Americans to watch in the Winter Olympics

The United States is sending 230 athletes to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, the highest number of competitors ever sent by one delegation. Of those 230 athletes, 106 will be returning with Olympic experience, with 49 having won medals, including 19 gold.

Here is a guide to some of the brightest stars competing for Team USA:

Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

Mikaela Shiffrin | Alpine skiing

  • With Lindsey Vonn out of the Olympics because of injury, fans can turn to Shiffrin and follow one of the top young skiers competing for the US. The 18-year-old took gold in the slalom and finished sixth in the giant slalom at the 2013 World Championships in Austria, as well as winning a 2013 World Cup title in slalom. She also brought home the 2011 and 2012 US Championships slalom titles before her 18th birthday. For her slopeside success, Shiffrin was named the 2012 World Cup Rookie of the Year.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Gracie Gold | Figure skating

  • With a name that is perfect for the Olympics, Gold is hoping to get the US back on the medal stand after the Americans were shut out four years ago in Vancouver. Gold won the 2014 US Championships at TD Garden and shortly thereafter was named to her first Olympic team. She won the silver medal at the 2013 US Championships, was the 2012 World Junior silver medalist, and was the 2012 US Junior champion. Gold is looking to become the first American woman to win Olympic gold in this event since Sarah Hughes at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

Robin van Lonkhuijsen/Reuters

Shani Davis | Speedskating

  • Davis is the two-time defending gold medalist in the 1,000 meters and is looking to become the first American to win the same event at three Winter Games. In addition to his two golds, Davis has also won two Olympic silver medals — in the 1,500 meters in 2006 and 2010 — and came in second overall at the 2014 World Sprint Championships. He finished first in the 2011 and 2012 World Cup standings, while taking second in 2013. Davis also set world records in 2009 in the 1,000 and the 1,500.

Harry How/Getty Images

Shaun White | Snowboarding

  • While he no longer has the trademark red locks that gave him the nickname “The Flying Tomato,” White is still a household name in the US, with fans remembering his back-to-back Olympic gold medals in halfpipe in 2006 and 2010. White is an eight-time Winter X Games superpipe champion and five-time Winter X Games slopestyle champion. He has won four US Open titles, is a three-time World Cup gold medalist, and was the US Snowboarding Grand Prix overall champion in 2006. The Carlsbad, Calif., native will also be competing in slopestyle at the Sochi Olympics, hoping to add two more gold medals to his impressive resume.

Elise Amendola/AP

Jeremy Abbott | Figure skating

  • Abbott has had a roller coaster skating career, but represents the best chance the US has after 2010 Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek was forced out because of a hip injury. Abbott has a great deal of experience at major events, having won the US Championships in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014, plus taking bronze in 2013. He placed ninth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and has competed at four World Championships, his highest finish coming in 2010 when he placed fifth.

Phil McCarten/REUTERS/File

Steve Holcomb | Bobsled

  • Holcomb is returning to the Olympics to help bring back the glory that US Bobsledding found in Vancouver, where he and his “Night Train” four-man sled won gold for the US in men’s bobsled for the first time since 1948. His crew includes his teammate from 2010, Curt Tomasevicz; his two-man brakeman from 2010, Steve Langton as a pushman; and Chris Fogt. Holcomb’s four-man sleds have won medals at the past three World Championships: gold in 2012 and bronze in 2011 and 2013. He also led the two-man sled of himself and Langton to a World Championship in 2012.

Carlos Osorio/AP

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir | Pairs figure skating

  • Castelli and Shnapir are making their first appearance in the Olympics. The pair began skating together in 2006 and won back-to-back titles at the US Championships this year and last, as well as taking bronze in the 2013 Four Continents Championships. In 2009, the two won bronze medals at both the US and World Junior Championships. They represent the Skating Club of Boston and train in Boston under coaches Bobby Martin, Carrie Wall, Mark Mitchell, and Peter Johansson.

Jeff McIntosh/AP/CP

Lindsey Jacobellis | Snowboard cross

  • Jacobellis is searching for an elusive Olympic gold medal after winning silver in 2006 and finishing fifth in 2010. Originally from Danbury, Conn., Jacobellis calls Stratton Mountain, Vt., home. She is an eight-time X Games gold medalist (between 2003 and 2014), has won the FIS World Championship in snowboard cross three times, and has 57 career starts in the FIS World Cup. Jacobellis is hoping to bounce back after a torn ACL she suffered at the X Games in 2012 caused her to miss significant time.

Rick Bowmer/AP

Lolo Jones | Bobsled

  • Jones is returning to the Olympics for the third time, but for the first time as a Winter Olympian. Jones is a two-time Olympic hurdler, competing in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. She was on her way to a gold medal in the 100 meter hurdles in 2008 but stumbled over the second-to-last hurdle and finished seventh. She placed fourth in the same event in 2012, missing the podium by a tenth of a second. Jones’s selection to the team has caused some controversy, with some saying she made the squad based on her celebrity and not her ability. She will be competing in the four-person bobsled as brakeman in pilot Elana Meyers’s sled.

Mikhail Metzel/AP

Kelly Clark | Snowboard and halfpipe

  • Clark qualified for her fourth Olympic team this year after representing the US in Salt Lake City in 2002, Turin in 2006, and Vancouver in 2010. The West Dover, Vt., native has won two Olympic medals in three appearances in the halfpipe: gold in 2002 and bronze in 2010, with a fourth-place finish just off the podium in 2006. She has won 11 X Games medals, including eight golds, and was ranked No. 1 in the halfpipe in the 2013 World Snowboard Tour Rankings. She has started 15 FIS World Cup events since 2000 and has six wins in 12 total trips to the podium. Clark is also a four-time US Snowboarding Grand Prix overall winner, and has finished first twice in halfpipe at the Sprint US Grand Prix. She won her 60th career event during the 2013 season, more than any other male or female snowboarder.

Ricardo Mazalan/AP/File

Erin Hamlin | Luge

  • Hamlin is returning to the Olympics for her third try at a medal. She made the team for Turin 2006 and finished 12th, which was good for where she was in her career. She broke out on the international stage in 2009, winning the gold medal at the World Championships, and was a favorite heading into the 2010 Winter Games. Hamlin finished a disappointing 16th in Vancouver, but has steadily been moving her way back to the top. The highlight of 2013 was a sixth-place finish at the World Championships. Hamlin leads a young US team that is hoping to capture the first American medal in Olympic luge.

Dominic Ebenbichler/REUTERS

Bode Miller | Alpine skiing

  • Miller has become a household name in US skiing. The native of Franconia, N.H., made his Olympic debut for the US back in 1998 in Nagano and will be skiing in his fifth Games. He took home his first Olympic medals by winning silver in the giant slalom and combined at Salt Lake City in 2002. He won three more medals in Vancouver in 2010, taking bronze in the downhill, silver in Super-G, and capturing his first Olympic gold in the super combined. Miller has also won five medals at the FIS World Championships, including four golds and one silver. He is a two-time overall World Cup champion, a three-time combined champion, a two-time super G champion, and a one-time giant slalom champion. He holds the American male record for World Cup wins and has won nine individual US skiing championships from 1998 to 2007.

AFP/Getty Images

Noelle Pikus-Pace | Skeleton

  • Pikus-Place would have been a gold-medal favorite heading into Turin 2006 but an accident during a training run left her with a shattered leg. She came back in 2007 to win gold at the World Championships and was a contender going into Vancouver, where she place fourth. She temporarily retired after Vancouver, but unretired two years later to make one last Olympic bid. She won bronze at the 2013 Sochi World Cup and took silver at the 2013 World Championships. Pikus-Pace totaled four gold medals on the 2013-14 World Cup circuit and finished the World Cup season in second place. She is a strong contender for a gold medal heading into Sochi.

Andy Clark/Reuters

Hannah Kearney | Freestyle skiing

  • Kearney will be going back to the Olympics to try to defend the gold medal she won in moguls in Vancouver in 2010. She improved from a 22d place finish at Turin in 2006 to winning gold in 2010. Kearney also has six top-three finishes in the World Championships, including victories in 2005 and 2013. In the World Cup, she won seven races en route to the moguls championship in 2013; was the overall freestyle champion and moguls champion in 2011 and 2012; and grabbed three wins en route to the moguls championship in 2009. She has 50 career World Cup podium finishes, including 37 victories. Kearney also won four US Championships titles from 2006-11.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Meryl Davis and Charlie White | Ice dancing

  • Davis and White head into the Olympics having won their record sixth straight US Championships with a dominating performance in Boston. This pair has won two of the last three World Championships, taking titles in 2011 and 2013. They have also won two World silver medals (2010, 2012) and are looking to improve on their silver medal performance in Vancouver in 2010. The biggest competition is Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the defending Olympic gold medalists.

Julie Jacobson/AP

Nick Goepper | Freeskiing

  • The slopestyle specialist is peaking at the right time. The 19-year-old is looking to win the first Olympic gold medal ever awarded in slopestyle snowboarding. Goepper is coming off back-to-back slopestyle gold medals at the X Games in 2013 and 2014, also adding a silver medal in 2012. He won two other events in 2013 (the Austrian Freeski Open and Dumont Cup) and finished the season No. 1 in the AFP rankings for slopestyle after being No. 2 in 2012. Goepper took third in slopestyle at the 2013 World Championships, has two World Cup starts since 2012, and came in fifth at the 2013 Grand Prix.


Kikkan Randall | Cross-country skiing

  • No American woman has ever won an Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing, but Randall has a strong chance to be the first. She won a gold medal in the team sprint at the 2013 World Championships and ended the season in third place in the World Cup standings. She made her Olympic debut in Salt Lake City in 2002, and in Vancouver she finished eighth in the women’s individual sprint. Heading into Sochi, Randall is one of the favorites in the women’s individual freestyle sprint, an event she has won 10 times on the World Cup circuit.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

J.R. Celski | Short-track speedskating

  • With the retirement of eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno, J.R. Celski becomes the most likely American to medal in short track. He won Olympic bronze medals in the 1,500 and 5,000 relay in Vancouver four years ago and finished first in the 500, 1,000, and 1,500 at the 2014 US Olympic trials. In the 2013-14 season, he won three gold medals in World Cup events — in the 5,000 relay in Shanghai and in the 1,500 and relay in Kolomna. Celski also had a record-setting performance at the 2012 World Cup in Calgary, where he won the gold medal and set the world record in the 500.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.