She was going to be the biggest story of the Games before suffering a severely bruised shin 10 days before the Opening Ceremony. Now she's a combination of Willis Reed and Picabo Street, trying to climb off the training table and into history. Vonn is arguably the most dominant U.S. skier in history and will race all five disciplines and has a very real chance to medal in at least three. Twice the World Cup overall champion, Vonn's drama now promises to make her a television star across America.<br><br><i>For complete galleries of figure skaters, men's hockey players, and U.S. snowboarders to watch, click the "Related Links" below.</i>
2 of 15Nancie Battaglia, Michael O'Neill/SI
Hamlin is the reigning world champion in women's singles, having won the competition on her home track in Lake Placid, N.Y., last year. Hamlin's victory stopped a German win streak of 99 races, including worlds and Olympics. She hasn't reached that plateau since the worlds, but has managed two third-place finishes in recent races in Europe.
3 of 15Patrick B. Kraemer/SI
Riesch comes to Vancouver in the midst of a World Cup season, as the points leader for the ladies, which includes close pal American Lindsey Vonn. Though a veteran on the Cup circuit, the Vancouver Games will be her first Olympics; an injury kept the 5'11 Riesch from competing in Turin. The reigning world champion on the slalom, she has proven herself a threat across the board, with Cup victories in four of the five disciplines.
4 of 15Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images
The three-time former world junior champion will represent Italy at her second Olympics after placing no higher than 8th in four events in Turin. Strongest in the speed events, Fanchini hails from a talented group of siblings: older sister Elena and younger sister Sabrina are also active on the World Cup circuit, but will not compete in Vancouver.
5 of 15Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Vancouver is a proving ground for Kearney (pronounced: Carney), a New Englander who went into Turin with high expectations after becoming moguls world champion in 2005, but finished a disappointing 22nd. A torn ACL and a concussion plagued her in the seasons that followed, but after a restful recovery and her first Cup victory in 2009, she's poised for a noteworthy comeback performance.
6 of 15Handout
A year after finishing seventh to teammate Jennifer Heil's first in Turin, Richards came back to upset Heil in the 2007 World Ski Championships in Italy. Her image has been paraded around as the host country's poster girl, but she's going to again face serious competition from Heil who will come to the Games off a World Cup hot streak.
7 of 15Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images
Reigning world champion Heil is on a roll with four Cup victories in January alone, putting her atop the overall standings. Despite her continued success since her gold medal run in Turin, Heil took the 2007-'08 Cup season off to allow her to relearn the sport from a mechanical standpoint. The refreshed 26-year-old is eyeing a repeat performance to get Canada its first gold medal as an Olympic host.
8 of 15Michael Martin/SI; Harry How/Getty Images
With gold, silver and bronze under her belt, Potter is one of two members of the 1998 Olympic championship team, returning to get a second shot at defeating back-to-back Olympic champions and perennial rival Canada. Their chances are good, as USA has overcome Canada in the past two world championship games. The mother of two led Team USA in scoring in Turin.
9 of 15Sean Burges/Icon SMI
Suffice it to say, defending gold medalist Kiriasis is used to winning: following her silver medal run in Salt Lake City, she has won every two-woman overall World Cup title, adding world championship titles in 2005, '07, and '08. So her seventh place finish in Lake Placid in 2009 was hard to stomach for the woman known for her quick-fire starts, but Kiriasis remained atop the standings at the end of the season and is a favorite to stand on the podium come February.
10 of 15Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images
Geisenberger, a soldier in the German army, took a year-long leave to prepare for her first Winter Games, where she will be a member of perennial powerhouse Team Germany. The nation swept the women's podium in 2002, 2006, and is expected to find similar success this year. Geisenberger took gold at Lake Placid in mixed team luge and silver in women's singles.
11 of 15Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The gold medal favorite, 2006 bronze medalist Hüfner had pair of landmark seasons on the World Cup circuit with back-to-back singles world championship titles in 2007 and '08 and winning more than 75% of her World Cup races from 2007-2009.
12 of 15Michael Martin/SI; Harry How/Getty Images
One of two returning members from the 1998 Olympic gold medal squad, defenseman Ruggiero couldn't hold her own during her appearance on The Celebrity Apprentice--the team player said she was unable to turn on her teammates when it counted and was booted off. This bodes well for a tight knit Team USA, for whom the alternate captain had two goals and four assists in Turin, and calls Vancouver her final Olympic appearance.
13 of 15Josh Holmberg/ Icon/SMI; Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Team USA's captain goes to her third Olympics with all but a gold medal on her resume. Her scoring prowess led Team USA to back-to-back titles in 2008 and '09, where she contributed a team high 10 points in each tournament. Her leadership will be key for a team that will almost undoubtedly face Canada in the gold medal match, the defending Olympic champions for two years in a row.
14 of 15Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images
Virtually unstoppable on the World Cup circuit, the 3000m and 5000m gold medals are Sabilkova's to lose with five world championship gold medals and a silver in the 3000m, 5000m and Allround events. It is her remarkable consistency, particularly her ability to maintain a near-constant speed on her final laps in the longer distances, which makes her a favorite to win her events.
15 of 15Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images
The former Chinese acrobat and back-to-back defending world champion in aerials will attempt to better her silver medal performance in Turin. She stands at the helm of what is an extraordinarily deep Chinese aerials team with potential to sweep the event, but will have ample competition from Down Under: Australian World Cup forces Lydia Lassila and Jacqui Cooper are Winter Games veterans vying for their first Olympic medals.<br><i>For complete galleries of figure skating, men's hockey and snowboarding, click "Related Links" below.</i>
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