Team USA continues to rack up medals at an astounding pace in Vancouver. With seven golds among their haul of 24, athletes across a range of sports have been performing at the very top of their ability for a place on the podium.
Apolo Ohno became the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian of all time this weekend with his seventh medal, and there have also been outstanding performances from superstars such as Shaun White and Evan Lysacek.
Shani Davis wrote his way into the record books by defending his 1,000-meter crown, and the cover girl of U.S. skiing Lindsey Vonn fought through a painful injury for a pair of medals on the slopes of the Whistler mountain.
With success comes fame. And with fame comes lucrative sponsorship deals and endorsements. Some will be looking to build on their already-bulging portfolio, while others will become to name of a mainstream brand for the very first time.
Here's a look at the top 10 performers from the Games so far, with a glimpse at what the future holds for them.
White continued his dominance of the halfpipe in Vancouver, throwing down his famous Double McTwist 1260 in the victory lap of all victory laps after clinching his second Olympic gold medal.
He flies higher than any of his competitors and he pulls off tricks that most would never even consider possible. He is a superstar in every sense of the word, as popular away from the sport as he is with a board strapped to his feet.
There was only one halfpipe event in the Winter Games, so White's time in the public eye was somewhat limited. That said, he is one of the biggest stories in the Olympics and he clearly made the most of his time in the spotlight—his earning potential continues to be huge.
White will take part in a media tour in Europe after the games before heading out to the Far East to visit family and friends in Japan, where he is also huge.
He will then head back to the west coast of America where he will hit the skateboard circuit over the summer months.
White has already been flown overnight to Chicago to appear on Oprah and he will be flooded with endorsement offers in the coming months.
Forbes estimates his earnings last year at around $8 million, through deals with AT&T, Target, Red Bull, sunglass-retailer Oakley, snowboard-maker Burton and video-game manufacturer Ubisloft.
The sky is the limit for White now that he has earned his second gold medal. He's already one of the most recognizable athletes in all of sports, and his chances to maximize his earnings will now be massive. He will benefit from these Olympics more than any other star.
Ohno came into Vancouver as one of the most high-profile US athletes, mainly on the strength of his memorable performances in Torino, his appearance on Dancing With the Stars and the constant plugs from NBC.
He won silver in the 1,500-meter event and became the most decorated US Winter Olympian with seven all-time medals with a bronze in the 1,000. He still has a shot at No. 8 in the team relay on Friday, and a gold medal would really allow him to leave Vancouver on a high.
In terms of the rest of the season, the World Short Track Championships take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, between March 19 and March 21, ahead of the season-ending team championships in Bormio, Italy, at the end of the month.
Outside the rink, Ohno continues to be as marketable as ever. He has already been seen by millions throughout the Games advertising Vick's Dayquil and AT&T phones, and a gold medal later this week will really seal the deal in terms of future earnings.
He has already been approached by Omega and you can only imagine that his Hollywood agent has a string of other suitors lined up. It will likely be much more lucrative than the deal he signed with the state potato commission to promote healthy eating and indulge his passion for cooking.
Anything to do with speed and style should be at the top of his list—high-end sports cars and lightning-fast Internet could also work, although my bet is that he'll be coming out with his own line of aftershave next, OhYes.
Vonn shrugged off a right shin injury to pick up two medals at the 2010 Winter Olympics, even though she was doubtful about even competing just days before the Opening Ceremony.
The cover girl of US alpine skiing, Vonn claimed gold in the downhill and bronze in the super-G, and she was on course for a podium finish in the super-combined until she hooked her right ski tip on a gate in the slalom.
After the Olympics there are two FIS World Cup meets left for Vonn this season—in Crans Montana in Switzerland between March 2-7, and in Germisch Partenkirchen in Germany the following week.
Regardless of what the rest of the season holds for Vonn, she is sure to be a much sought-after commodity in the advertising world.
Vonn, who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Olympics Preview issue, made about $2.5 million in advertising deals with Red Bull, Under Armour and Proctor and Gamble last year.
She is glamorous and sincere and she can go in so many directions from beauty products and lingerie to soft drinks and cereal boxes.
Experts suggest she could double her earnings in 2010 and, as long as stories such as her wrapping her injured leg in Austrian cheese continue to emerge, there's no doubt she will be one of the biggest winners of this year's Olympics.
Miller will be the first to tell you that he did not perform as expected in Torino four years ago after winning a pair of medals at Salt Lake City. Ask one of Miller's critics and they would not put his failure to medal in such pleasant terms.
2010 has been different for the alpine skier though, capped off with a bronze in the downhill, a silver in the super-G and a gold in the super-combined.
Miller's agent Lowell Taub said the skier is a “bankable commodity” in the sport, especially in Europe where alpine skiing is a popular pasitime. If reports are true, Miller lost around $3 million in endorsements after going 0-5 for Torino.
While pasta maker Barilla did not want to extend his contract, Sports Illustrated reported that Miller was seen having dinner with Nike representatives before his bronze medal performance. If they had faith in Miller then, imagine what his trio of medals will do for him now.
If companies are basing their advertising budget around winners, Miller—both in the US and abroad—could certainly be one of the people they contact once these Games reach their climax.
I would love to see him play a rogue villain in a movie. He has the rough-and-ready look to fill a cameo role nicely. Pasta, pff. Who needs pasta?
Lysacek slayed the Russian beast Evgeni Plushenko to capture his first ever Olympic medal last week when his near-flawless routine landed him a gold in the figure skating.
Lysacek will be fulfilling promotional obligations in Los Angeles immediately after the Closing Ceremony and, with the season coming to an end within the next six weeks, there will be ample opportunities to bask in the success of Vancouver.
He has already expressed his desire to upgrade his Range Rover to a £270,000 Aston Martin when he gets time to visit the dealership, and his love for top-line cars could be a nice match for the Olympic champion.
He already had name recognition from being a two-time U.S. Champion, and his existing lineup of sponsors includes Coca-Cola, AT&T, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Toyota.
It's hard to see which businesses would not want Lysacek in their stables, so the opportunities arising from Vancouver will be plentiful.
He said he has been dying to land deals with watchmakers, electronics companies and toiletries sponsors, so keep a particular eye out for news coming out of these camps.
My thoughts? How does Omega and Sony sound? I also heard Gillette was now looking for a new go-to guy too...
With a pair of medals in tow, Shani Davis will leave Vancouver more popular and more recognizable than ever before.
He took gold in the 1,000-meter and silver in the 1,500, cementing his position as one of the best racers of his generation. While he doesn't necessarily have the star power of an Apolo Ohno or Shaun White, his earning potential has skyrocketed over the past week.
The only question is, does he care? In the past he has spoken about “self worth” and said that he doesn't need to be paid once every four years for someone to define him as a person.
Should he decide he does want to cash in, the opportunities will be out there. Can you imagine him promoting a product with Stephen Colbert? If he doesn't want to go that way with the "jerk"—and if he maintains he doesn't need to put his name to a brand—I'm sure there are many charitable routes he can go down.
He was the first black athlete to win gold in the speed skating in 2006 and the first ever man to defend his title this year. He got a phone call from Barack Obama last time out, and with the First Family's charity work, I'd love to see him promoting sport in the communities and encouraging youngsters to lead healthy lifestyles.
Mancuso took two silver medals from her first two alpine events in Vancouver last week, finishing second in both the downhill and super-combined events.
She was overshadowed in much of the build-up to the Olympics because of the media circus surrounding teammate Lindsey Vonn and her injured shin, but she went about her business quietly and efficiently.
Mancuso has been seen throughout the Games as the face of a Visa TV promotion which focuses on her drawing a picture of herself winning a gold medal when she was a child.
Even if you don't like skiing or have never watched Mancuso race, you can probably identify the commercial I am talking about. If you have seen her race, she's the bubbly American who wears a tiara on the podium.
With just three weeks left in the alpine season, Mancuso will have time off after the Games to relax and maybe work on her own business empire. She has started a new underwear line called Kiss My Tiara, and she hopes to expand to other lingerie in the future.
Mancuso, who shot to fame with a gold medal in the slalom in Torino, is more than just a pretty face, so expect her to cash in when she returns home to, fittingly, Olympic Valley, California.
Okay, okay. Yes, Weir did not win a medal, but he has been the talk of the Olympics both on and off the ice. Many think he was underscored in his free skate program which cost him a chance at a bronze medal, but he won't let that bother him.
He is as flamboyant as you could wish to get, and he works the crowd better than almost any other American athlete at the Games. Other members of Team USA are no doubt more deserving of endorsements based on their athletic ability, but Weir's affable nature and intriguing personality give him an edge that few can rival.
He is not everyone's cup of tea, but he could be a highly marketable superstar for the right brand. PETA isn't going to be breaking down the door to offer him a deal (they may break it down for other reasons), but you could imagine him promoting everything from fashion and music to the Russian Tourist Board.
Depending on the success of his new TV show, Be Good Johnny Weir, the energetic skater could be looking at a multi-million dollar deal in the coming months. He's great for a soundbite, so just imagine how much he could help your business.
Personally, I'd love to see him as a celebrity judge on American Idol, although you wouldn't put it past him to end up on a runway some time soon.
U.S. skier Hannah Kearney upset Canadian Jenn Heil to win America's first gold medal of the Games in the women's moguls competition Saturday night.
Kearney, who was the top qualifier, scored 26.63 points in the final to defeat Heil by the wide margin of 0.94 points.
And do you know what 0.94 means? An ice cream flavor named after you.
Following in the footsteps of Vermont-born Hannah Teter, Kearney will be getting a custom Ben and Jerry's flavor in her honor.
Yahoo! states it will likely be “some combination of coffee ice cream and cookies,” and while Jerry Greenfield and co-founder Ben Cohen no longer have direct say in the running of the ice cream maker, they do still work with the company in an advisory capacity and think a celebratory flavor is a good idea.
Once this novelty wears off, expect to see Mancuso advertising women's jewelry and boutique clothing.
Two-time Olympian Seth Wescott defended his gold medal in the snowboard cross last week, overcoming a poor qualifying run and a massive deficit to Canada's Mike Robertson.
It's a pretty remarkable achievement considering he couldn't walk six weeks ago.
After the Closing Ceremonies there's still World Cup meets in Moscow (March 6), Valmalenco (March 11-14), and La Molina (March 17-21) to take care of, so he's not done quite yet.
Experts have said that mainstream advertisers are moving more towards the exciting and increasingly-popular sports of snowboarding and freestyle skiing for athletes to lead their brand.
Part of the appeal comes from trying to reach the younger viewers who may not tune in to the Olympics Games.
Even though Wescott has two gold medals to his name, he is not an instantly recognizable figure in the way that Shaun White is. Outside of Maine, where he grew up, few people would know who he was if he was on the subway next to you. Outside of the U.S. his name would probably draw a lot of blank looks.
There are deals and endorsements to be had here, it's just difficult to see exactly where he would fit in the mass market away from the obvious choices of ski apparel.