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10 American Olympians To Watch In Sochi

The official opening of the Winter Olympics will be Feb. 7. USA TODAY Sports profiled 10 prominent American athletes you need to watch compete for gold during the events in Sochi.

There are a lot of different types of personalities and training styles that these olympians can share to help you be a better coach to your students. Watch these athletes and let them become role models and motivational characters to your students. Everybody who is on Team USA was a kid being coached by someone like you.

Gracie Gold, women’s figure skating

After the U.S. failed to medal in the 2010 Olympics, breaking a streak dating to 1964, Gold, fresh off her victory at the national championships last month, is optimistic she’ll make amends for the team’s struggles in Vancouver.

Ted Ligety, men’s skiing

Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn have drawn a lot of the headlines for the last decade, but Ligety quietly has established himself as one of the top skiers in the world. In Sochi, the American hopes to repeat his three gold medals at the 2013 world championships.

Shaun White, men’s snowboard

Success at the Olympics has made White a pop-culture icon. Even though he’s shed his “Flying Tomato” nickname and cut his trademark hair, White remains one of the best in his sport while also also rubbing at events with Condoleezza Rice, Gen. Colin Powell and Goldie Hawn.

Steve Holcomb, men’s bobsled

The United States hadn’t won a gold medal in the four-man bobsled in 62 years before Holcomb won in Vancouver four years ago. He’s back this time with higher expectations – winning gold in both the two- and four-man events at the same Olympics. It’s only been done five times.

Noelle Pikus-Pace, women’s skeleton

A rarity among Olympians, Pikus-Pace is juggling her quest for gold while being a mother of two young children. But one of the world’s top contenders in skeleton manages just fine by bring her son and daughter along and using them as motivation.

Patrick Kane, men’s hockey

Kane already has reached the pinnacle of the NHL with two Stanley Cup wins and a playoff MVP trophy as member of the Chicago Blackhawks. However, he heads to Sochi in hopes of an elusive gold medal after the U.S. took silver in an overtime loss to Canada in 2010.

Lolo Jones, women’s bobsled

Jones will make history as one of 10 athletes to compete in both the Winter and Summer Games. After two near misses in hurdles on the track, she changed sports and qualified for the U.S. bobsled team this winter as a brakeman in hopes of winning her first Olympic medal.

Kikkan Randall, women’s cross country skiing

Entering her fourth Olympics, Randall is seeking to make history as the first woman from the United State to win a medal in her sport. The Alaska native has a great chance. She heads to Sochi as the defending World Cup sprint champion and is a world champion in the team sprint with Jessie Diggins.

Kelly Clark, women’s snowboard

Clark won gold 12 years ago in Salt Lake City. Now at the age of 30, she has the distinction of being a pioneer and one of the top competitors in her sport at the same time. Hard work has kept in at the top of her game in a field where some athletes are half her age.


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