7 Incredible U.S. Athletes To Watch During The Winter Olympics

The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are officially underway. As bad as I wanted to write about curling, I figured most would simply want to know who and when to watch America’s biggest badasses on the biggest stage.

With over 100 events and thousands of athletes, below are just seven you can’t miss.

Mikaela Shiffrin | Alpine Skiing

FLACHAU, AUSTRIA – JANUARY 09: Mikaela Shiffrin of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Slalom on January 9, 2018 in Flachau, Austria. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Shiffrin is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in alpine skiing and is the overall world champion. She’s still the favorite to win again. Oh yeah, she was also the youngest athlete to ever win a Winter Olympic gold when she won the slalom at 18. She’ll try and win that one as well.

Lindsey Vonn | Alpine Skiing

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 20: Lindsey Vonn of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 20, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Vonn — AKA Tiger Woods’ ex — is also a favorite to medal in alpine skiing. She’s been plagued with injuries in recent months so a return to true form would be an inspiring comeback.

Hilary Knight | Ice Hockey

WESLEY CHAPEL, FL – JANUARY 16: Hilary Knight #21 of the United States Women’s Hockey Team poses for a portrait on January 16, 2018 in Wesley Chapel, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

No NHL players this year? So what. The U.S. women’s national ice hockey team is jam-packed full of talent and ready for an intense throw-down against Canada. The U.S. has only won gold one other time. Canada? They’ve won all the rest.

Why does Knight matter? She was the first woman to practice with an NHL team, she has a lot of fun and has a true passion for the game. She’s the ring leader. If Knight plays great the USA may win a gold in arguably the greatest winter event.

Torin Yater-Wallace | Freestyle Skiing

MAMMOTH, CA – JANUARY 19: Torin Yater-Wallace looks on after finishing in third place in the final round of the FIS Freeski World Cup 2018 Men’s Ski Halfpipe during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on January 19, 2018 in Mammoth, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Yater-Wallace nearly died two years ago from a mysterious infection. Now, one of the best skiers in the world, the 5-time X-Games medalist is making his second Olympics appearance in hopes of snatching gold. He’s also dating fellow Olympic skier Sarah Hendrickson.

Ben Ferguson | Snowboarding

COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO – DECEMBER 09: Ben Ferguson of the United States looks on from the podium afterthe finals of the FIS Snowboard World Cup 2018 Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on December 9, 2017 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. Ferguson finished in second place. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Everyone knows Shaun White, but if you look at the results it’s simple — Ferguson has been the best snowboarder in the world as of late. He grabbed podium finishes in three of the four Olympic-qualifying contests and was the first U.S. men’s halfpiper to qualify for the 2018 games.

Sarah Hendrickson | Ski Jumping

PARK CITY, UT – DECEMBER 31: Sarah Hendrickson celebrates on the medals podium after winning the U.S. Womens Ski Jumping Olympic Trials on December 31, 2017 at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Hendrickson was blowing up leading up to the Sochi Olympics in 2014 … until she tore ligaments in her knee. She still finished near the top 20. Now, fully healthy, Hendrickson, a world champion, is hoping to fly higher than anyone on the planet.

Nick Goepper | Freestyle Skiing

PARK CITY, UT – SEPTEMBER 26: Freestyle Skier Nick Goepper poses for a portrait during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on September 26, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Indiana native has four X-Games medals. He was also part of that historic 2014 Sochi group who swept the ski slopestyle podium, joining USA teammates Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy. After a mental breakdown months later, Goepper has since fought off his demons, matured, and finished 2nd at December’s Dew Tour Breckenridge, the Hoosier hopes to leap further into the history books in South Korea.

So what’s the best way to watch these studs?

Read the lineup of events here.

Everything will air on NBC, so cable cutters will need a digital antenna or the streaming app, NBC Sports Extra. There will be no tape delay on the west coast.


Follow Josh Helmuth here

Photos: Getty