 2012 London Olympics, winning gold in the team competition and floor final and bronze on the beam. Along with her three Olympic medals, she now has four world championship medals in her trophy case: team golds from 2015 and 2011, team silver from 2010 and floor bronze from 2011.
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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Gabby Douglas became the star of the 2012 Olympic gymnastics team when she won all-around gold at 16 years old. She was the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in both the Olympic all-around and team competitions. Douglas is also the first reigning women’s all-around Olympic champion to win an all-around world championship medal since the Soviet Union’s Yelena Davydova in 1981.
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