Winter Olympics 2014: Top 10 Breakout Stars from Sochi

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Winter Olympics 2014: Top 10 Breakout Stars from Sochi
Christophe Ena/Associated Press

As a nation, as a world, every four years we sit down together to watch some of the best athletes on Earth compete in obscure and often dangerous sports. It's a time for things that normally don't infiltrate the public's consciousness, a time for sleds hurtling at 80 miles per hour, snowboarders flying through the air and Eastern Europeans skiing like demons with rifles strapped to their backs.

The Winter Olympics is different—and mesmerizing. 

Every four years, too, stars are born. We watch with intense interest, living and breathing these athletes and their powerful stories for weeks. Failure and success can, sometimes, be equally compelling. We soak in the pathos, absorbing some of the hits and sharing in the joy of success. 

Things happen, inexplicable things, that we can never forget. The tears in Dan Jansen's eyes. The twirling and whirling grace that was Dorothy Hamill. Lindsey Jacobellis and her self-destructive stunt in Turin that cost her gold.

There are stars born during the Olympics who never stop shining. Here are 10 from Sochi. Have some more in mind? Let us know in the comments.

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