50 worldwide contenders for 2012: Julien Absalon
Cycling (mountain biking)
The Alsace-Lorraine rider won gold in both 2004 and 2008, becoming the first man to successfully defend the Olympic mountain biking title. He is also a four-time world champion, although he had to settle for bronze at the 2011 World Championships.
Did you know?
The bike he rode to gold in Beijing cost £5,645, the same as a small car, but weighs less than 10kg.
His wife Emilie, who is part of his support team, fainted in the intense Athens heat as Absalon made his final push for the finish at the 2004 Olympics.
He is one of the athletes being tracked by the BBC's World Olympic Dreams in the build-up to the 2012 Games.