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10 US athletes to watch at the Sochi Winter Olympics

The only U.S. athlete to win gold so far at the 2014 Olympics is Sage Kotsenburg, who took home the top prize in men’s slopestyle on Saturday.

The 20-year-old from Park City, Utah, was the only American to make it out of the semifinals. Staale Sandbech of Norway took silver and Mark McMorris of Canada got the bronze medal.

Norway currently leads the medal standings with four, but with a record 230 athletes at the Games, the U.S. has plenty more opportunities to medal. Here are 10 athletes to watch:

Kelly Clark

Clark won gold in snowboarding at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 and took home the bronze in Vancouver in 2010. Since then, the 30-year-old has won back-to-back X Games titles.

Gracie Gold

The 18-year-old may just be the future of U.S. women’s figure skating. The runner-up at the 2013 U.S. Championships, Gold is hoping to get the U.S. back on track after the country failed to medal in women’s figure skating in 2010 for the first time since 1964.

Shani Davis

The long track speed skater became the first black athlete to win gold at a winter event in 2006, and the first to win back-to-back golds in the 1,000 meters in 2010. Now he’s hoping to become the first male athlete in any event to win gold at three straight Olympics.

Evan Lysacek

The reigning Olympic men’s figure skating champion hasn’t competed since the 2010 Vancouver Games, but that doesn’t mean Lysacek has been out of practice. The figure skater is hoping to become the first to take home back-to-back gold in men’s figure skating since Dick Button in 1948 and 1952.

Mikaela Shiffrin

The alpine skier has been called the next Lindsey Vonn, and for good reason. The 18-year-old became the youngest ever World Cup champion in 2013, and is the U.S.’ best hope for a gold with Vonn out of the Games for knee surgery.

Nick Goepper

Freestyle skiing makes its Olympic debut this year, and all eyes are on Goepper for the gold. The 19-year-old took home the gold at the 2013 Winter X Games.

Noelle Pikus-Pace

The skeleton racer is hoping Sochi will be her comeback after missing the 2006 Torino Games when a runaway bobsled shattered her right leg. She finished in fourth place in Vancouver in 2010 despite being a favorite, crossing the line just one-tenth of a second behind the third place finisher.

Ted Ligety

Ligety won three golds at the 2013 world championships, and is hoping for a repeat at the Olympics. He’s a six-time U.S. nationals champion and has 11 World Cup wins to his name.

Shaun White

White withdrew from slopestyle Wednesday due to the risk of injury in the event, choosing instead to focus on bringing home his third straight gold medal in halfpipe for the U.S. The snowboarding star could make it happen, but an ankle injury will make it tougher than was expected.

Kikkan Randall

The cross-country skier is hoping to become the first U.S. woman to medal in her sport. She’s also the defending World Cup sprint champion and is entering her fourth Olympics.

Contact Stephanie Grimes at sgrimes@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @steph_grimes

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