The 2018 Winter Olympics are on their way and Americans are excited, but here’s what you didn’t know about Team USA.
Madison Chock – Dating In Real Life
Born Madison La’akea Te-Lan Hall Chock, this talented ice dancer has already accomplished so much in her young years. Although she has never won an Olympic medal, she has achieved so much elsewhere with her partner, Evan Bates. Turns out, her and her partner Bates are dating in real life since 2017, so all of the chemistry you see on the ice is real!
Adam Rippon- 1st Openly Gay Athlete
Adam Rippon made history this year when he became the first openly gay American athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics. Despite this huge step in the world of sport, there is so much more to Rippon’s resume. The figure skater started his career with a bang when he won both the 2008 and 2009 Junior Grand Prix Finals. Now in the prime of his career, Rippon is ready to make his nation proud at the ultimate stage in winter sports.
Erin Hamlin- She’s DONE After This
Although she is heavily experienced, having appeared in three Winter Olympics games already, Erin Hamlin has only won the Bronze medal so far. She hopes to win some more in what could be her last Olympic appearance. Outside of sport, Hamlin has been a spokesperson for the National Headache Foundation, raising awareness about her own experiences suffering from migraines. She plans to retire after this. Check out her adorable photos with her boyfriend.
Jamie Anderson – Never Been To School
Jamie Anderson goes into the games full of confidence, but snowboarder hasn’t always been full of fortune. She rupturing her spleen when she was just 17 years of age. Anderson is one of eight children and was homeschooled in order to compete at the highest level.
Hailey Langland – Superstitious
Hailey Langland is one of the first athletes born in the 21st Century to truly take the winter sports scene by storm. She told NBC, “ “I’m fairly superstitious, but I know it’s just me coping with how nervous I am. I try to wear the same socks on contest day as the socks I wore on my best practice day.”
Aja Evans – Family Of Olympians
Aja Evans isn’t the only person in her family who has made a name for themselves in the world of sport. She also has a brother in the NFL, as well as a cousin who plays in MLB. This talented blood that runs through her veins means that she is on her way to making her second appearance at the Winter Olympics. In her first effort, she was an integral part of Team USA’s bobsled team that won bronze in Sochi.
The Knierims – Love At 1st Skate
This adorable pair of skaters has built up a huge reputation upon qualifying for Team USA this time around. Winning bronze and silver in the Four Continents games, in 2014 and 2016 respectively, the duo were also crowned U.S. National Champions in 2015 and 2018. On the back of their most recent triumph, the Knierims became one of the only pairs ever to do a quad twist. Alexa bounced back in a big way after battling illness for most of 2016.
Morgan Schild- Serious Injury
Young star Morgan Schild has been making a big name for herself in recent years. With three top-10 finishes at the World Championships already, Schild ended up receiving the 2015 FIS World Cup Rookie of the Year title for her efforts. Plagued by a couple of nasty injuries, Schild is finally getting the chance on the world stage that she truly deserves. “It’s a huge relief of pressure now and I’m just on cloud nine,” she said.
Californian Karen Chen is chomping at the bit to show the world what she’s made of when Team USA travels to PyeongChang. The early stages of her career as a figure skater have already seen her win bronze at two ISU Challenger Series. She has also won the ladies singles at 2017’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Since the age of four, Chen has sensed her destiny. “Figure skating really helped me find out who I am,” she said.
While his older sister Sadie is arguably more successful, cross-country skier Erik Bjornsen is hoping that he can one-up her at the upcoming games. While she has already won a bronze medal at the World Championships, Erik is still waiting for his first medal in any competition. However, he has already competed at one Olympics – the previous games in Sochi. He competed in the 30-kilometer skiathlon and sprint. This time though, he’s hoping to do so much more.
One of the favorites going into Sochi, Maddie Bowman has rarely disappointed since turning pro. In her debut games, Bowman, who was just 20 years of age at the time, won the gold for the skiing halfpipe. It seems like the years gone by haven’t lowered her chances going into the next Winter Games. She had a major setback in 2015, tearing her anterior cruciate ligament. However, she bounced back, winning the X Games in the process, which kickstarted her title defense in Pyeongchang.
It’s safe to say that Ted Ligety’s career has been a little hit-and-miss. Despite competing in the last three Winter Olympics, his results have been mixed. In 2006, Ligety won the gold in the men’s combined. However, when 2010 came around, he was only able to finish ninth in the giant slalom. He would eventually rectify this when he bounced back in 2014 and won the gold once again. Despite inconsistencies, his 24 GS World Cup wins alone prove that he’s one of the best.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Shani Davis’ middle name was “longevity.” The 35-year-old epitomizes the word after qualifying for his fifth consecutive games. After taking home two golds and two silvers in his career, Davis made history when he became the first black American man to strike gold in an individual sport at the Winter Olympics. Despite all of this success, Davis has unfortunately developed a reputation for being a difficult teammate to work with.
Jamie Greubel Poser
Married to a German bobsledder, this winter sport has been a long time coming for Jamie Greubel Poser. Originally having a dream to compete in track, which started at college, her friends believed that she would be more successful in something like the bobsled. She approached it with an open mind, and it seems like her leap of faith ultimately paid off. After returning home from the Winter Olympics in Sochi with a bronze medal, she is looking to go at least one step further, if not two.
After this talented short track speedskater won his third Olympic medal in Sochi, J.R. Celski is hoping to build on what has already been a fruitful career. Celski holds both the World Record in the 500m and the Junior World Record in the 1000m. He is also the first skater ever to finish 500m in under 40 seconds. With one silver and two bronzes under his belt already, Celski is hoping to bring home the gold this time.
There’s no denying Heather Bergsma’s raw talent as a speedskater. The wife of Dutch speedskater Jorrit Bergsma has won numerous medals at the World Championships (14 in just four years.) Although she is still waiting for that first Olympic medal, the signs point to imminent glory. She has been breaking world records in both the 1000m and the 1500m. She is currently the world record holder in the 2 x 500 meters. Records aside, she just wants a medal in Pyeongchang.
This Boston Pride fan favorite has had steady success at the two last Winter Olympic games, winning silver with her team on both occasions. She finished the first tournament with four goals and now that she gets a third chance to show her worth on the world stage, she is determined to help her team win the gold this time. At the Women’s World Championships, Duggan helped the U.S. win two gold medals and one silver.
Sadly, things could have gone completely different had snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis made some alternative decisions at the 2006 Olympics. In the gold medal final of the Snowboard Cross, Jacobellis was leading the way at the very last stretch, only to be overtaken in the end. It was a devastating blow, and unfortunately, she has never won another Olympic medal since. However, Jacobellis has won numerous golds at both the World Championships and the X Games and will stop at nothing until she gets one more Olympic triumph.
With his partner Matthew Mortensen, Jayson Terdiman is excited to be making his first appearance at the games. Despite their lack of Olympic experience, they are hellbent on winning a medal. However, Terdiman does realize that he and his partner need to keep their goals fairly realistic. “Matt and I have pretty good, solid heads on our shoulders,” he said. “We’ve had a solid plan and we’re trying to follow through on that plan every day. We keep ourselves level-headed.”
Kelly Clark stands out from the crowd due to one simple fact – she is on the verge of her fifth Olympic appearance. With one of the most illustrious careers in the world of American snowboarding, Clark wants to repeat what she did in the last four tournaments: win a medal. “It’s an incredible opportunity to represent my country to the rest of the world, to represent snowboarding and women, it’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life,” she said.
With two Winter Olympics appearances already under his belt, luger Chris Mazdzer is looking to take his game to the next level this time around. Finishing 13th on both occasions, the seven-time national champion knows he can do better. Amazingly, Mazdzer has been active on the international stage for nearly two decades. Ultimately though, there are no bad feelings between him and his opponents on the world stage. “I have this really amazing friendship with all my competitors,” he said.
Elana Meyers Taylor
Californian Elana Meyers Taylor has done it all in such a short space of time. She won bronze in 2010 at the back of the sled and took home the silver at the front in 2014. Meyers Taylor is the first black pilot (front) to win a medal at the Olympics. Not only that; she is also the first woman to win two bobsled medals at the games, as well as the first to win both at front and back of the sled.
When you think of Winter Sports, one of the first names to pop out the hat is bound to be Shaun White. The legendary snowboarder has won the gold for Team USA on two separate occasions (first in Turin 2006 and second in Vancouver 2010.) It seems like his fourth Winter Olympics will be the result of a miracle. While training for the competition, the snowboarder crashed into a superpipe, which required 62 stitches to the face. Bring it home again, Shaun.
At just 17 years of age, Chloe Kim is making her first appearance at the Winter Olympics. She is the first athlete to win three gold medals at the Winter X Games before turning 16. If she does win a medal at the upcoming games, it will make her the youngest American even to win a snowboarding Olympic medal. It’s even more special for Kim, who is of Korean descent, to be playing in these particular games. “I think it’s going to be pretty cool for everyone,” she says.
A fan favorite with Boston Pride, Hilary Knight is one of the bright sparks in Team USA’s women’s ice hockey team. Already in her illustrious career, Knight has made appearances in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2014 games in Sochi. She earned silver at both but hopes to win gold now!
He’s only 18 years old, but Nathan Chen is already a legend in the world of figure skating. Incredibly, he became the first male figure skater to perform five successful quadruple jumps in one sitting. He is also the youngest even male skater in the U.S. to with the Grand Prix of Figure Skating. As a result, many fans firmly believe that the skater will break all sorts of records at the Winter Olympics. At the very least, he is expected to walk away with medals.
She might be young, but many believe that Mikaela Shiffrin is one of the best slalom skiers on the planet already. With an Olympic gold medal and three World Championships under her belt, expect big things from Shiffrin this Winter.
Alex and Maia Shibutani – Figure Skating
Also known as the Shib Sibs, Alex and Maia Shibutani are siblings with a unique bond. Since 2004, they have been one of the most iconic ice dancing pairs in the game. They won numerous medals together, which culminated with a respectable ninth-place finish at the Olympics in Sochi. This fun-loving duo has been known to perform to music by artists such as Coldplay and Michael Jackson and might be singing their way to the podium.
Gus Kenworthy – Freestyle Skiing
Since his silver medal in Sochi, Gus Kenworthy has not looked back. Coming out as gay in 2015 was obviously a huge moment for Gus, but he ultimately wants his skiing to do the talking and has silenced critics with two silver medals at the 2016 Winter X Games. “I have the LGBT audience behind me and there’s all these people that I want to make proud and I want to do well aside from just myself,” he said.
Lindsey Vonn – Dated Tiger Woods
Without a shadow of a doubt, Lindsey Vonn is already a force to be reckoned with in the world of winter sports. Back in 2010, she made history when she became the first American woman to win gold as a downhill skier, at the Vancouver Winter Games. Although she didn’t star in the games at Sochi due to injury, she’s back, fit, and more determined than ever to give a good account of herself in the Winter Olympics.