Who Will Take the Gold? The U.S. Olympic Athletes You'll Want to Watch

The Beijing Olympics take place February 4-20, 2022

By Kyrie Collins, Macaroni KID Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher January 31, 2022

The U.S. is sending 222 athletes — 114 men and 108 women — to the Beijing Olympics, including more than 30 from Colorado! Following are just a few of the exciting and talented individuals representing the United States of America. 

Alpine Skiing

Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT): Barbara Ann Cochran won slalom gold at the 1972 Winter Games. Now, 50 years later, her son may be Team USA's best chance at making it onto the podium at the 2022 Winter Games. In 2020, Cochran-Siegle became the first American man to win a World Cup event in super-G in 14 years. 

Mikaela Shiffrin (Edwards, CO): At age 18, Shiffrin became the youngest champion in Olympic alpine skiing when she won the 2014 Sochi games. After her father died suddenly in February 2020, she took some time off but is back and looking stronger than ever. Her goal is to compete in all five individual events in Beijing, and she could become the most decorated American Alpine skier in history. She is heavily favored to win gold in slalom and giant slalom and is a solid contender in the other events.


Susan Dunklee (Craftsbury, VT): The Biathlon is the only Winter Olympic sport in which Team USA has never medaled, but Susan Dunklee aims to change that this year. She competed in Sochi (2014) and Pyeongchang (2018) and has announced that she plans to retire after the Beijing Olympics. Dunklee is a strong advocate for gender equity.


Kaillie Humphries (Carlsbad, CA): With 54 World Cup medals, five world championships, and two Olympic gold medals, Humphries is the most decorated woman in bobsled history. In December, the former Calgary, Canada superstar became a U.S. citizen and is the favorite to win gold in the two-woman bobsled and the inaugural women's monobob (one-person) event.

Elana Meyers Taylor (Douglasville, GA): Elana Myers Taylor earned silver in the two-woman bobsled in Sochi (2014) and Pyeongchang (2018). Taylor took a break from the 2019-2020 season after the birth of her son but will be competing in that event in Beijing, this time with Kaillie Humphries, who will also be one of Taylor's top rivals in the monobob.

Cross-Country Skiing

Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN): In Pyeongchang 2018, Jessie Diggins and (now-retired) teammate Kikkan Randall won Team USA's first-ever gold medal in cross-country skiing. Last year, Diggins became the first American to win the Tour de Ski, a multi-stage event modeled after cycling's Tour de France. In her inspiring book, Brave Enough, Diggins details her journey, including her struggle with bulimia during her teen years.


Team Shuster: At 39, John Shuster is one of the oldest athletes on Team USA. A five-time Olympian, Shuster brought a lot of attention to curling in 2018 when he gave Team USA its first gold (and second medal ever) in the sport. Team Shuster also now features Chris Plys (34), John Landsteiner (31), and Matt Hamilton (32). They are a favorite to medal in Beijing.

Team Peterson: Tabitha Peterson (32) took over skipping after the 2018 Winter Games when Nina Roth (33) went on hiatus after the birth of her son. Peterson is a pharmacist, and Roth is a nurse at an acute care hospital, so they've been on the front lines of the pandemic while training with their squad, which also includes Becca Hamilton (31) and Tara (30), Tabitha's sister. They finished third at the 2021 world championships.

DID YOU KNOW? The 40-pound curling stone is made from a rare granite found only on the Scottish island of Ailsa Craig and the Trefor Granite Quarry in Wales. Each curling stone has a circumference of 36 inches and a height of 4.5 inches.

Figure Skating

Mariah Bell (Monument, CO): Bell won her first national title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January. At age 25, she's the oldest American woman to do so in 95 years. Her current coaching staff includes 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon.

Nathan Chen (Salt Lake City, UT): Chen's disappointing fifth-place finish in Pyeongchang motivated him to work harder than ever and win 14 consecutive international events from March 2018 to March 2021. Favored to earn gold in Beijing, he'll be competing against a number of top contenders, including Japan's two-time Olympic gold medalist Yuzura Hanyu.

Brandon Frazier (Colorado Springs, CO) and Alexa Knierim (Addison, IL): The pair had to withdraw from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships after Frazier tested positive for COVID-19. Their petition for a spot at the 2022 Winter Games was granted, and they are favored to medal.

Alysa Liu (Richmond, CA): At 16, Liu is the youngest athlete on Team USA. After testing positive for COVID-19, she had to withdraw from nationals but successfully petitioned for her spot on the team. Although the Russians are expected to dominate in women's figure skating, Liu probably has the best chance at a medal. She is one of the few American women who can land a triple axel.

Freestyle Skiing

Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, CO): An accident during a competition in 2020 left him with a lacerated kidney, six broken ribs, a bruised heart, and a fractured pelvis. Miraculously, he has made a full recovery and is a strong medal contender. This will be his third Olympic appearance.

Alex Ferreira (Aspen, CO): Ferreira took second place to American David Wise in the halfpipe at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Recently, he won both the Dew Tour and the U.S. Grand Prix Finals and has a solid chance to win gold in Beijing.

Winter Vinecki (Gaylord, MI): The first-time Olympian is not just an outstanding athlete. At age 9, she founded Team Winter, a nonprofit for prostate cancer research, in honor of her father, who died of the disease in 2009. At age 14, she accomplished her goal of finishing a marathon on all seven continents to bring global awareness to prostate cancer. Whether or not she medals in Beijing, I'm already beyond impressed!

David Wise (Reno, NV): He won back-to-back golds in the halfpipe in 2014 and 2018 and stands a good chance of winning in 2022. In addition to his Olympic medals, he has four X Games titles, a world title, and has seven World Cup and six Grand Prix wins.

Ice Hockey

Women's Team: Women's hockey has been part of six Olympic games; Canada and the U.S. have split all six golds (with Canada leading 4-2), making it one of the most exciting rivalries.

  • Hilary Knight, part of the team that defeated Canada in the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, will be leading the team this year.
  • Brianna Decker led the 2018 team with three assists and tallied two goals and four assists in 2014.
  • Nicole Hensley (Lakewood) is returning as goalie for her second Olympics.
  • Abby Roque is a first-time Olympian and, as a member of the Wahnapitae First Nation, is also the first Indigenous player on the U.S. women's team.


Chris Mazdzer (Salt Lake City, UT): This will be Mazdzer's fourth Olympic competition. He earned a silver in Pyeongchang, making him the only American men's single luger to ever medal at the Olympics.

Short Track Speed Skating

Maame Biney (Reston, VA): In 2018, Biney became the youngest skater and the first Black woman to earn a spot on the U.S. short-track team. Although she didn't win a medal (her best finish was 14th place), she won hearts worldwide with her enthusiasm and infectious smile. She uses her platform to speak out against racial injustice.


Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, CO): Uhlaender has been on five of the six U.S. OIympic women's skeleton teams. She placed fourth in Sochi, losing the bronze by just 4/100 of a second, and hopes to earn her first Olympic medal in Beijing.


Jamie Anderson (South Lake Tahoe, CA): The snowboard slopestyle event and Jamie Anderson both made their Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games — and Anderson won gold in the event. She repeated that accomplishment in 2018 and also took silver in big air that year. In Beijing, Anderson will compete in slopestyle and big air again. If she reaches the podium in both events, she'll be the first snowboarder ever to win five Olympic medals.

GIVING BACK: The Jamie Anderson Foundation offers young athletes access and financial assistance to participate in winter sports.

Chloe Kim (Torrance, CA): In 2018, Chloe Kim became the youngest female athlete to win gold in snowboarding at the Winter Olympics. Although she took nearly two years off from competing to focus on her studies at Princeton and recover from a broken ankle, she's continued to dominate since her return. She is favored to win a second straight halfpipe gold.

Red Gerard (Silverthorne, CO): Gerard became an overnight sensation when he won the gold in slopestyle at the 2018 Olympics at just 17 years old. He continues to be a shining star in the sport, earning the gold at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain earlier this year. Beijing will be his second Olympic appearance.

Dusty Henricksen (Mammoth Lakes, CA): Henricksen took the gold in men's slopestyle at his first-ever X Games in 2021, leading to comparisons to Shaun White, the last snowboarder to have done that. Incidentally, Shaun White was also coached by Henricksen's father, Marko, early in his snowboarding career. 

Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA): This will be his fifth and last Olympic appearance for fan-favorite Shaun White. He returned to competition last March after a three-year hiatus. Although he hasn't notched any wins since then, he is as exciting as ever to watch!

DID YOU KNOW? Five-time Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis (Roxbury, CT) and two-time Olympian Mick Dierdorff (Steamboat Springs, CO) earned the first-ever world title at the world championships in 2019 for Mixed Team Snowboard Cross, one of seven new events in the Olympic games this year.

Speed Skating

Brittany Bowe (Ocala, FL): Beijing will be Bowe's third Olympics. She earned a bronze in 2018 in Team Pursuit and took fourth place in the 1000-meter individual event. She's amassed 20 world champion medals, including seven golds. In Beijing, she'll be competing in the 1000-meter and 1500-meter events. 

Erin Jackson (Ocala, FL): Last November, Jackson became the first Black woman to win a World Cup event in speed skating. In January, she slipped at the Olympic trials and placed third in the 500-meter event, failing to qualify for Beijing in her signature event. But Brittany Bowe, Jackson's teammate and long-time friend, gave up her qualifying spot to let Jackson take her place.

Jordan Stoltz (Kewaskum, WI): Just 17 years old, Jordan Stoltz won both the 500-meter and 1000-meter races at the Olympic trials in January, breaking the 1000-meter record in the process. Don't blink when you watch him compete — you just might miss him!