It may seem like just yesterday that Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps were battling in the pool in London and McKayla Maroney was not impressed by her silver medal in the vault in 2012, but the 2014 Winter Olympics are almost here.
Before the main event though, there are still some preliminary trials to take care of for the U.S. teams. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials are fast approaching for the ski jumping and the speed skating squads, while the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships are scheduled right before the Olympics.
Here are few American stars to watch in these final events.
The 2014 Olympics in Sochi will be the first-ever Olympic competition for the sport of female ski jumping, and U.S. star Sarah Hendrickson is sure to make a name for herself at the event.
Hendrickson is the type of teenage prodigy that Olympic viewers seem to fall in love with every four years. She won nine of the 13 World Cup titles in 2012, medaled on the large hill at the U.S. Championships at the age of 13 and took home a FIS Continental Cup title at 14. Thanks largely to the efforts of Hendrickson, the U.S. team is considered one of the favorites for the event in Sochi.
If women’s ski jumping is going to be a success with Olympic viewers in its first-ever Olympic year, Hendrickson will have a lot to do with it.
In recent Winter Olympics, short-track speedskating meant one thing for U.S. fans—Apolo Anton Ohno.
That will not be the case in Sochi, but JR Celski will look to step into the vacated spotlight and continue the Americans’ rich history in the event. Celski won two bronze medals in Vancouver in 2010 and set a world record in the 500-meter race at a 2012 ISU Short Track World Cup.
Celski may not have the star power that Anton Ohno does, but he will be on the short list of favorites in Sochi. He is definitely worth keeping an eye on at the Olympic Trials.
Outside of Anton Ohno on the short-track side of speedskating, there may not be a more marquee name in recent history on the ice for a U.S. squad than Shani Davis.
Davis is the two-time defending gold medalist in the 1,000-meter race and won the silver medal in his last two Olympic performances in the 1,500-meter race. Davis has also won more than 50 World Cup events and is the best hope for the U.S. in the long-track portion of the speedskating events.
While Celski may be competing on the short track like Anton Ohno did, Davis will likely make the most headlines stateside in Sochi.