For some people, the Olympic Games are a chance to celebrate the greatest heights of athletic achievement. For others, it’s an inspiring display of national pride and healthy competition. But for the rest of us, the Olympics are a veritable parade of international hotties. Think Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride, if the 300 creepy, traditionally costumed animatronic dolls were replaced with some of the world’s best looking athletes. When it comes to objectification fodder, the Olympics have come a long way from ancient Greeks competing in 192-meter footraces—although, to be fair, the Discobolus of Myron still looks good. Plus, you no longer have to schlep to Athens to get a glimpse of the world’s fittest heartthrobs; as we approach the Opening Ceremony, GIFs of Olympic baes are more widespread than Zika rumors. For proof of the web’s Olympic pool-sized thirst, look no further than this list of the 2016 Olympians the Twitterverse is already obsessing over—a smorgasbord/pupu platter/mezze plate/American buffet of quality baes.
Are you attracted to men with flawless chests, abs, legs, and faces? If physical perfection happens to do it for you, look no further than the internet’s newest Olympic boyfriend, 23-year-old Ning Zetao. The Chinese swimmer, who apparently serves as a lieutenant in the Chinese Navy in his free time, competed in his first National games when he was just sixteen. At eighteen, Ning tested positive for clenbuterol, a fat-burning tool often used by steroid users, and served a one-year suspension. That means he’s a bad boy, y’all! But Zetao didn’t become a major household name until the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, his first major championship outside China, where he took home four gold medals and broke the Asian records in the 100-meter freestyle and the men’s 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay. He was also voted the most attractive male athlete of the Games.
Fittingly, Zetao has become quite the celeb, with a spread in Elle Men and a GQ China cover story. He’s also amassed a sizable following on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, where the hashtag #Ningzetao’sGirlfriend has been re-shared over 20 thousand times. Flirtatious comments on Ning’s Weibo photos include such gems as “Your height is really suitable for putting up shower curtains. My shower curtains have fallen down and I can’t reach, can you come and help me?” and “Move aside, I want to be the goggles that are inside his mouth!!” There haven’t been this many collective squeals over a hot Asian bod since Tibby’s boyfriend took his shirt off in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Seriously, Ning Zetao’s body makes Justin Bieber’s penis look like Orlando Bloom’s penis.
In terms of personality, the majority of my intel comes from Zetao’s Wikipedia, which claims that his teammates have nicknamed him Baozi (traditional Chinese meat bun), on account of his chubby, meat bun-esque cheeks, as well as his love of meat buns. If you say so, Ning Zetao’s Wikipedia. In Rio, Zetao can be spotted flaunting his meat buns at the Men’s 100-meter and 50-meter freestyle.
Traveling deeper down the Twitter rabbithole of Olympian #AsianBaeWatch, we arrive at badass U.S. Taekwondo team member Paige “McFierce” McPherson. This half-Filipino, half-black South Dakota native could definitely kick your ass, but she’s still a sweetheart. McPherson’s Twitter page mostly consists of Bible quotes, Olympic updates, and adorable displays of gratitude. Of course, Paige doesn’t have anything to be humble about. At just 25 years old, McPherson is already an Olympics alum who took home a bronze medal from the London Games in 2012. As if being a lady Taekwondo boss wasn’t enough, Paige also has an inspiring, made-for-TV story. She’s the fourth of five adopted children; her siblings Aaryn and Graham are part Native American, her brother Evan is Korean, and her sister Hannah was born in St. Lucia. When McPherson turned 18, she used a detective to track down her half-sister, half-brother, and biological mom.
Just like you, Paige McPherson enjoys “going to the beach, shopping, and going to the movies.” Some of the foods you two could enjoy together include “Asian food, her mom's cooking, and cheeseburgers.” To support your girlfriend McFierce and/or Team USA, tune in to the women’s 67 kg Taekwondo competition.
The internet’s runner-up swimmer boyfriend is America’s own Nathan Adrian. The new Tommy Hilfiger menswear ambassador is pretty fly for a white guy, having already competed in two separate Olympic Games. At the 2012 London Olympics, he earned two gold medals and one silver, alongside fellow baes Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. After winning the men’s 100-meter freestyle at the US Olympic trials, Adrian seems more than ready to take on Rio. But he’s also ready…for love. While Nathan recently came out of a relationship, he’s said that he’s open to a new one “if the right person comes along." Nathan Adrian, have you met Ning Zetao?
Oh, and watch out, Frank Ocean—because Nathan Adrian looks like he’s about to drop the hottest R&B record of 2016:
As of August 25, Ki Bo-Bae is the world’s No. 1 ranked archer. She’s also literally Bae. The South Korean powerhouse is both the defending Olympic champion and the current World Champion. This year, Bo-Bae is gunning for the gold, looking to grab two consecutive medals in individual competitions. According to Bo-Bae, it’s that goal that “keeps leading me to shoot my bow.” And while Ki Bo-Bae is commonly referred to as a “beautiful archer” in her native Korea, she frankly could not care less about appearance-based appraisals. According to Bo-Bae, “As an athlete, skills are way more important than physical appearance…why should an aspiring athlete feel it’s necessary to garner attention for something other than their talent?” What a queen. Additionally, Ki is an ambassador for Wisdom For Change, an organization that aids refugees of natural disasters, and helps deliver winter fuel to the poor. #ImWithHer. If you want to catch a glimpse of Bo-Bae and her fierce hat game, she’ll be competing in both the Women’s individual and Women’s team archery events.
Ashton James Eaton is a 28-year-old American decathlete, indoor heptathlon, and Olympic champion. And while I might not know what the heptathlon is, I do know that it’s my new favorite sporting event. More importantly, Eaton is married to Canadian multi-event athlete Brianne Theisen. The wedding was officiated by their coach at the University of Oregon. The “Royal Eatons” are often referred to as the fittest couple in the world, which sort of puts our constant usage of the #RelationshipGoals hashtag into perspective. While Ashton hopes to defend his Olympic decathlon title at the Rio de Janeiro Games, Brianne figures to be a favorite in the heptathlon. The couple shares a passion for Netflix, bringing clean water to Africa, and winning things.
Team USA’s fiercest fencer has already made history—the 30-year-old will become the first US Olympic athlete to compete while wearing a hijab. Growing up in New Jersey, Muhammad was immediately attracted to fencing for its unique uniform. With its long jackets and pants, fencing offered the young Muslim woman an opportunity to participate in a sport without making any outfit alterations. A few decades later, Muhammad is ranked No. 2 in the U.S. and eighth internationally.
But Ibtihaj is so much more than her ability to do some crazy things with a sabre; after graduating from Duke University, she launched a fashion line of modest women’s clothing. As a Black Muslim woman, Muhammad isn’t just unlikely to vote for Donald Trump, she’s also a potent voice against Islamophobia and racial discrimination. As Peter Westbrook, one of Muhammad’s fencing mentors, explains, “Sometimes she tells me, ‘Peter, being a black woman is not easy. Being a Muslim woman is not easy. Combine the two, I walk down the street, I catch hell.’”
While the Olympian would prefer to focus only on fencing, the bigotry she’s encountered has pushed her to speak out. “America is all that I know. I feel American down to my bones. For anyone to challenge that idea, that I'm not American or that I don't belong, it's frustrating,” Muhammad says. “I want people to see a Muslim woman in hijab and represent the United States this summer. I don't want people to think that that's out of the norm.” For some reassurance that America is pretty great as it is, watch Muhammad dominate in the Women’s individual sabre and Women’s team sabre.