The 26-year-old is one of the best skiers of all time and is no stranger to setbacks. After losing her father in early 2020 and struggling with a series of back injuries, Shiffrin became the first skier to win gold at five consecutive world championships earlier this year. She enters the Olympic season with 106 career World Cup medals, 69 of them gold. Her hardware collection also includes two Olympic golds and one silver. She needs only one more gold in Beijing to boast the most Olympic wins by an American alpine skier, the mark she currently shares with Ted Ligety and Andrea Mead.
Currently on a leave of absence from Yale, the 22-year-old from Salt Lake City is known for being the first figure skater to successfully compete five different types of quadruple jumps. Chen has collected three world titles, three Grand Prix final titles and five US national titles. Chen went into the 2018 Olympics as one of the favorites for the gold but despite winning the free skate, he finished off the podium due to major errors in the short program. The Beijing Olympics will be his chance at redemption.
One of the most successful women’s ice hockey teams ever on the international stage, the US women have finished on the podium in the past six Olympics. At 32 years old, Knight is a veteran and one of the most decorated athletes on the team with eight world championship golds and one Olympic title. Knight, who plays forward, has bravely advocated for better conditions and payment for women’s hockey. Knight scored two goals and achieved five assists in Pyeongchang and is poised to produce even more offense in Beijing.
The 18-year-old has quickly made a name for himself in snowboarding after becoming the Youth Olympic champion in slopestyle at the beginning of 2020 and taking home home two gold medals at the Winter X Games in Aspen earlier this year. One of his victories was in slopestyle, making him the first American man to accomplish this feat since Shaun White’s win 12 years ago. The Californian, who also knows his way around a surfboard and skateboard, is likely to make his Olympic debut in Beijing with a high chance of at least one podium finish.
After winning bronze in Turin 2006, the US men’s curling team finished off the podium for the next two Olympics. In 2018, Shuster finally led his team to America’s first Olympic curling gold, making him an instant Team USA hero. Since recovering from Covid-19, which also infected his wife and two children, the 38-year-old from Minnesota plans on becoming a five-time Olympian in Beijing.
Hoffman caught the attention of the US Bobsled team while starring in NBC’s season two of The Next Olympic Hopeful. Despite not winning the reality show, she secured an invite to the national bobsled training camp. Prior to the unlikely start of her Olympic journey, the 32-year-old from Texas had athletic experience playing basketball for LSU Sheveport and representing Team USA at international weightlifting competitions. Hoffman proved herself quickly, winning her first World Cup title with Kaillie Humphries last year.
After bursting onto the scene by becoming the youngest women to win a national title in figure skating at age 13, the young Californian’s Olympic debut has been long awaited. A year later, she landed a triple axel and a quadruple jump in the same program at US Nationals, making her the first female skater to do so. Time included Liu on the 100 Next list, with Michelle Kwan calling her the “future of figure skating”. This year, she’s started off the season by taking home two international golds, one of which helped the US women secure a third Olympic spot which she is likely to fill.
Four years ago, Kim made herself a household name by securing gold in snowboard halfpipe at only 17, making her the youngest woman to do so at the Olympics. That same year, she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. Now 21 and enrolled at Princeton, Kim has returned to the pipes at the beginning of this year, after 22 months away. She is entering her second Olympics with six X Games gold medals, the current World Championship title, and numerous major sponsors like Toyota, Nike, Oakley and Monster Energy under her belt.
So far, the US only has three certain Olympians for hockey next year and this defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks is one of them. The 27-year-old from Texas was traded to the Blackhawks this summer, where he signed an eight-year, $76m contract. Playing for the United States, Jones two gold medals for World U18 Championships, one gold in World Junior Championships, and one bronze in World Championships. The US men’s hockey team has not won an Olympics since 1980 and has not had a podium finish since 2010 but are hopeful for a medal with Jones, Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews already named to the squad.
The first woman to land a 1080 in a complete halfpipe run in competition, Sigourney has been to two Olympics and is looking to add a third. After finishing sixth in Sochi, the now 31-year-old freestyle skier brought home the bronze medal in Pyeongchang. Her medal collection also includes four from the Winter X Games and one from the 2019 World Championships. Sigourney spent three years at UC Davis, where she also trained in water polo.
The 25-year-old from Colorado hit the slopes for the first time at only 18 months and was competing as a freestyle skier by the time he was 8. In 2017, Blunck won an X Games gold in superpipe and two years later, he became a world champion in halfpipe. The two-time Olympian survived a near-fatal crash during training last year, which resulted in numerous serious injuries. He made a speedy recovery, returned to competition in Aspen earlier this year, and is focused on enjoying the sport going into the season.
Thirteen years ago, Jones made her Olympic debut in Beijing as the world champion in 60m hurdles, favored to win the 100m hurdles until an error put her in seventh place. Now 39, the sprinter and bobsledder has compete in two more Olympics since, one summer and one winter but both without a podium finish. Earlier this year, she won her second world championships gold medal in bobsledding with partner Kaillie Humphries. Now she hopes to qualify for one last Olympics, go back to Beijing, and redeem herself with a medal.
After finishing 13th at his first two Olympics, the 33-year-old luger won a historical silver medal in Pyeongchang 2018, making him the first American luger to win an Olympic medal. A veteran, Mazdzer has competed in nine world championships and has ten World Cup medals, four of them gold. Preparing for his fourth Olympics, he broke his foot last month but is still aiming to compete in singles, doubles, and team relay in Beijing. If successful, he will be the first luger to compete in all three events.
At five years old, Vinecki ran a 5k. At eight, she ran a 10k. At fourteen, she completed a marathon on all seven continents, making her the youngest person to accomplish such a feat. The child prodigy is also the founder of Team Winter, a nonprofit organization that has raised over half a million dollars for prostate cancer research. A recent college graduate, the now 22-year-old aerial skier won her first World Cup in January of this year, giving her a high chance of filling one of the four Olympic spots for women’s aerial skiing.
With three Olympic golds, 23 X Game medals, and 11 ESPYs under his belt, this Californian snowboarder has been one of the most watched athletes in the past four Winter Olympics, all of which he’s participated in. Now, he’s aiming for a fifth. White’s talents go far beyond winter sports, having won two of his X Games golds in skateboarding, been a part of an electronic rock band that played at Lollapalooza, and knows his way around a mountain bike. This season, he is one of the oldest athletes expected to compete in Beijing but is still one of the favorites for a medal.