It’s less than a year till the 2010 Olympics arrive in B.C. and excitement is mounting higher as the event draws near. Although the celebrations and ceremonies play an integral role in the games, the most important part of course are the Olympic athletes. These young men and women have been training their entire lives to compete at an elite level and become among the best in their sport. Find out here about some of the top athletes you should look out for in the upcoming 2010 Olympic Games and why they are considered the favourites in their event.
Andre Lange – Germany – Bobsleigh
After obtaining the World Cup overall titles in both men’s two-man and four man events in 2008 and top-three honours in the same events again in 2009, it will be Andre Lange who will be attracting attention in Whistler. Olympic anxiety is no concern for Lange, as veteran among the Olympic athletes and an experienced athlete at 35 years of age, he already lays claim to three Olympic gold medals from the 2006 Games in Turin.
Sandra Kiriasis – Germany – Bobsleigh
Sandra Kiriasis is another Olympic veteran returning to snag another spot on the podium. After winning a gold medal in women’s bobsleigh at the 2007 Turin Games, Sandra is determined to make her mark in 2010. She has been paramount in women’s bobsleigh, pushing to the overall World Cup title every year since 2004. In the 2007-2008 World Cup segment, Kiriasis ended up on the podium with every competition she participated in, gaining seven of a potential 10 gold medals on the World Cup course.
Mellisa Hollingsworth – Canada – Skeleton
The rodeo-enthusiast from Alberta has 13 years of experience to take her to the 2010 Games and has won major international skeleton events from all over the world – including a bronze at the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Mellisa is the first Canadian woman in history to win a medal for the sport of skeleton, she also won the overall World Cup title in 2005-06 season and completed third in 2008. In 2009, she proves that she is still strong with two succeeding medals at the World Cup.
Lindsey Vonn – USA – Alpine Skiing
Lindsey Vonn has become the spotlight of the alpine ski world. After claiming the overall title last season, Vonn began the 2008-2009 season as a favourite, and she hasn’t let anyone down. She shattered records to become the most triumphant women’s skier in U.S. history. Vonn obtained 16 podium finishes during World Cup events, including nine victories. She also gained two gold medals at the 2009 World Alpine Ski Championships in Val D’Isere, France, ending the season with the more prize money than any other alpine skier.
Kati Wilhelm – Germany – Biathlon
As a sergeant in the German Armed Forces as well as a former Olympic cross country skier, it is no surprise that Kati Wilhelm has the drive and stamina of a world class biathlete. At the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, she grabbed a two gold medals and one silver medal. In Turin, she earned one gold and two silver medals. Her standing among the top three athletes in the IBU World Cup much of this season is another reason why she a favourite for the upcoming 2010 Olympics.