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Winter Olympics 2018: From Lindsey Vonn to Martin Fourcade, athletes to watch out for at Pyeongchang

Around 3,000 competitors will take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from 9 to 25 February. Take a look at some of the big names who are expected to shine.

Nathan Chen (USA). Figure skating

The 18-year-old quadruple jump prodigy has positioned himself among the favourites for men's gold after winning his first Grand Prix Final title. The US champion has shown he can line up five four-rotation quad jumps in a four-and-a-half-minute routine. But the son of Chinese immigrants knows that the quad jump alone will not land him Olympic gold and has worked to improve his artistry and skating skills to challenge reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu. From October to December, Chen won three Grand Prix competitions and defeated Hanyu, who is now battling injury, along the way.

Martin Fourcade (FRA). Biathlon

File photo of France's Martin Fourcade in action. Reuters

File photo of France's Martin Fourcade in action. Reuters

The 29-year-old heads to Pyeongchang with all the credentials for achieving more success. An 11-time world champion and six-time overall World Cup winner, Fourcade won two golds and a silver in Sochi having also claimed a silver in 2010. The French army officer has been in imperious form this season, but so has Norwegian Johannes Boe, the only man capable of stopping his golden charge. It all makes for a thrilling showdown in South Korea.

Marcel Hirscher (AUT). Alpine skiing

The Austrian is a record six-time winner of the overall World Cup crystal globe and looks well set to extend that after notching up seven victories this season: three in the slalom and four in the giant slalom. The 28-year-old has not enjoyed the same success on the Olympic stage, a slalom silver medal to his name from Sochi being his sole medal. He finished a heart-breaking fourth twice in the giant slaloms in 2010 and 2014, and fifth in the Vancouver slalom. But now, and with 52 World cup victories to his name, Hirscher looks in the form of his life heading to Pyeongchang where a first individual gold surely awaits.

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN). Figure skating

File photo of Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. Reuters

File photo of Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. Reuters

Reigning champion Hanyu -- the first Japanese man to win Olympic figure skating gold -- started the season as favourite to become the first man since American Dick Button in 1952 to win back-to-back titles. However, the 23-year-old from Sendai has been off the ice for nearly two months nursing damaged right ankle ligaments and his form is in doubt. An artist on the ice, Hanyu has the complete package, combining immense technical skill with emotional and interpretive performances which have earned him world-record marks for the short programme (110.95), free skate (219.48) and total score (330.43). But the crown of the "Ice Prince" could slip if he isn't in top form against America's Chen.

Kjetil Jansrud (NOR). Alpine skiing

The Norwegian heads up a powerful national team also boasting the likes of speed king Aksel Lund Svindal and slalom expert Henrik Kristoffersen. Jansrud won super-G gold and downhill bronze in Sochi in 2014 and giant slalom silver in 2010. His versatility is legendary and he has history in South Korea, having won the downhill on the Olympic course in February last year.

Chloe Kim (USA). Snowboarding

Aged just 17, Chloe Kim is tipped by many to become the breakout star of the Winter Olympics in Korea, her parents' homeland. Too young to compete in Sochi four years ago, she's a halfpipe snowboard specialist who has racked up some impressive performances over the past few months. She is a three-times Winter X-Games champion and was America's flag-bearer at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics, where she won the halfpipe and slopestyle titles.

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA). Alpine skiing

File photo of Mikaela Shiffrin of the US in action. Reuters

File photo of Mikaela Shiffrin of the US in action. Reuters

At just 22 years old, the Colorado native has already racked up 40 wins on the World Cup circuit, mainly in the slalom. But this year has seen Shiffrin add a further string to her bow as she branches out into the speed disciplines. She streaked to a first downhill victory in Lake Louise and given Pyeongchang's favourable schedule Shiffrin could realistically medal in four events.

Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS). Figure skating

The teenage two-time world champion Medvedeva -- unbeaten in two years -- wants to succeed Adelina Sotnikova, who won a controversial Olympic gold ahead of South Korea's Kim Yu-Na in Sochi 2014. She has the talent to do so if she can recover in time from a fractured metatarsal which forced her out of the Grand Prix Final and Russian nationals. Medvedeva, 18, was part of a Russian delegation that spoke to the International Olympic Committee on the day it ruled to ban Russia from the Pyeongchang Games for state-sponsored doping. But she will face a challenge from her fellow Russian Alina Zagitova, 15, who has proved to be a sensation in her debut senior season.

Lindsey Vonn (USA). Alpine skiing

File photo of Lindsey Vonn of the US. Reuters

File photo of Lindsey Vonn of the US. Reuters

The 33-year-old American has won four World Cup overall championships as well as an Olympic gold in the downhill at the 2010 Games. Despite missing the 2014 Games through injury, she has become one of the most recognisable sportswomen in the world. The ex-girlfriend of Tiger Woods has 78 World Cup wins to her name, closing down on Ingemar Stenmark's record of 86, and is aiming for a last Olympic hurrah in South Korea.


Published Date: Feb 04, 2018 20:33 PM | Updated Date: Feb 04, 2018 20:33 PM

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