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10 Americans To Watch In 2018

With the summer olympics over, the next olympics on tap take place in February 2018 in Peyongchang, South Korea. At the 2014 games in Sochi, the US won 28 medals, 9 of them gold, to finish 2nd and 4th in the medal table respectively. Ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis and bobsledders Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton were the only Americans to medal more than once.

It was a bit of a changing of the guard Olympics, with roughly 20% of the American contingent being aged 30 or older. However, there are plenty of people to watch for 2018.

1. Mikaela Shiffrin, Alpine Skiing

Shiffrin, who will be just 22 in 2018, grabbed gold in the slalom and just missed the podium in the giant slalom. Shiffrin is the youngest slalom gold medalist and has won three consecutive world cup titles in the discipline.

2. Gracie Gold, Figure Skating

Gold was fourth in 2014, and was fourth in the 2015 and 2016 world championships. Her short program score in 2016 was the highest ever by an American. She’s yet to consistently put two routines together back to back at a major event, but if she can do so she could nab a medal in 2018.

3. Tucker West, Luge

West was the youngest slider to ever make the United States luge team in 2014, and in December 2014 he became the first American to win a world cup race since 1997. HE finished 7th in the 2015-16 overall world cup standings and won gold at the U-23 World Championships.

4. Jessica Diggins, Cross Country Skiing

Diggins won a silver at the 2015 World Championships and finished 8th in the overall rankings in the 2015-16 season. With the dominance of the nordic countries over the last few Olympics, Diggins is probably a longshot for a medal, but she has a chance to be just the second medalist ever from the United States.

5. Maddie Bowman, Freestyle Skiing

The 2014 gold medalist, Bowman has backed up her dominance with X Games gold in 2015 and 2016. Although anything can happen when you get judged sports and the Olympics together, Bowman seems like the best bet out of all the Americans to win gold in 2018.

6. Susan Dunklee, Biathlon

Dunklee had two top 15 finishes in Sochi, and ranked 14th in the 2015-16 World Cup standings. She also finished 2nd in a sprint event earlier this season. The United States has never won a biathlon medal, but if Dunklee can put together a good race, she could be the first.

7. John Shuster, Curling

Putting a curler on here is risky because the US trials format makes it tough to predict which team will actually make it to the Olympics, but if it’s John Shuster for the third consecutive Olympics, the US should have a shot to medal for the first time since a bronze in 2006. Shuster struggled in his previous two Olympic trips, but was 5th in the 2015 World Championships and 3rd in the 2016 Worlds.

8. Heather Richardson-Bergsma, Speedskating

The current world record holder at 1500 meters, Richardson-Bergsma also won 3 silver medals at the world championships this year, as well as a gold in 2015. With the terrible showing at the 2014 Olympics in which the United States won zero medals, Richardson-Bergsma looks like the best bet to win at least one medal in South Korea.

9. Lindsey Jacobellis, Snowboardcross

Jacobellis is unfortunately known for her fall at the end of the 2006 Olympics, but is unquestionably the best Snowboardcross racer of all time. She has 10 X Games gold medals, including the last three, and four world championship golds, including the most recent. She’ll be 33 at Peyongchang, and it will likely be her swan song. Here’s betting she caps off her stellar career with the one prize that is missing.

10. Kiley McKinnon, Freestyle Skiing

McKinnon is one of the best aerial skiiers in the world, having won silver at the 2015 World Championships and the 2015 World Cup championship. McKinnon, a Connecticut native, could become just the second female medalist in aerials from the United States.

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