The controversial 2006 gold and silver medalist is better than ever this year. Though his range makes him a threat in any race he enters, he'll be favored to win the 1,000 and 1,500 meters in Vancouver and may also skate the team pursuit, a race he chose to skip in Turin.
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We know he can dance, and with five Olympic medals already on his resume, the three-time Olympian is two medals away from surpassing Bonnie Blair as the U.S. winter Olympian with the most career medals.
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To date, the U.S. team's greatest medal hope in alpine skiing has captured 22 victories in World Cup races, two world championship medals and five cows.Vonn is still looking for her first Olympic medal, and now that she's gotten over early season struggles with new equipment, the time may be near.
4 of 16Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images
Which Miller will show up this year, the one who captured two silver medals at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and won overall World Cup titles in 2005 and 2008, or the one who bombed out, pouted and then boasted about his post-Olympic partying in Turin? It is all or nothing for the talented iconoclast.
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Sled drivers need eagle eyes to see, right? In 2008, Holcomb could barely see at all and needed corrective surgery to repair a degenerative eye disorder that was slowly blinding him. A year later he drove the U.S. men's four to its first world title in half a century.
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German women sliders had won 99 straight international races before Hamlin took them down by winning the world championship in Lake Placid last winter. Hamlin can make more history in Vancouver. No U.S. singles luger, male or female, has ever won an Olympic medal.
7 of 16Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
At the Turin Games, the Chicago native suffered a bout of dehydration after a disastrous short program that took him out of medal range. Now he enters the Vancouver Games as the world champion in an unusual year when U.S. men are likely to upstage the women at an Olympics.
8 of 16Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Meryl Davis & Charlie White
The part-time Michigan Wolverines are ranked No. 1 in the world in the ice dance this year. Last season they missed out on a world medal by four hundredths of a point. Davis was once so shy that her coach put a sticker on White's face so she would look at him during training. White missed the 2005 nationals after breaking an ankle in a pick-up hockey game.
9 of 16Bob Martin/SI
The Flying Tomato is still the world's most recognizable action sports athlete. The 2006 gold medalist in the halfpipe has also won nine titles at the X Games in slopestyle and superpipe events. Now, the 23-year old with his own video game and nearly eight-figure income will try to fight off suggestions from hungry rivals that he has grown soft under his celebrity.
10 of 16Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images
At the 2009 World Championships, Demong experienced the worst and best of his sport. He first got his team disqualified after misplacing his bib number in the bottom of his jumping suit before the race. Then he rebounded to win the large hill two days later. Demong joked that he had ability to bounce back from disappointment because he had lost some of his short-term memory after fracturing his skull in a swimming pool seven years earlier.
11 of 16Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
After getting his first Olympic experience as a practice forerunner at the 2002 Salt Lake Games, Ligety became just like other skiers on the circuit, sporting his chief sponsor on his racing helmet, except in his case, the sponsors were the handwritten words "mom" and "dad." Though best known for his prowess in giant slalom, Ligety, who had never won a World Cup race by 2006, saved his first major international triumph for the Olympics in Turin, where he won the combined in a stunning upset.
12 of 16Bob Martin/SI
Even though Jacobellis has been a dominant figure in her event, with five gold medals and a silver at the X Games in the frenetic event of snowboard cross, she is still remembered as the hot dogger who blew a lead in the final stretch of the 2006 Olympics. That's where she fell while attempting a showy, but unnecessary, board grab before crossing the finish line. After getting up, she finished second behind Switzerland's Tanja Frieden.
13 of 16Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
At 30, the defenseman is the senior citizen of the women's hockey team. She has won an Olympic medal of every color, has amassed nine world championships medals and has played in more games than anyone in the team's history. The Harvard grad also played a game on a pro men's team, the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League, and appeared as a contestant on Donald Trump's The Apprentice.
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In 2007, Randall became the first U.S. female to win a World Cup race in cross-country skiing. In the last two seasons, she's overcome a severe blood clot in her left leg and a case of shingles before the world championships in the Czech city of Liberec. Despite her illness there, she won a silver medal in the individual sprint, the best finish ever for a U.S. woman at the worlds or Olympics.
15 of 16Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images
In Vancouver, Lodwick, 33, would become the first U.S. athlete in any ski discipline to compete at five Olympics. He left the sport after the last Olympics, but returned with a vengeance to win the mass start and normal hill individual events at the world Nordic championships last season.
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Four years ago, Shuster was the lead in Pete Fenson's rink that won the first U.S. medal in Olympic curling. The common-man role aptly suits Shuster, who still works as a bartender at his local curling club in Duluth. At these Olympics, Shuster will be the skip as the U.S. team's medal hopes ride largely on his shoulders.
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