London 2012

Maria Sharapova will be hoping that the honour of being named as Russia's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony will inspire her to a gold medal at her maiden Olympic Games.

The Russian, who missed the Beijing Games in 2008 through injury, is among the favourites for top honours in the singles at Wimbledon - a venue which marked her breakthrough on the world stage.

Since winning the Wimbledon title as a 17-year-old in 2004, Sharapova's rise has been meteoric and has led to her becoming one of the richest sportswomen of all-time.

The current world No.3, who was born in the Russian town of Nyagan but resides in Florida, became only the sixth woman in the Open era to complete a career Grand Slam earlier this year when she prevailed at the French Open.

She has won 27 WTA titles to-date and appears to be back to her best after a serious shoulder injury threatened to derail her career.

One of the most powerful women on the circuit, well-known for her high-pitched yelps when striking the ball.

Maria Sharapova

  • DOB: 19/4/1987
  • Event: Tennis
  • Grand Slam titles: 4