"My friends and I are always, like, 'After the Olympics, after the summer.' Do you know how many times we've said that? Just stuff, like going to New York to see a show or going to a cool restaurant … stay up later," she says, warming to the question. "Whenever we eat somewhere I'm always looking at the menu and saying" - and she shifts into a soft, singsong voice - "'I can't have that and I can't have that.' My friends say that after the Olympics, for once, 'We're going to go to a place and you're actually going TO EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT TO EAT.'"
KATIE HOFFBorn: June 3, 1989, in Palo Alto, Calif.
Family: Parents Jeanne, who works part time for a local insurance agency, and John, a salesman; younger brother Christian.
Did you know? Katie and Christian were home-schooled. Her mother, Jeanne (Ruark) Hoff, was the first Stanford women's basketball player to score 2,000 career points and is still on many of the school's all-time scoring lists. In 2006, Katie signed a 10-year deal with Speedo, which, at the time, was the longest contract for an athlete in the company's history. She plans to attend Loyola College part time in the fall.
What's at stake: Her first Olympic medal and establishing herself as one of the top female swimmers in the world. At 15 she made her first Olympic team but failed to medal in Athens in 2004. She has a chance to medal in five individual events and one relay in Beijing.
Three things to look for from Beijing:
•Hoff becoming the face of the U.S. women's swim team. Although Dara Torres, a 41-year-old mom, is a great story, as is five-time medalist Natalie Coughlin, Hoff could set world records and win more golds than any other female swimmer.
•Showdowns with Australian Stephanie Rice in the 200 and 400 IMs. Both have traded world records, and going against each other should mean lower times.
•Rooting for Phelps. They are both products of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, and Phelps has been known to stop a news conference just to watch Hoff swim. Expect the same cheering for Phelps from Hoff.
Event finals schedule •Saturday, 400 IM
•Sunday, 400 freestyle
•Tuesday, 200 free and 200 IM
•Aug. 13, 4 x 200 free relay
•Aug. 15, 800 free