Baby Names Inspired By Rio's Olympic Athletes

They are strong. They are tenacious. They are ambitious and persistent. They are brave — maybe not in a way that will save a life but in a way that we all long to be.

Athletes are modern-day heroes to many people, and often for very good reasons. They give their blood, sweat and tears to their sport, and they inspire us along the way. When you are thinking of baby names, they could be just the inspiration you need.

Even Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, looked to an athlete for a name for his son, who was born earlier this year. Boomer brings in mind a legendary NFL quarterback, but the monicker is also a nod to Phelps' coach Bob Bowman.

The Olympic Games bring together the world's greatest athletes to compete on an international stage, and for a few weeks every two years, they unite the country to cheer for Team USA.

This summer, the Games are being held in Rio de Janeiro, and while you watch your favorite athletes, moms- and dads-to-be should keep an ear out for  some baby name inspiration.

Here are some of our favorite choices.

16 Michael

This baby name is a classic — and its probably as old as the Olympics, which were first played in ancient Greece in 776 B.C.

The name means "Who is like God?" which also hearkens back to the Games, which were dedicated to the gods when they were played on the ancient plains of Olympia.

As we mentioned, Michael Phelps is the all-time most decorated Olympian, after winning 22 medals — 18 of them gold — in three Olympiads in various swimming events.

Michael is the flag-bearer for the U.S. Olympic team, which is quite an honor. He is definitely one of the most-admired athletes of the Team USA and a recent baby daddy!

15 Simone

You will be hearing the name Simone a lot this Olympics.

Simone Biles is the reigning world champion in gymnastics — in fact she's the first woman to win the world championship three years in a row. And she has a chance to bring home five medals this Olympics.

Simone is a French name that is borrowed from the Biblical Simon. It means "one who hears." Maybe we should add "one who hears her name in the Olympic history books."

Raised by a grandmother, Simone Biles is not just a great athlete but a person who has overcome remarkable odds to achieve amazing feats with grace. Any baby would be lucky to bear her name.

14 Tamika

The U.S. women's basketball team is full of talent — many with great names — so it is hard to choose a favorite. But Tamika Catchings is the only three-time Olympic gold medalist among the group.

Tamika, who plays for the Indiana Fever in the WNBA, is one of only nine players ever to win an NCAA title, a WNBA championship, a world championship gold medal and an Olympic gold medal.

Tamika is a Japanese name that means "nation" or "people," which is fitting for an Olympic tribute.

13 Ashton

He can run, he can jump, he can throw. Ashton Eaton can do it all. In 2012, he won the gold medal in the decathlon, and he is in Rio to compete again for the medal stand.

The name Ashton comes from ash trees, and it surged in popularity beginning about 10 years ago.

For this Olympics, the name is synonymous with drive. While Ashton Eaton has been at the top of his game for years, he keeps getting better, besting his own world records and working hard at every event in the decathlon.

This name seems perfect for a multi-talented, tenacious baby.

12 Adeline

Not only does she have a beautiful name, but Adeline Gray is also the hands-down favorite to win the gold medal in wrestling. If she does, she will be the first American woman to ever reach the achievement.

Adeline grew up wrestling against boys and tackled a lot of discrimination while she was making her way in the sport. But she worked hard and earned the respect of her peers. Now she is an Olympian, and a true role model for girls who dream big and want to prove themselves.

Her name is French, a diminutive of Adele that means "noble," and that is how she has competed.

11 Bubba

Bubba Watson is one of the top-ranked golfers in the world — and he's one of the most patriotic members of the team, excited to sport his red, white and blue sneakers in Rio.

Bubba is a two-time Master's champ who is known as a nice guy, so that may be enough to merit a baby name even before the Olympics come into play.

The name Bubba isn't very common — it's more likely to be a nickname for brother — but it's the kind of Southern name that can get attention and garner a second look or a smile. Maybe you want to try Bubba Watson's real name for your boy. That's Gerry, with a G, another unusual one worthy of consideration.

10 Serena

We love both of the Williams sisters, who have been inspiring and fun to watch for years.

Serena Williams has one four gold medals already — three as a doubles partner with her sister Venus — and we will be cheering her on as she competes to try to be the first woman to repeat as a singles gold medalist in history.

The name Serena may mean "calm" and "serene," but the athlete is more likely to be described as powerful and gorgeous.

And if her Olympian sister inspires you more, we agree that Venus is a great name pick as well.

9 Carmelo

The oldest member of the Team USA basketball team, Carmelo Anthony is in his fourth Olympics.

The first time around, the team shocked the world when it finished with a disappointing bronze medal, but it has been all gold ever since, coming in the top spot in Beijing and London.

A member of the New York Knicks, Carmelo is a leader on the Olympic team, and he holds the team Olympic record for most points in a single game.

Carmelo is a Hebrew name that means "fruitful orchard." That is befitting the trophy case for Carmelo Anthony, who expects to add another gold medal to it in Rio.

8 Hope

She already has two gold medals and a World Cup gold medal, but Hope Solo is, well, hoping to add another medal in 2016, as a leader of the U.S. women's national soccer team.

The soccer star has faced her fair share of battles and was even booed during her first appearance in Rio because of comments she made about the Zika virus. But she holds a bunch of records for goal-keeping, and she's known as a tough competitor.

If that doesn't inspire you enough, Hope is a great word name that evokes a wonderful sense of optimism. It's a great pick for a baby name, and a cool tribute to a women's soccer legend.

7 Alexander

Four years ago, Alexander Massialas was the youngest man on Team USA. In his second Olympics, he hopes to bring home the gold medal in fencing.

Alexander was born to be an elite fencer, as his father, the coach for the fencing team, is a three-time Olympian. He is already a world champion, so it seems likely he will earn a place on the medal stand.

The name Alexander means "defender of men," which sure sounds like the name of an champion of the foil.

6 Eleanor

The U.S. women's eight rowing team may not have the name recognition that the gymnasts do, but they have a much longer winning streak.

The team, which competes in the rowing event with the most people in the boat, hasn't lost a race in a decade. While there are some great names among the members, Eleanor Logan is the only member who has medaled in two previous Olympics.

Eleanor is a vintage name making a comeback, and it means "bright, shining one." Perfect for a gold medal winner, don't you think?

5 Tony

Tony Azevedo was born in Rio de Janeiro, and but he is competing there for Team USA. The water polo player is captain of Team USA, actually, as he has been involved for 20 years, since he served as a ball boy for the 1996 games in Atlanta.

This is his fifth Olympics, but he's never earned a gold medal. This could be the year.

The name Tony, which is short for Anthony, means "priceless one" or "highly praiseworthy." That sounds right on the nose for an Olympic contender.

4 Katie

This year's Olympic swimming buzz is swarming for Katie Ledecky, a 19-year-old who already has two world records and has a chance at bringing home five gold medals.

This is Katie's second Olympics. That's right; she competed in her first one at the age of 15. And she won a gold medal.

Katie is short for Kathleen, an Irish name that means "pure." Sounds like a great pick for someone who spends a lot of time in the water.

3 Justin

He's been close in the past, but Justin Gatlin hopes that this is the year that he can beat his rival Usain Bolt, who is one of the fastest men in the world.

Justin won the 100-meter race in track and field in 2004, but once Usain began competing, he hasn't been able to capture a medal again. This is his third trip to the Olympics, and Justin is hoping to bring home some hardware.

Justin is derived from the word "just," as in "lawful" or "right." After a couple of doping scandals, that may not seem like the perfect moniker for the sprinter. But he has battled his way back from the controversies and proven himself a determined competitor and an amazing athlete. That is pretty inspirational.

2 Claressa

Four years ago, Claressa Shields made history as the first U.S. woman to win a gold medal for boxing. In Rio, she hopes to make it again as a back-to-back medalist.

Claressa is a tough woman, in more ways than one. She is the first member of her family to graduate high school. She overcame a difficult childhood to become a boxing champion. In fact, she's only ever lost one meet.

The name is likely a variant on Clarice and Clara and means "bright" or "clear." Those are great words to describe the mindset that Claressa must have to blaze her path to the Olympics.

She is certainly an inspiration.

Sources: nbcoplympics.com 


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