10 stars to watch out for at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games
The Sochi Olympics may be short on snow, but they're hardly short on stars. DW takes a look at 10 athletes to watch ahead of the Febuary 7-21 Winter Games.
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen - Biathlon
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, the Norwegian biathlete, has 11 Olympic medals stretching back to 1994 and needs just one more in his last Olympic Games to join compatriot Bjorn Daehlie as the most decorated winter Olympian of all time.
Maria Höfl-Riesch - Alpine Skiing
One of the top skiers in the world, Höfl-Riesch enters the Sochi Games hoping to defend her two gold medals from the 2010 Olympics in the slalom and combined events. The 29-year-old German, a longtime friend and training partner of injured US skier Lindsey Vonn, is enjoying a strong World Cup heading into Games, currently leading the overall standings.
Tina Maze - Alpine Skiing
She once flashed her bra in protest after winning a race and has recorded a hit song in her native Slovenia. She's earned a record 24 World Cup podium finishes in one season, earned more points in a season than any skier male or female (2,000) and is one of just three women to win all five events in a season. What the 30-year-old is still searching for, however, is an Olympic gold medal.
Shaun White - Snowboarding
Shaun White made quite the impression with his unforgettable winning halfpipe performance at the Vancouver Games. The 27-year-old American, who is known as much for his skateboarding, endorsements and media persona as for his snowboarding, is undoubtedly the favorite to snatch a record third halfpipe gold medal in a row.
Kim Yuna - Figure Skating
There is plenty of pressure on Kim Yuna at the Sochi Games. The 23-year-old South Korean wowed fans at the 2010 Olympics with a record-breaking score on the way to the gold medal. She hasn't slowed down since. The current World Champion, Kim is aiming for a repeat at Sochi.
Gregor Schlierenzauer - Ski Jumping
Schlierenzauer has been winning World Cup events since he was 16, and eight years later he has more than 50 victories to his name. After finishing a disappointing third in both the individual large and short hill events at the 2010 Vancouver Games, "Schlieri" will be looking to find the one award missing from his trophy cabinet - an Olympic gold medal.
Felix Loch - Luge
The 24-year-old Loch is undoubtedly the king of the luge. A four-time world champion, he became the youngest Olympic luge winner four years ago in Vancouver, and is the favorite to repeat in Sochi. Born in Thuringia, he follows in the footsteps of his father, a former Olympic luger for East Germany who now coaches the German team.
Sven Kramer - Speed Skating
Kramer, 27, has some making up to do for his 2010 Olympics performance. The Dutchman was expected to leave Vancouver with three gold medals but fell two short. He famously undid a first place finish in the 10,000 meters after a lane change disqualification because of his coach's mistaken directions. But now it's redemption time and with the lessons of 2010 behind him, gold should follow.
Marit Bjorgen - Cross-Country Skiing
Bjorgen is unrivaled in the sport of cross-country skiing. The Norwegian collected five gold medals, including three golds, at the Vancouver Olympics, more than any other athlete. At the age of 33 she isn't expected to garner that total again in Sochi, but she's still a contender to medal in what could be her last Olympics Games.
Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin - Hockey
Canada's Crosby and Russia's Ovechkin are two of the biggest stars in one of the Olympics' most start-studded competitions - ice hockey. Ovechkin, 28, had threatened to travel to the Sochi Games, even if the NHL hadn't agreed to shut down for the tournament. He's looking to deliver gold for Russia on home soil. Crosby, 26, who scored the golden goal in Vancouver, is looking to repeat.