Sochi 2014: Athletes Who Will Be Household Names at Next Year's Olympics

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2013

OMAHA, NE - JANUARY 26:  Gracie Gold competes in the Ladies Free Skate during the 2013 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at CenturyLink Center on January 26, 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

You better get used to hearing the name Gracie Gold because come the 2014 Olympics, she'll be dominating the American figure skating scene.

Gold was relatively unknown until her performance at the 2013 United States Figure Skating Championships. She put on an incredible performance in the free skate portion to earn a silver medal overall for the competition.

As a result, she's immediately become the "It girl" of American figure skating.

Only 17 years old, Gold has quite a future ahead of her. That future will almost certainly involve a trip to Sochi, Russia, next year for the Olympics. If you haven't heard of her by now, don't worry, there's still plenty of time for the hype machine to get rolling.

Here are three other athletes you will be hearing much more about this time next year.


Kwak Yoon-Gy, South Korea, Speed Skating

South Korean Kwak Yoon-Gy is the reigning world champion in short track speed skating. He put on a dazzling performance, winning gold in the 1,000 and 3,000 meters and silver in the 1,500 meters.

It's part of a long period of dominance from South Korea when it comes to speed skating. The country simply churns out great skater after great skater when it comes to the short track. Its dominance has been unparalleled in the sport.

Eleven of the last 13 world champions have come from South Korea.

Kwak has been patiently waiting for his time in the spotlight, and he should get that in Sochi.


Jamie Anderson, USA, Snowboard Slopestyle

Jamie Anderson is one of the many athletes who benefited from the International Olympic Committee adding snowboard slopestyle to the winter games.

After participating in multiple Winter X Games, Anderson will get to show her skill on a much grander stage. For Anderson, it's a necessary step up.

There have been few more dominant athletes when it comes to extreme sports. Anderson has won four golds, a silver and two bronze in snowboard slopestyle at the X Games.


Mark McMorris, Canada, Snowboard Slopestyle

Only 19 years old, Mark McMorris already has himself quite a decorated resume. He won a gold medal at the 2010 FIS World Cup in Calgary in addition to two slopestyle golds in the Winter X Games in 2012 and 2013.

McMorris put on a great display in the 2013 Winter X Games, scoring a 98.00 to pick up the gold over fellow Canadian Mark Parrot. It was the highest score ever in snowboard slopestyle (h/t CBC).

Shaun White has demonstrated that snowboarders can become major stars during the Olympics. While McMorris might not be American, he could no doubt be a hit in Sochi.