15 US Women To Watch At The Winter Olympics In Sochi

The U.S. women’s Olympic team took a big hit when its biggest star, Lindsey Vonn, was injured and unable to compete in Sochi.

Even with Vonn reporting from the sidelines, there are plenty of women with good stories and a chance to win medals for the United States.

On the next few pages we will take a look at 15 women that could be the next stars for Team USA.

Sarah Hendrickson -- Ski Jumping

Sarah Hendrickson won her first medal at the U.S. Championships in ski jumping when she was just 13 and in 2011-12 she finished first in the World Cup standings at age 17.

Now 19-years-old, Hendrickson was considered a favourite to win gold that Olympics as the reigning World Champion. However, she injured her knee and needed surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL.

She still has not fully recovered from the surgery, however, she did compete at an Olympic test event in Sochi in December.

Source: ESPN.com

Mikaela Shiffrin -- Alpine Skiing

With Lindsey Vonn not competing at the Sochi Olympics, somebody will need to step up and be the face of the ski team and that could easily be Mikaela Shiffrin.

Shiffrin won the World Championship in slalom when she was just 17 and in 2013 she won the World Cup title in the same event.

Still just 18-years-old, Shiffrin could be the heir to Vonn's throne and it will start in Sochi.

Source: ESPN.com

Lolo Jones -- Bobsled

While there are some that question whether Lolo Jones deserved to be on the team, it is actually quite common for bobsled to recruit athletes from other sports.

She missed out on medals in both the 2008 and 2012 summer Olympics and now she has a shot to finally win that elusive medal as a bobsledder. To do so, she has put on 40 pounds and hopes to finally prove the critics wrong.

Ashley Wagner -- Figure Skating

Ashley Wagner is the two-time defending U.S. women's figure skating champion and is the best hope for a U.S. medal in women's figure skating.

She just missed making the U.S. team in 2010, finishing third in the U.S. Championships.

She finished fifth at the 2013 World Championships.

Source: ESPN.com

Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux -- Ice Hockey

The twin sisters have combined to score 24 goals in 52 games as members of the US National Team. They are also not afraid to scrap as both were at the center of a recent brawl with Team Canada.

The Lamoureux sisters come from a family that lives and breathes hockey. One brother plays in the Buffalo Sabres system and used to play for Team USA. Another brother plays hockey at the Air Force Academy. A third brother plays hockey at the University of North Dakota and once skated for Team USA. Finally, their fourth brother is a student coach at the University of North Dakota.

Source: TeamUSA.org

Hannah Kearney -- Freestyle Skiing

Hannah Kearney won gold in 2010 at Vancouver after failing to medal in 2006.

She lacerated her liver, broke two ribs, and punctured a lung during a crash following a routine manoeuvre in 2012. Still, she rebounded and won gold at the 2013 World Championships.

source: ESPN.com

Noelle Pikus-Pace -- Skeleton

The two-time gold medalist at the World Championships, Noelle Pikus-Pace missed a chance at the 2006 Olympics after a freak accident when a bobsled failed to stop and flew off the track breaking her leg. She returned for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver only to miss out on a medal by 0.10 seconds.

Source: TeamUSA.org

Brittany Bowe -- Speed Skating

After growing up competing as an inline skater, Brittany Bowe played college basketball for Florida Atlantic University. She then turned her focus to speed skating. In 2013, she won bronze at the World Championships.

Bowe appears to be peaking at the right time, winning gold in the 1,000 meters at the World Cup last year. Then, in November, she set a World Record in the 1,000 meters.

Source: ESPN.com

Aja Evans -- Bobsled

Aja Evans is yet another former track and field athlete to make the switch to bobsled. Evans was a sprinter and competed in shot put in college before making the switch.

With the national bobsled team she won the 2012 U.S. National Push Championship and broke the start record with driver Jamie Greubel.

She also comes from an athletic family as her brother, Fred Evans, plays for Vikings and her cousin Gary Matthews Jr. and uncle Gary Matthews played Major League Baseball.

Source: TeamUSA.org

Jazmine Fenlator -- Bobsled

Jazmine Fenlator, a driver, is another college sprinter to make the switch to bobsled after school.

Most athletes have set-backs and bumps in the road along the way. Fenlator is no exception as her family lost their home during Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Source: TeamUSA.org

Maggie Voisin -- Freestyle Skiing

Maggie Voisin, 15, is the youngest member of the national team and will compete in the Olympic debut of slopestyle skiing. She recently finished second in the event at the Winter X Games in Aspen.

Source: TeamUSA.org

Ann Swisshelm -- Curling

Meanwhile, Ann Swisshelm is the oldest member of the team and at 45-years-old is 30 years older than Maggie Voisin, the youngest.

This is her second Olympic games, having also competed in 2002, just missing a medal, losing in the bronze medal match.

Source: TeamUSA.org

Elena Hight -- Snowboarding

Elena Hight, has a long history of finishing second to her older rival, Kelly Clark. However, Sochi could be Hight's turn to take gold in the halfpipe.

Hight is a daring competitor with an odd background, having been born in Hawai'i before moving to Colorado.

She was the first woman to land a 900 in competition, when she was just 13-years-old.

Source: ESPN.com

Arielle Gold -- Snowboarding Halfpipe

Arielle Gold and her brother, Taylor, are both on the U.S. Olympic team and will compete in the snowboarding halfpipe.

Before becoming a snowboarder, Gold competed in rodeo and horse jumping.

In 2012, Gold became the second-youngest snowboarder to win gold at the World Championships.

Source: ESPN.com

Julia Mancuso -- Alpine Skiing

Julia Mancuso is competing in her fourth Winter Olympics, and along with Mikaela Shiffrin, is the U.S.'s best hope for medals in women's skiing without Lindsey Vonn.

Mancuso has won three Olympic medals, including a gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics and a pair of silver medals at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

At age 29, her best shot at a medal is likely the super-G where she won bronze in the 2013 World Championships.

Source: TeamUSA.org

Now check out how much the Winter Olympics have changed over the decades.

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