This year’s Winter Olympics kick off Feb. 4 in Beijing, and we’re gearing up for a winter watch party. There were be some firsts this year, one being the host city itself — Beijing is the first city to hold both the summer and winter games. There were also be some new sports added to the lineup, including big air freestyle for snowboarding, women’s monobob (bobsleigh) and mixed team competitions in freestyle skiing aerials, ski jumping and snowboard cross. And as for the athletes? Here are some of the top competitors sure to win hearts and minds set to compete on the U.S. 2022 Winter Olympics team.
One of the most iconic faces in the Olympics world, Shaun White is back to take on his fifth Winter Olympics. The 35-year-old snowboarder has already taken home three Olympic gold medals in the Men’s halfpipe event, and is looking to add to his medal cabinet.
Currently considered to be the biggest star in alpine skiing, Mikaela Shiffrin is a favorite in slalom and giant slalom. The 26-year-old from Vail, Colorado, took home her first gold medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Last year, Shiffrin surpassed famous U.S. skiers Lindsey Vonn and Ted Ligety by winning her ninth World Championship medal.
Fresh off his first-place finish at the 2021 Skate Canada International Challenge, three-time world champion Nathan Chen is looking for a podium finish in figure skating. He has added motivation, too, since he didn’t make the podium in the men’s single figure skating event at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Hilary, who was born in Palo Alto, will take to the ice with her teammates this year to try to take home another Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in women’s ice hockey. The 32-year-old veteran and her squad are going for their second straight Olympic gold medal.
America’s leading skip (captain) in the sport of curling, John Shuster and the rest of his team will be back to defend their 2018 Olympic gold medal in PyeongChang. The 39-year-old star from Duluth, Minnesota, has competed in nine world championships, and also has a bronze medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
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Speed skater Maame Biney was the first black woman to compete on a U.S. Olympic short track team at 18 years old in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Now she will be competing for the gold medal in the 500m short track event. Look for Biney to deliver the U.S. its first medal in women’s short track in 12 years.
Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins can do it all — and she will this year. The defending 2018 gold medalist in women’s cross-country team sprint will likely compete in all six Olympic races events. Diggins was able to finish above seventh place in every event she competed in during the last Olympics, and she is aiming to do even better this year.
Entering this year’s Olympics at 16 years old, young prodigy Alysa Liu has already won two U.S. national titles in figure skating. She was the youngest American female to complete a triple axel in an international competition, and the first American female skater to complete a quad jump in any competition. Don’t miss her first (of many) Olympic competitions.
Freestyle skier Brita Sigourney, who grew up in Monterey and then went to University of California, Davis, is looking to capture her first gold medal in the women’s freestyle skiing halfpipe competition. She finished in third place in the same event at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
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Ian Larned is an intern at Make It Better Media Group. Born and raised in San Francisco, he attended Marin Academy in San Rafael and is currently a rising Junior at Colorado College majoring in Economics, Business and Society with a minor in journalism. He enjoys playing sports or doing anything outdoors.