The Five To Watch At The 2018 Winter Olympics

The Five To Watch At The 2018 Winter Olympics
15:13, 08 Feb 2017

The XXIII Winter Olympics gets underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on 8th February 2018 and we take a look at five Olympians who could sparkle during the course of 102 events spread over fifteen disciplines and eighteen days of action...

1. Lindsey Vonn (USA) - Alpine Skier

Lindsey Vonn is the most successful ski racer in American history after winning four World Cup overall championships and she became the first US woman to win downhill Olympic gold thanks to her success in Vancouver in 2010. It hasn't been all plain sailing for the 32-year-old though as she was forced to miss Sochi in 2014 due to a knee injury and she then suffered a broken arm during a training run in November of 2015.

However, the irrepressible Vonn is not one to be kept down as she returned in January 2017 and duly claimed her 77th career win in a German downhill event. Another gold in her fourth and final Olympics would be a fitting way for Vonn to sign off.

2. Elise Christie (Great Britain) - Short-track Skater

Elise Christie has won five World Cup gold medals and set a new 500m world record this season but the short-track skating star is looking to put an end to something of a hoodoo at the Winter Olympics after failing to win a medal in 2010 and 2014.

Sochi was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for the 26-year-old from Scotland as she was disqualified from the 500m after colliding with another racer and she was also penalised for colliding with China's Jianrou Li on the final corner of the 1,000m semi-final. It was a trio of disqualifications for Christie as she was then ejected from the 1,500m after failing to cross the finishing line, with the Scot falling short of the permitted leeway by 1cm.

Christie has unfinished business with the Olympics but the reception she receives in South Korea should be interesting after she endured a Twitter barrage from angry South Koreans who blamed her for ending one of their skater's races in 2014.

3. Lizzy Yarnold (Great Britain) - Skeleton

Lizzy Yarnold made the skeleton cool in Sochi as she won the gold medal for Great Britain in 2014 and the 28-year-old is a leading medal hopeful in Pyeongchang.

Yarnold only began competing in the skeleton in 2010 but she would go on to become World, Olympic and European champion before taking a year off from the sport, citing burnout. The Brit returned in December to secure a silver medal at the second World Cup event of the season and her continuing rivalry with Laura Deas ensures there are high hopes of more British success.

4. Canada - Ice Hockey

The Canadian men's ice hockey team is always a joy to watch at each Olympics and they have won nine gold medals, including three of the last four on offer. The world's number one ranked side are a formidable outfit under Head Coach Mike Babcock but it remains to be seen if they are able to field their strongest team in 2018 as the National Hockey League (NHL) is threatening to stop them from playing because of a disagreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding insurance.

5. Nathan Chen (USA) - Figure Skater

Finally, one man (boy?) who could capture the imagination of winter sports enthusiasts in 2018 is USA's rising figure skating star Nathan Chen. The 17-year-old from Utah, who began skating in 2002, is the US national champion after winning the title with the highest scores ever seen in the country's figure skating history.

Chen is currently the only skater in the world who can land the quad lutz and quad flip jumps in competitions, with a crack at the gold medal not out of the question for this rising starlet.

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