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Sochi 2014 Olympics: 25 USA Storylines to Follow

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Sochi 2014 Olympics: 25 USA Storylines to Follow

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

You only would have to think of your own life story to be reminded that everyone has a story. Most everyone has a pretty entertaining or even dramatic life story somewhere along the line as well. For the athletes competing in the Sochi 2014 Olympics the storylines will soon be every bit as advertized as whether or not they win gold, silver or bronze. What are the top Team USA storylines going in?

Sure the games themselves are fun to watch but by themselves they would only interest the sports fans among us. Yet the Olympics go farther than that with sports fans and those of us who are not huge fans of normal sports. The reason why is the storylines. In-between the events, while the athletes are preparing and the people watching in person are waiting; the television audience will be treated to all kinds of dramatic stories.

Most of those stories will involve some manner of personal struggle that so many of the athletes have to overcome to reach the incredible goal of being an Olympian. That is what hooks us all. Sports fan and non-sports fan alike will be glued to the set cheering for someone they have only recently heard about for the first time. They will have become invested in that athlete’s personal story for at least those few minutes.

Tears will flow as some will never again think of the name of that athlete again in their lives. Still others will follow the athlete’s story for the rest of the time they have a story. Team USA has a lot of these stories just like all of the great countries competing at the games. One thing is for certain.

No matter what country these men and women come from or what their political situation, all of them are people who deserve the stage set before them. Here are a few storylines to follow for the few and proud USA Olympic Athletes. What are some other storylines you are planning to follow? Let us know below so we can all watch along with you.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Related:

Sochi 2014 Olympics USA Athlete Profile: Ashley Wagner

Sochi 2014 Olympics USA Athlete Profile: Shani Davis

Sochi 2014 Olympics USA Athlete Profile: Lindsey Vonn

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25 – Can Tim Burke Win USA First Biathlon Medal?

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RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA has never medaled in the Biathlon at the Olympics. That drought might finally be over in Sochi in 2014 when Tim Burke takes a shot at it. He won silver in the men’s 20 kilometer individual race at the 2013 IBU World Championships. That was the first USA medal in the World Championships in 26 years. Can Burke finally get the illusive Biathlon medal for the Americans?

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24 – Will Emily Cook Finally Win Olympic Medal?

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Emily Cook is one of the best Aerials skiers in the world having not only captured 4 national championships but also 9 World Cup Medals. She has yet to capture a podium spot in the Olympics however. Will Sochi be her final chance?

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23 – Noelle Pikus-Pace’s Revenge

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

In Vancouver in 2010 Pikus-Pace had a great run in the Skeleton event. Unfortunately she heart-breakingly missed the podium by 0.10 seconds. Afterwards she retired from the sport. Recently however she decided to come out of retirement and give it one more try. It isn’t exactly a long shot at this point after she won silver at last year’s Worlds and Gold at the Sochi test events. She could be in line for a redemptive bit of revenge in Sochi.

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22 – Will Kikkan Randall Medal in Cross-Country Skiing?

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

There are many events Team USA excels or at least competes in regularly for a medal. Cross-country skiing is not one of them. As a matter of fact they haven’t medaled in the event since 1976. Randall could be the one that changes that. She dominated the 2012-2013 circuit standings. She finished first in the final sprint standings and third overall. Her chances are very good to compete for a podium finish in Sochi.

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21 – Will J.R. Celski Emerge as Speed Skating Leader

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Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

For years and years the USA Speed Skating team has been led by Apolo Ohno. With Ohno now retired from Olympic competition all eyes will look towards J.R. Celski to see if he can take the helm of the team. He already has a couple of medals to his credit but quite a long ways to go to catch Ohno.

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20 – Heather Richardson from New to Dominant?

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Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

In 2010 Richardson was fairly new, very new actually at long-track speed skating and the results were indicative of the fact. Now just four years later she has a world win to her name and a world record fell to her in the process. It looks like she could go from new in Vancouver to dominant in 2014.

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19 – Can Gracie Gold Grab Figure Skating Medal?

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Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

In 2010 the USA women went without a podium finish and Gracie Gold is one of the front-runners to get revenge for that shutout in 2014. She might have a shot at a gold but for sure Gold could push hard for a medal this February.

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18 – Will U.S. Pairs Medal?

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Simply put, it has been forever since Team USA saw a couple win a figure skating Pairs medal. It hasn’t happened since 1988. This could be the year that finally changes in Sochi if all goes perfectly well but it will not be easy.

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17 – USA Team Figure Skating Gold?

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA won the 2013 World Team Trophy and that could be a very good sign. Could Sochi be the place where Team USA finally takes that next step and nabs a team gold?

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16 – Can Hannah Teter Add Another Gold?

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

USA Snowboarder Hannah Teter usually finds her name listed among the other “hot” Olympians each time they roll around. She is way more than just a pretty face though. She won Gold in 2006, Bronze in 2010 and has yet to slow down. Will she further show her prowess in the sport by winning her third medal and second gold?

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15 – Will Louie Vito Dance His Way to Gold?

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Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports

Louie Vito is a successful snowboarder but he is more than that. In addition to winning gold at the 2013 X-Games he also competed in season 9 of Dancing With the Stars. Considering his recent X-Gold he has a good chance to hot step right up to the top of the podium. That should be even more entertaining than competing in DWTS.

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14 – What does USA Men’s Hockey Have?

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise if the Olympic gold medal game in hockey came down to USA and Canada. The question is what USA will be able to do this year on the Men’s side of the coin. Will they be able to hold off Canada and others for Gold?

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13 – Will Lolo Jones Push Bobsled to Medal?

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Scoff all you want about Lolo Jones being on the USA Bobsled team but it is far from a joke. She has reportedly been eating as many as 9000 calories a day from time to time trying to gain muscle for Sochi. She has been part of a good push team so far and could push them to Gold.

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12 – Will Julia Mancuso Continue her Roll?

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Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mancuso is the most decorated Olympic USA Women’s Skiier. Can she make her fourth consecutive games and medal for the third consecutive time in Sochi? If so she would need to start seeing her name up there with the greats of the sport for Team USA.

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11 – Chris Fogt: What’s a Bobsled Compared to Iraq?

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The driver that Fogt pushed for in 2010 retired from the sport shortly thereafter to serve the US military full-time. Fogt also joined in for one round in Iraq but now is back to compete for a strong spot on the Bobsled team and help push them to medal. I think he at least has proven to have the toughness.

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10 – Will Nate Holland’s Streak Continue?

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the competitors on this list have great streaks going but Holland isn’t really one of them. He has made the Olympics two straight times leading into Sochi and that certainly speaks for itself. Results however have been 14th in 2006 and 4th in 2010. Can he leap over the top Snowboard Cross competitors to capture a podium finish in Sochi?

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9 – Jazmine Fenlator Competes After Loss of Home

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The USA Bobsled team surely has its struggles but Fenlator likely sees the word struggle in a much different light than many TEAM USA athletes. Hurricane Irene destroyed her family’s home in 2011. How amazing would it be to see the family’s journey come to a dramatic climax with a gold in Sochi?

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8 – Sidney Crosby and Dan Bylsma

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This could be a very fun story to watch. Dan Bylsma is the coach of the Pittsburgh Penquins and Team USA Men’s Hockey. The captain of his NHL team is Sidney Crosby, the extremely talented Team Canada player during the Olympics. How great would it be to see them having to face each other for a gold medal?

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7 – Will Marco Sullivan Make Team USA?

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Paul Bussi-USA TODAY Sports

Marco Sullivan has competed for Team USA in three straight Olympics leading up to Sochi. However injuries have made a fourth straight time a chore. Can Sullivan make the team in spite of the struggles and injuries he has had?

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6 – Can Julie Chu Lead USA Women’s Hockey to Gold?

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Julie Chu has competed for Team USA many times before in Women’s Hockey. She already has 2 silver medals and one bronze to her name. The Sochi 2014 games could be her chance to finally lead the women’s hockey to a gold medal.

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5 – Is it Ashley Wagner’s Time to Shine?

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Many USA women’s figure skaters have shined in Olympic events in the past but they need a new “it” girl. Sochi could very well be the coming out party for Ashley Wagner on a world stage. She has momentum heading into the games and looks to be one of the medal favorites.

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4 – Kate Hansen Luge With Broken Foot

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Jim Urquhart-USA TODAY Sports

Kate Hanson is trying to make Team USA and compete for Gold in Luge in Sochi 2014. The only problem for her in that is the fact that she has been doing so with a broken bone in her foot. I don’t imagine that stops an athlete as competitive as she is though.

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3 – Will Lindsey Vonn Compete?

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Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The face of women’s USA skiing has without a doubt been Lindsey Vonn over the last several years. She suffered a severely broken leg early in 2013 however with a torn MCL and ACL along with a broken tibia. Can she make an improbable comeback and fight for a medal with Team USA?

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2 – Will Meryl Davis and Charlie White Give USA Ice Dancing Gold?

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Davis and White won a bronze in Vancouver and followed that with dominance. They won World in 2011 and Skate America in 2013. They also won 13 grand prix events. They give Team USA a very strong chance for a high podium in Ice Dancing which is refreshing.

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1 – Shani Davis' Quest for More Gold

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Jim Urquhart-USA TODAY Sports

Shani Davis, a Team USA speed skater, could add his name deeper into the history books. If he has a dominant 2014 in Sochi he could become one of the most decorated Winter Games athletes the USA has ever had.