By Fei Liena

BEIJING, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Olympic gold medal isn't for everyone, but excellence is.

Sporting superpower the United States will send its biggest-ever delegation, of 2,000 members, to Beijing, and will compete in 27 out of 28 sports in the Olympics.

As a dominant force in athletics and swimming, the United States also holds an advantage in gymnastics, wrestling, women's baseball and basketball.

"Dream Team" of NBA stars, which includes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, have set their sight on the gold medal, vowing not to repeat the misery of last Olympics, in which they finished third.

Also seeking gold are women's footballers from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, who have posted impressive performances in recent years.

DPRK judoka Kye Sun-Hui, who finished third in Sydney and second in Athens, hopes to move one notch up in Beijing.

"My ultimate goal is to win the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics," she said. "A gold in Beijing is more precious than any major titles I have won."

Kenya, which finished second only to the United States in the 2007 world athletics championships by sweeping five golds, has got up steam for the Beijing Games.

The Olympic-bound Kenyans are training in a "close-door" camp in western Kenya which is inaccessible to reporters.

As sports lightweights, Cyprus and Afghanistan are looking forward to ending their Olympic gold drought.

Cyprus has made substantial progress in shooting, track and field, tennis, sailing, and swimming. Cyprus Olympic Committee president Kikis Lazarides said Cyprus' dream is to halt a barren run in the Olympics.

The Philippines also wants to make history.

Two-time Olympian Harry Tanamor is the Philippines' best bet in Beijing, according to Monico Puentevella, a vice president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

The Olympics is for unsung heroes too.

The Finnish Olympic Committee has decided to send 20 athletes to Beijing, although there is little hope for them to win a medal.

With or without medal chance, the Finnish athletes will be rooted for by their compatriots in Beijing and back home.

A total of 10,000 Olympic tickets allocated to Finland have been snapped up. The Finnish Olympic Committee is asking its Chinese counterpart for more tickets.

Source: Xinhua

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