Lindsey Vonn, Apolo Ohno Top American Olympic Medal Hopefuls

With the Winter Olympics beginning, it will be interesting to see which American athletes become the darlings of these games. After each Olympics, it seems that a couple of athletes come away with a new-found celebrity that stays with them forever.

When I think of the Winter Olympics, I think of Dorothy Hamill and  Peggy Fleming’s gold medal figure skating performances, speed skater Dan Janzen deciding to race despite his sister’s losing battle with leukemia earlier that day, and the U.S. men’s hockey team led by Mike Eruzione defeating the mighty Russians in 1980 in what is still considered the greatest upset in Olympic history.

So who will become immortalized in American Olympics history? Here are a few Olympians to keep an eye on…

Lindsey Vonn – Vonn, the most successful American woman skier in World Cup history, will be favored in three events – Downhill, Super-G and Combined. She is the first American woman to win back-to-back overall World Cup championships and a Super G Title, and she has also won back-to-back downhill championships.

Lindsey Vonn is this years Olympic medal hopeful for downhill skiing and Super G

Apolo Anton Ohno –  Ohno has a chance to become the most celebrated American speed skater in Olympics history. He’s already won five medals (two gold, one silver, two bronze) and should add to that in Vancouver. He’s currently tied with Olympic legend Eric Heiden for most career medals by an American male. He has been the reigning United States champion since 2001 and has won the men’s national title a total of 12 times.

Already a 5 time Olympic medal winner in speed racing, Ohno is an odds on favorite to win.

Lindsey Jacobellis – Who can forget Jacobellis at the 2006 Winter Games? With a big lead and gold medal in-site, Jacobellis inexplicably fell as she neared the finish line and settled with the sliver. She’s dominated the women’s snowboard cross scene and should get redemption in Vancouver. She was the winner of the 2009 Snowboard Cross World Cup as well as the 2009 Winter X Games.

Lindsey Jacobellis dominates the women’s snowboard cross scene and is favored to win gold.

Steven Holcomb – The U.S. hasn’t won a gold medal in the four-man bobsled since 1948, but that might change this year. Holcomb’s “Night Train” bobsled team comes into Vancouver as the favorites. His team leads the current World Cup standings and are the reigning World Champions.

Steven Holcomb and his “Night Train” bobsled team comes into Vancouver as the favorites.

Rachael Flatt – Flatt won the gold medal at the recently completed U.S. Figure Skating Championships and appears to be peaking at the right time. She had previously won the silver medal at both the 2008 & 2009 Championships and was the 2008 World Junior Champion.

Rachel Flatt is America's favorite to win a medal in figure skating at Vancouver in 2010

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