Kenworthy made headlines by coming out in . Before that, he went viral by adopting puppies off the streets of Sochi. None of this should overshadow his talent in the slope event in which, since taking silver at the last Winter Olympics, he has reached the podium at the X Games and the world championships. He secured his spot in Pyeongchang by medaling in two of the five qualifying events.
The silver medal that Kingsbury won in Sochi was merely a jumpingoff point since then he has become the most dominant man in moguls history. Before a recent secondplace finish, he had gone undefeated on the World Cup circuit for a full year. Now the Quebec native, who always competes in a Tshirt with the logo Its good to be the king, figures to start a new winning streak in Pyeongchang.
Kovalchuk left the NHL in after seasons that saw him record goals and a total of points. The yearold winger is still playing topnotch hockey in his native Russia, leading the KHL in points this season. With the NHL choosing to skip the Olympics this time around, he will headline an OAR team that also has former Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk and is vored to win gold in South Korea.
Despite his impressive resume, this seventime Olympic medalist has a score to settle in the , meters. A twotime defending champion in the ,, Kramer finished second at the longer distance in Sochi four years ago. It was even worse at the Vancouver Games, where he crossed the finish line with the stest time but was disqualified for skating into the wrong lane when a coach gave him bad directions.
Chen is a twotime national champion who made history by landing five quadruple jumps during his long program at the U.S. championships. He did it again this year to remain undefeated for the season. Do the math and it adds up to a potential gold medal in Pyeongchang, where the yearold who lives and trains in Southern California will try to wow judges with his athleticism.
Gus Kenworthy, free slope, United States
Wondering which athletes will become stars at the Winter Olympics? Here are to keep an eye on in the mens competitions.
The first man to win six overall World Cup titles in a row is nearing the end of an epic career and racing to avoid a lesspleasant legacy best skier never to win gold at the Games. Hirscher, who earned silver in Sochi, has insisted the Olympics will not define him, but he warmed up for Pyeongchang by claiming his th World Cup victory in a recent giant slalom in Germany.
Only two men in the history of ski jumping have swept the prestigious Four Hills tournament with victories in all four events. Stoch is one of them, having completed the rare feat in Bischofshofen, Austria, last month. That puts the yearold in good shape to defend both the normal and large hill events that he won in Sochi four years ago. Backtoback doubles would put him in the company of Switzerlands renowned Simon Ammann.
It might sound funny to say the defending Olympic gold medalist and twotime world champion has something to prove, but Hanyu cant be entirely satisfied with his last performance in Pyeongchang, where he lost to Chen in the Four Continents Championships. One more thing the yearold has been struggling with an ankle injury. Gracenote, a sports analytics firm that predicts medal winners, has him taking the silver.
A strong month of January has nudged Lochner into the lead in the World Cup season standings and has made him a vorite for gold in the fourman bobsled. But hes only a slight vorite countryman Francesco Friedrich should provide tough competition. They split the world championship with identical . clockings after four runs down the track in Koenigssee, Germany.
Ilya Kovalchuk, mens hockey, Olympic Athlete from Russia
The Michael Jordan of his sport, White dominated the halfpipe with gold medals in and . His fourthplace finish at the Sochi Olympics four years ago left some wondering if the sport had passed him by. Now the yearold from San Diego has qualified for his fourth Games and announced his presence with authority by scoring a perfect at the recent U.S. Grand Prix.