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16 Team USA athletes you might not know — but totally should

Get into the Olympic spirit by getting to know some members of Team USA
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With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics just around the corner, you'll find plenty of familiar faces on Team USA.

Snowboarder Shaun White is fighting for a record fourth Olympic gold medal, alongside fellow gold medalist Chloe Kim. Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin is returning to her third Olympics. Men's figure skating phenom Nathan Chen is another favorite for gold.

But there are other star names you might not know — yet.

Team USA athletes to cheer include cross-country skier Hannah Halvorsen, women’s hockey star Abby Roque, and men’s biathlon athlete Leif Nordgren, whose wife is due to go into labor during his competition.

Related: 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics: Schedule, events and how to watch

Here are 16 faces to watch at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics from Team USA:

Nathan Chen

Nathan Chen, 22, is a gold medal favorite who finished fifth in PyeongChang. Chen performs four quads in a program, making the challenging jump appear effortless. He's also a guitar player who is classically trained in ballet and studies statistics and data science at Yale University.

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Alysa Liu

At just 16, figure skater Alysa Liu is the youngest athlete to qualify for Team USA. She started skating at 5 and and at 13 became the youngest woman to win a U.S. Championship title. She went on to land other firsts: like a quadruple lutz. Her father, Junguo (Arthur) Liu, was forced to flee his country after participating in pro-democracy demonstrations in his 20s. Her father is her only biological parent — Liu, along with her four siblings, were all conceived via anonymous egg donors and surrogates.

Mikaela Shiffrin

At 26, Shiffrin has two Olympic gold medals and one silver, which makes her “the most decorated U.S. alpine skier ever," but she said she questioned whether she would ever ski again after the death of her father at 65 in an accident in Colorado in 2019. After she set the record for the most World Cup wins in a single discipline in history with her 47th career win in the slalom under the lights in Schladming, Austria, earlier this year. She posted an emotional tribute: "Dad, I hope you had a good view."

Shaun White

Shaun White is heading to his fifth and likely final Olympics and at 35, will become the oldest U.S. halfpipe rider in Winter Games history.  The three-time gold medalist would make history with a fourth. White took more than three years off from competition after PyeongChang in 2018, but returned to competition in March. Lately, he's making headlines for his personal life, too, with his girlfriend, actor Nina Dobrev.

Chloe Kim

Kim made history in PyeongChang at 17 as the youngest competitor to win gold on halfpipe. She took nearly two years off between Games to heal an ankle injury and attend Princeton University, though she has taken a leave of absence to train, and said she will probably not return to graduate.

Hannah Halvorsen

Cross-country skier Hannah Halvorsen, a 23-year-old California native who lives in Alaska, is appearing in her first Winter Games two years after a devastating accident. Halvorsen was crossing a street when she was hit by a Jeep and suffered a traumatic brain injury. “I was a hair away from being paralyzed, blind or dead,” Halvorsen said in December 2019, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. She was off her skis for 11 months.

Maame Biney

In PyeongChang, Maame Biney was the youngest skater and the first Black woman to make the speed skating team. This year she won the women’s overall title at the U.S. Championships. Born in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, Biney moved to the United States when she was five years old and learned to skate shortly after. The 21-year-old University of Utah student can reach speeds of 25 to 30 miles per hour on ice, but likes to slow down off the track with meditation and Netflix.

Maame Biney competes at US Short Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials
Maame Biney competes in the Women's 500 meter final at the US Short Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials. Her childhood friend helped her secure a spot in Beijing.Alex Goodlett / Getty Images

Abby Roque

Abby Roque is considered the best women’s hockey player in the U.S. Roque’s family is part of the Wahnapitae First Nation, an Ojibwe band located in Ontario, Canada, and Roque will be the first Native American woman to play hockey for the U.S. at a Winter Olympics Games. The United States team won gold in PyeongChang in 2018 and has a good chance to repeat.

Leif Nordgren

Biathalete Leif Nordgren has a bit of a scheduling conflict. His wife Caitlin — a meteorologist for the NBC affiliate in Burlington, Vermont — is due to deliver their first child on Feb. 5, the first day of his competition. “I told him to keep his phone on all the time,’’ she told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I’m going to call him when I’m going into labor, and hopefully, he will hear it. But there’s no predicting where he’ll be. He might be competing.’’

Leif Nordgren competes in the Men's 10 km Sprint Competition
Leif Nordgren of United States competes in Hochfilzen, Austria. His wife is due to give birth on his first day of competition.Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Red Gerard

Red Gerard won gold at just 17 in PyeongChang, making him the youngest American man to win winter gold since 1928. The Colorado native grew up with six siblings with whom he built a snow park in his backyard. He partnered with a ski resort in Colorado to create a park called Red's Backyard, to mimic his own backyard park.

Red Gerard, Olympic gold medal snowboarder
Olympic gold medal champion snowboarder Red Gerard poses for a portrait at the base of Copper Mountain in Colorado. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Gr / Getty Images

Erin Jackson

Speedskater Erin Jackson is ranked No. 1 in the world, but she's going to Beijing thanks to the generosity of her friend and teammate Brittany Bowe. During Olympic trials, Jackson, 29, slipped in her race and finished third, costing her a spot in the Games. But Bowe, who’s been friends with Jackson since childhood and qualified for three events at the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Trials, gave her spot in the 500m to Jackson. This will be the third Olympics for Bowe and the second for Jackson, who in 2018 became the first Black woman to make the U.S. Olympic long track speed skating team after just four months of serious on-ice training.

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson, 31, won gold in the inaugural Olympic slopestyle snowboarding competition in 2014 in Sochi, followed by another gold in 2018 in Pyeongchang. If she wins her third straight gold in Beijing, she will equal the feat of U.S. Olympic speedskating legend Bonnie Blair, who won gold in the 500-meter race at three straight Olympics from 1988-94. The three-time Olympic medalist and her boyfriend, Canadian snowboarder Tyler Nicholson, are now engaged. 

Lindsey Jacobellis

Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis qualified for her fifth Olympics as part of the snowboard cross team. The 36-year-old won silver in her debut in 2006, when she led the final going into the last jump and fell doing a celebratory board grab.

Lindsey Jacobellis at the 2018 Toyota Supergirl Snow Pro
Lindsey Jacobellis participates in the 2018 Toyota Supergirl Snow Pro.Jerod Harris / Getty Images

Madison Chock and Evan Bates 

The 2022 U.S. ice dancing champions are also two-time Olympians. Bates is also a 2010 Olympian with former partner Emily Samuelson and is the first American figure skater to compete at four Olympic Winter Games. The two are also a couple off the ice — they started as skating partners and began dating in 2017.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates ice dancing
Ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates are a couple on and off the ice.Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Sylvia Hoffman

Bobsledder Sylvia Hoffman competed on “The Next Olympic Hopeful” reality show, after switching to bobsled from college basketball. Fellow reality show veteran  Josh Williamson tested postive for COVID in January, ending his Olympic dream.


2022 Beijing Winter Olympics: Schedule and what to know