The 25 Hottest Olympic Hopefuls

Lindsey vonnHarry How/GettyAccomplished alpine skier Lindsey Vonn has modelled for Sports Illustrated and was included in Maxim’s Hot 100 list.

This feature is a part of our Sexiest Athletes series.
As the countdown to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics ticks into the double-digits, qualifiers and Olympic trials in the next couple months will determine how many representatives each country may send to Russia, and which hopefuls will make the cut.

The competition is hotter than ever. Literally.

From skiing to ice hockey to biathlon, we rounded up the steamiest athletes, listed alphabetically, who are likely headed to Sochi.

Aimee Fuller, Team UK

Age: 22

Event: Snowboarding

Snowboard slopestyle -- an event where riders head down a course that includes rails, kickers, and jumps -- will make its debut at Sochi. Aimee Fuller, who placed in the top 10 at the 2010 Winter X Games, is one of the British team's brightest prospects.

Fuller, who models for her sponsor Roxy, has yet to qualify and is waiting for two events in December and January to decide her fate.

Alena Zavarzina, Team Russia

Age: 24

Sport: Snowboarding

Alena Zavarzina has home turf advantage, and won parallel and giant slalom at the Russian nationals held earlier this year at the Extreme Park Rosa Khutor, next year's Olympic venue.

The 2011 World Champion in the giant slalom married American-born Vic Wild, who now competes in snowboarding for their collective homeland.

Alissa Czisny, Team USA

Age: 26

Sport: Figure skating

Two-time U.S. Nationals Champion Alissa Czisny is hoping the third time's a charm. She failed to qualify in the previous two Olympics, and is wrapping up a long road to recovery after hip surgery last year.

The Bowling Green, Ohio, native is the first U.S. lady since Sasha Cohen to win the Grand Prix Final, and could possibly be America's next skating sweetheart.

Alyson Dudek, Team USA

Dudek is an anti-bullying advocate, and paints one nail blue as a 'pinkie-promise' not to bully.

Age: 23

Sport: Short track speedskating

Alyson Dudek and her teammates brought home the Olympic bronze medal in the 3,000m relay race in Vancouver. Now the Wisconsin native is taking aims at Sochi, with the goals of medaling both individually and again in the relay.

Dudek started a campaign on the crowd-funding website to help offset her training expenses. She's raised more than $US3,000.

Aksel Lund Svindal, Team Norway

Age: 30

Sports: Alpine skiing

After taking the World Cup titles in super-G and downhill last season, this Norwegian pillar will be the one to beat in the speed discipline events at Sochi. In the last Olympics, he won gold in super-G and silver in downhill -- making Norway the first nation to win 100 silver medals at the Winter Games.

This fall Svindal split from long-time girlfriend and tiara-wearing Olympic skier Julia Mancuso.

Ashley Wagner, Team USA

Age: 22

Sport: Figure skating

Based on last season's results, the U.S. can send three women's singles skaters to Sochi. Ashley Wagner, the two-time defending U.S. National champion who narrowly missed the Vancouver cut, is more than likely to be included.

She was recently named the face of CoverGirl and has been very outspoken about Russia's anti-gay legislation.

Bode Miller, Team USA

Age: 36

Sport: Alpine skiing

Bode Miller is the most successful U.S. Olympic male alpine skier of all time -- a World Cup overall champion, four-time World Champion, and five-time Olympic medalist.

Miller, who skipped last season to rehabilitate an injured knee, returned to the circuit with a 19th-place finish in giant slalom at the World Cup Opener in October.

Grete Eliassen, Team USA

Age: 26

Sport: Freeskiing

(missing links) Grete (pronounced 'Greta') Eliassen was born in the U.S. and raised in Norway, but returned to the States to intensify her training on the snowy slopes of Salt Lake City in 2005. This year the University of Utah student bounced back from a knee injury and claimed bronze at the FIS World Ski Championships in Norway.

In 2010 Eliassen achieved the Hip Jump World Record, reaching speeds of 60 miles an hour as she hit a 30-foot jump and cleared it by more than a foot.

Henrik Lundqvist, Team Sweden

Henrik Lundqvist waves the Swedish flag after defeating Finland at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

Age: 31

Sport: Men's ice hockey

The crown jewel of the Sochi Games will undoubtedly be the Men's Hockey Tournament championship. The New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was among 35 players invited to take part in Sweden's Olympic team evaluation camp this summer.

He also starred in this unbelievably sexy Head & Shoulders shampoo commercial.

J. R. Celski, Team USA

Age: 23

Sport: Short track speedskating

Team: USA

Five months before the Vancouver Games, J.R. Celski fell during Olympic trials and inadvertently slashed his quad muscle with his own skate. He miraculously rehabilitated in time to compete with Apolo Ohno in the relay and won bronze medals in the 1500m and 500m.

He's also one of hottest endorsers of the Games, accruing sponsorships with Liberty Mutual, TD Ameritrade, Procter & Gamble, Wheaties, Nike, and The Aim Companies.

Jesse Beckom III, Team USA

Age: ~35

Sport: Bobsled

Jesse Beckom III is a push athlete on the national men's bobsled team. He's qualified for four World Championship teams, and took silver in 2-man and bronze in 4-man during the 2012-2013 National Team Trials.

Beckom holds a masters degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University. He's selling wall calendars, with pictures of his buff self, to cover training expenses for Sochi.

Julia Mancuso, Team USA

Age: 29

Sport: Alpine skiing

Julia Mancuso made a splash at the Vancouver Games when she took the silver in women's downhill and combined, and handed out 500 thongs and 500 boyshorts. Her lingerie line 'Kiss My Tiara' was inspired by a tiara she wears during competition.

At Sochi, 'Super Jules,' as her fans call her, will attempt to become the first U.S. alpine skier to win a medal at three straight Olympics.

Julie Chu, Team USA

Age: 31

Sport: Ice hockey

Julie Chu has earned a medal with Team USA's women's hockey team for the last three Winter Games, earning two silver medals and a bronze medal. The only colour she is missing is gold, which is why the Harvard graduate is hoping she can finally reach the top spot on the podium in Sochi.

Chu posed for ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue in the buff.

Lindsey Vonn, Team USA

Age: 29

Sport: Alpine skiing

The most decorated female ski racer in U.S. history, Lindsey Vonn is the only American woman to capture downhill gold at the Olympics, and one of six women to have won World Cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing.

This February, a season-ending accident on the course resulted in a torn ACL and broken leg, but boyfriend Tiger Woods nursed her back to health.

Lolo Jones, Team USA

Age: 31

Sport: Bobsled

There are nine women on the national bobsled team competing for tickets to Sochi, and the U.S. is guaranteed at least one two-woman team in the Games. Lolo Jones, the team's breakman for the second consecutive season, just earned her spot on the World Cup team -- bringing her one step closer to a second shot at gold.

Best known for her accomplishments on the track, Jones was favoured to win the 100m hurdles at the Beijing Games, but tripped on the final hurdle and finished in seventh place.

Patrick Chan, Team Canada

Age: 22

Sport: Figure skating

Three-time reigning world champion Patrick Chan is going to run out of room on his mantle, having just picked up another gold medal at the Skate Canada International Grand Prix. Chan set a world record during the short program, beating his closest competitor by almost seven points.

He is favoured to become Canada's first to win an Olympic gold medal in male figure skating.

Sarah Hendrickson, Team USA

Age: 19

Sport: Ski jumping

Women's ski jumping will be part of the Olympic program for the first time in Sochi, and 2013 World Champion Sarah Hendrickson is one of the youngest and greatest gold-medal threats.

A brutal knee injury over the summer put the Salt Lake City native out of commission until January; the U.S. Olympic Committee will then make a discretionary decision whether or not to include her on the four-member ski jumping team.

Shani Davis, Team USA

Age: 31

Sport: Speedskating

Shani Davis is on his way to becoming the most decorated male long-track speedskater in U.S. history. With six career Olympic medals under his belt, the two-time defending champion in the 1,000m event is also the first African-American to win an individual gold medal in the Winter Games.

Davis serves as the honorary chairman of DC-ICE (Inner City Excellence), a non-profit that empowers and inspires youth of all backgrounds through speedskating.

Sidney Crosby, Team Canada

Age: 26

Sport: Ice hockey

Sidney Crosby, anointed 'The Next One' at the age of 15, led the Great White North to Olympic gold in the Vancouver Games by scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against the U.S.

Crosby, who's currently captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is favoured to captain Team Canada as they defend their title in Sochi.

Ted Ligety, Team USA

Age: 29

Sport: Alpine skiing

In his 10th season on the U.S. Ski Team, Ted Ligety is expected to shred the competition at the giant slalom, an event he has won three years in a row at the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup. The 2006 Olympic gold medalist is likely to also compete in the super-G and combined events at Sochi.

Nicknamed 'Shred,' Ligety finished last season ranked third in the world in overall rankings.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Team Canada

Age: 24 and 26, respectively

Sport: Ice dancing

Tessa Virtue Scott Moir just captured their fifth Skate Canada International Grand Prix title to kick off what will likely be their final season competing. After skating together for 16 years, they're hoping to top off their careers with back-to-back Olympic gold medals.

Fun fact: They both said in an interview that glutes are the most important muscle group.

Tim Burke, Team USA

Age: 31

Sport: Biathlon

Biathlon is a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The U.S. has never earned an Olympic medal in the sport, and Tim Burke is its best chance at changing that.

This year, the two-time Olympic competitor -- who grew up outside the Olympic village of Lake Placid -- took silver at the World Championships in the 20km individual event.

Tina Maze, Team Slovenia

Age: 30

Sport: Alpine skiing

As the ski world speculates about Lindsey Vonn's comeback from a terrible injury and Julia Mancuso's ability to continue churning out medals, one questions looms over all the buzz: Will Tina Maze destroy them all?

Last season the Slovenian beauty clinched the overall World Cup title with a record point total, and celebrated with her signature victory move: turning cartwheels in ski boots.

Vanessa-Mae, Team Thailand

Age: 35

Sport: Skiing

Though she's better known as a classical violin prodigy, this year Vanessa-Mae strapped on her boots and will ski for Thailand. The U.K. native is training to compete in at least five internationally recognised events at Sochi, including the giant slalom and possibly the regular slalom.

If she qualifies, Mae will be only the second Thai to compete at a Winter Olympics. In the meantime, her music career is on hold.

Yuna Kim, Team South Korea

Age: 23

Sport: Figure skating

One of the most highly recognised athletes in her country, 'Queen Yuna' Kim became the first South Korean to win Olympic figure skating gold in Vancouver. She will defend her title at Sochi, her last Winter Games.

The five-time national champion made $US14 million in prize money and sponsorships in the last 12 months, and is ranked number 6 on Forbes' list of highest-paid female athletes.

Want to learn more about some of the hottest athletes anywhere?

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