The XXII Winter Olympic games start February 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia, and U.S. athletes are now in nationwide trials to qualify for their events. It’s exciting to read the women’s curling team being called the “all-star” team, lead by Erika Brown, and are highly anticipated to bring home the gold. If I was an Olympian, curling would be my sport, even though I’ve never picked up a broom or slid a rock across the ice. It’s only during the winter Olympics that I remember curling even exists as a sport. After doing a little research, I found a rink that has curling events close by, so I think my friends and I are in for a curling lesson.
If bending over the broom is too much strain on my back, maybe I’ll have to rethink that sport and go for something a little more laid back like luge.
But back to the Olympics, TEAM USA, has a great site highlighting athletes and I’ve gathered a few of the women I’m going to follow:
Lindsey Vonn suffered a fall today during her Downhill training in Colorado. Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, tore ligaments in her right knee in a high-speed accident at the world championships in February. She has been aiming to return to World Cup competition next week in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Elena Hight is a two-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarder from … Hawaii. Born in Kauai, she later moved to Lake Tahoe. She has said that if she stayed in Hawaii she probably would have become a pro surfer.
Julie Chu has earned a medal with Team USA’s women’s hockey team for the last three Winter Games, earning two silver medals (2002, 2010) and a bronze medal (2006). The only color she is missing is gold, which is why the 31-year-old is hoping she can finally reach the top spot on the podium in Sochi.
Bobsledder, push athlete Aja Evans, has a lot of strong athletic genes in her family. Her brother, Fred Evans, is a defensive tackle for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
Softball’s loss is bobsled’s gain. Elana Meyers had hoped to become an Olympian in the summer Games as a softball star. But when that plan didn’t work out, she decided to test her skills in bobsled. That worked wonders as she earned an Olympic bronze medal pushing Erin Pac in Vancouver. Meyers, now a driver, was named to the world cup team as the driver of USA-1 this past weekend.
Team USA can send three women’s figure skaters to Sochi, and those three will be named at the 2014 U.S. Championships in January in Boston. Ashley Wagner, who just barely missed a chance to compete in the Winter Games in Vancouver, is the frontrunner, followed by Gracie Gold. Among those vying for a spot on the team are Christina Gao, Courtney Hicks and Agnes Zawadzki.
Who are the top short track speedskaters on the women’s side? For Team USA, Lana Gehring, Alyson Dudek, Emily Scott and Jessica Smith are among those to keep track of this season. Gehring and Dudek earned a bronze medal in the 3,000-meter relay in Vancouver, Scott helped lead Team USA to a silver medal at the 2012 world championships and Smith placed third in two world cup events last season.
Noelle Pikus-Pace has returned to skeleton after just missing a spot on the Olympic podium in 2010 (she finished 0.10 of a second away from a medal in Vancouver). She retired following those Winter Games but made a comeback last season when she earned silver at the world championships and gold at the Sochi test event. Will she find redemption in Sochi?
Seven-time X Games medalist Jamie Anderson is seeking her first Olympic berth in the sport of snowboard slopestyle, which will make its debut in the Winter Games in Sochi.
What are all the new sports to watch in Sochi? The 2014 Olympic Winter Games will mark the debut of several new sports: ski halfpipe (men’s and women’s), ski slopestyle (men’s and women’s), snowboard slopestyle (men’s and women’s), snowboard parallel special slalom (men’s and women’s), women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, luge team relay and a figure skating team event.
For more of a complete list of the storylines to follow, check out http://www.teamusa.org/Road-to-Sochi-2014/Features/2013/October/29/100-Storylines-To-Follow-For-The-Sochi-2014-Olympic-Winter-Games