NEW YORK  - The United States will send 530 athletes to the London Olympics as part of a massive team that will feature, for the first time, more women competitors than men, officials announced on Tuesday.

The team will feature 269 women and 261 men competing in 25 of the 38 disciplines during the July 27-Aug. 12 Games where the United States are expected to challenge China as the leading nation on the medals table. "They are our nation's greatest athletes and embody what it means to be American," U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Scott Blackmun said in a statement.

"I'm also proud that for the first time in history, the U.S. Olympic Team features more women than men." More than half of the team will be competing at their first Olympics. Of the returning athletes, seven are attending their fifth Olympics and another 21, including Michael Phelps, will be appearing at their fourth.

Phelps already holds the record for the most gold medals at a single Olympics (eight) and a career (14) and needs to medal in three of his seven events in London to surpass Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's overall record of 18 total medals. Natalie Coughlin needs just one more medal to join fellow swimmers Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres as the most decorated American female Olympian with 12 medals.

The oldest competitor is 54-year-old equestrian rider Karen O'Connor, while the youngest is 15-year-old swimmer Katie Ledecky. "Whether competing at their first Games or fifth, the athletes on this team have made countless sacrifices, dedicating themselves to the pursuit of their Olympic dreams and to being their best both on and off the field of play," said Teresa Edwards, the team's chef de mission.

Meanwhile, the US Olympic team will step out with Gallic-like berets at the opening of the London games, as part of their crisp uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren and introduced to the public Tuesday. Women's soccer player Heather Mitts and men's fencing competitor Time Morehouse modeled the looks on NBC television's "Today" program ahead of the July 27 start of the world's biggest sporting event. Lauren, the official outfitter of the US Olympic and Paralympic teams, is giving the entire team blue blazers -- double-breasted for the men -- with the official team patch and the designer's signature pony motif.

They'll be matched with cream skirts and trousers, and topped with navy berets accented with red and white stripes. "It's a privilege to play a part in the London games and the celebrate the achievements of these premier athletes as they represent our nation on the world's biggest stage," said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren's executive vice president for marketing and the designer's son, in a statement. Lauren has previously introduced its outfits for the closing ceremony and for day-to-day wear by the US team in the Olympic Village, inspired by the sartorial flavour of 1948 when the British capital last hosted the games.

He also designed the US team outfits for the Beijing summer games in 2008 and the Vancouver winter games in 2010.