With women's ski jumping set to make its Olympic debut at the Sochi Winter Olympics (Feb. 7-23), keep an eye on Sarah Hendrickson. The 19-year- old expects to be recovered from an August knee injury in time to vindicate a spectacular stretch that saw her win a world title and 12 world-cup events over two seasons.
2 of 20Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
The world's most versatile and irrepressible speedskater can conquer any distance, but look for Shani White to try to double in the 1,000 and 1,500 meters. Davis won gold and silver in Vancouver and holds existing world records (1:06.42 for 1,000 and 1:41.04 for 1,500) in those races.
3 of 20David E. Klutho/SI
No athlete in Sochi will be under more pressure than the reigning Hart Trophy winner, Alex Ovechkin. After dominating the hockey landscape for nearly four decades, the Russians have shot blanks for 22 years and will be under huge pressure to improve on a terrible showing in Vancouver.
4 of 20Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Meryl Davis and Charlie White
The reigning world champions in ice dancing, Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the best U.S. hope for gold in figure skating. Silver medalists in Vancouver, the Michigan pair is unbeaten since taking silver at the world championships in 2012.
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The Penguins star scored the gold goal for Canada four years ago, sinking the U.S. in overtime and sending the home crowd into a frenzy. Sidney Crosby will try to lead Canada to its first men's hockey gold away from North America since 1952.
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Can tomatoes fly? Yes, White proved they could in Turin and Vancouver. After winning two gold medals, the red-topped snowboarder who has built an empire from his halfpipe success is back to make it a trilogy.
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With four overall world cup titles and an Olympic gold medal on her resume, Vonn is always a contender, even at 29. She has spent the last year recovering from a devastating injury at the world championships last year, when she tore her MCL and ACL in her right knee.
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The national collegiate player of the year at Minnesota, Amanda Kessel also tied for the team lead in scoring when Team USA defeated Canada to win the world championship last spring. Amanda's brother, Phil, a star with the Toronto Maple Leafs, will likely play for the U.S. men's team.
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For years, NC stood for No Chance for U.S. skiers in the Nordic combined events. Bill Demong, a 32-year-old Utah native and prospective five-time Olympian, will try to defend the individual title he won in Vancouver.
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The ace skeleton sledder won the world championship in 2012, shortly before trying to make the Olympic team in weightlifting. The colorful 19-year-old Coloradan wears a ring around her neck from her father, Ted Uhlaender, a former major league outfielder who won it when his Cincinnati Reds took the National League pennant in 1972.
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Torin Yater-Wallace became the youngest medalist in Winter X Games history when he won silver in the Superpipe at 15 in 2011. The emerging star also landed the first switch 1800 in competition later that season.
12 of 20Nancie Battaglia/SI
Felix Loch won gold in men's singles luge as a 20-year-old at the Vancouver Olympics, becoming the youngest Olympic champion in the history of the sport. He already has eight titles in both individual and mixed team competitions at the world championships.
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The U.S. alpine veteran won gold in the combined in 2006. Last year Ted Ligety captured three golds at the world championships in Schladming, Austria (combined, giant slalom and Super-G), Should he repeat that feat in Sochi, he'd join the all-time greats.
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The man who drove the U.S. four-man bobsled to gold in Vancouver is back this year looking for a double. Look for Steven Holcomb's famed Night Train sled in the four-man event and a new two-man sled designed by BMW.
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No U.S. athlete has won an Olympic gold in cross-country skiing, but 31-year-old Alaskan Kikkan Randall could be the first. Randall leads a strong U.S. squad in the team sprint and should vie for gold in the individual sprint.
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The reigning champion in ladies figure skating, Kim Yu-na took two years off, working as a television host and product endorser. She came back to win the world title last year and is now trying to rebound from an injury to her right foot. If healthy, she's a favorite again.
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Don't confuse her with Vonn. Lindsey Van was one of the most outspoken advocates for women's ski jumping to be included on the Olympic program and she is one of the most respected voices in the sport. At 29, Van is not only a 13-time U.S. champion, but also a lifesaver, a successful bone-marrow donor to a random leukemia sufferer.
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With three consecutive world titles to his name, Patrick Chan enters the Sochi Olympics as the favorite in the men's competition. Look for two dazzling quadruple jumps at the beginning of his long program.
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The Pittsburgh native first gained exposure in the freeskiing world from the videos he fired off through social media of his exploits on the rails of his urban landscape. After a gold at the Winter X games in 2012 and the world championships last year, Tom Wallisch, 26, will be one to watch when slopestyle events make their Olympic debut in Sochi.
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The reigning world champion and world cup points leader in the slalom, Mikaela Shiffrin is the bright new face of the U.S. alpine team. Look for the 18-year-old to make the team in the giant slalom as well.
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