You’ve heard of snowboard superstar Shaun White and professional alpine skier Lindsey Vonn, but with over 242 American athletes competing in this year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, there are a handful of other athletes who deserve equal recognition.
This is also the largest roster the states have ever sent to an Olympic Winter Games, so having some knowledge of this year’s medal hopefuls is essential!
Lowell Bailey – Biathlon
He may have made his Olympic debut in 2006, but Bailey is hoping to medal in PyeongChang as part of the United States biathlon team. Growing up in the site of the 1980 Olympic Games—Lake Placid, New York—he was surrounded by everything Olympic related. Post-world championships, many in the sport were under the impression Lowell was ready to retire, but fate had other plans. Lowell heads to South Korea with his family and high hopes, but is determined to enjoy this experience and not let the pressure of winning at his last games get to him.
Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
When she was just 16, Chloe Kim had already won three medals as a snowboarder in the X Games. Now at 17, she’s ready for her Olympic debut. A favorite to win gold, Kim has been called a prodigy by snowboarding fans both young and old. She even qualified for the Sochi games (at just 13), but was too young to actually compete. Snowboarding veteran, Kelly Clark, says that Kim’s work ethic is unrivaled. Be sure to tune into the halfpipe qualifiers to see this breakout star wow viewers around the world.
Nathan Chen – Figure Skating
If you follow the road to the Olympics closely, then Chen may not be an unfamiliar name. But at only 18, Nathan Chen is a figure skater set to make history, and is definitely one to watch. As the first figure skater to land five quadruple jumps in one performance, he hopes to do the same during the games. Either way, he’s a strong contender for gold, and his artistic movements are not to be missed.
Shani Davis – Speedskating
With PyeongChang his fifth Olympic games, Shani Davis isn’t new to the international stage. The 35-year-old is competing in long-track speed skating, and having already broken records, he’s poised to continue keeping the momentum going this year. Although he failed to medal in Sochi (along with the other members of the speedskating team), Davis is glad to be representing the states in this sport for his fifth Olympics—a milestone in and of itself.
Matt and Becca Hamilton – Mixed Doubles Curling
Curling mixed doubles is new to the Olympics, and sibling duo Matt and Becca Hamilton are hoping to make the most of their experience in PyeongChang. Beating out teammates Christensen and Shuster (three times, no less) to make the team, these siblings are proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Although they wish their good friends could’ve joined them on the mixed doubles team, this duo proved their worth, and will have to continue doing so for 18 straight days if they want gold medals on the podium.