Winter Olympics preview: Top 10 Team USA athletes to watch

Winter Olympics preview: Top 10 Team USA athletes to watch: The USA’s biggest names and best medal hopefuls at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

ALSO SEE: Complete 2014 Winter Olympics Day-By-Day TV Schedule

Winter Games At A Glance
Click on sport to view TV schedule.
Opening/Closing Ceremonies Feb. 7, 23
Alpine Skiing Feb. 9-10, 12, 14-16, 18-19, 21-22
Biathlon Feb. 8-11, 13-14, 16-17, 19, 21-22
Bobsled Feb. 16-19, 22-23
Cross-Country Skiing Feb. 8-9, 11, 13-16, 19, 22-23
Curling Feb. 10-21
Figure Skating Feb. 6, 8-9, 11-14, 16-17, 19-20, 22
Freestyle Skiing Feb. 6, 8, 10-11, 13-14, 17-18, 20-21
Ice Hockey Feb. 8-23
Luge Feb. 8-13
Nordic Combined Feb. 12, 18, 20
Short Track Speed Skating Feb. 10, 13, 15, 18, 21
Skeleton Feb. 13-15
Ski Jumping Feb. 8-9, 11, 14-15, 17
Snowboard Feb. 6, 8-9, 11-12, 16-17, 19, 22
Speed Skating Feb. 8-13, 15-16, 18-19, 21-22
All sports have live and on demand coverage on NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app.

Winter Olympics preview: Top 10 Team USA athletes to watch

10. Sarah Hendrickson, ski jumping
Women’s ski jumping makes its debut at the Sochi Games, and 2013 world champion Hendrickson will be among the contenders for the first gold medal in the event if she’s successfully recovered from surgery to repair torn knee ligaments.

9. Mikaela Shiffrin, skiing
With skier Lindsey Vonn out of the Games, it gives slalom specialist Shiffrin — often called, correctly or not, “the next Lindsey Vonn” — the chance to grab some attention. The 18-year-old technical skier is a gold-medal favorite in the slalom, and has recently increased her prospects of reaching the podium in the giant slalom.

8. Tim Burke, biathlon
The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in the shooting/cross-country skiing sport of biathlon, but three-time Olympian Burke represents the best hope yet. He proved himself to be a world-class contender with a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships.

7. Ted Ligety, skiing
After winning gold in the super combined in the 2006 Torino Games, Ligety missed the podium entirely at the 2010 Vancouver Games. But Ligety could become the most decorated U.S. Olympian in Sochi. A spectacular 2013 season has him a favorite to medal in the giant slalom, super-G and super combined.

6. Julia Mancuso, skiing 
With a gold medal at the Torino Games and two silver medals in Vancouver, Mancuso is the most decorated American female Olympic Alpine skier. She’ll attempt to be the first U.S. Alpine skier to win a medal at three straight Games.

5. Ryan Miller, hockey
If healthy, Jonathan Quick would likely be the No. 1 goalie for Team USA. But Miller was brilliant in leading the USA to a silver medal in the Vancouver Games, and his experience in international competition might persuade the coaching staff to make him the starter in Sochi.

4. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, ice dancing
Davis and White have been an ice-dancing pair for more than 15 years, and they’ll look to improve on their silver-medal performance from the Vancouver Games. The competition with Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for gold will be fierce.

3. Shani Davis, speed skating
With two gold medals in the 1,000-meter and two silver medals in the 1,500-meter, Davis (along with snowboarders Shaun White and Seth Wescott) will attempt to become the first American man to win three gold medals in the same event at consecutive Winter Games.

2. Seth Wescott, snowboarding
Wescott won gold in snowboard cross at Torino and Vancouver, and has the chance to make it a threepeat. Known for come-from-behind wins, Wescott will again attempt a comeback — this time from a torn ACL and a broken leg he suffered in April.

1. Shaun White, snowboarding
The two-time reigning Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion, superstar White could dazzle with a new double cork 1440 trick in an effort to win his third-straight gold in the halfpipe. [Update: White withdrew from the snowboard slopestyle event to focus solely on the halfpipe.]

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Some things I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife