These Are The Olympians To Stan If You Don't Know Anything About Sports

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images.
It's awards season, which means many of us have been cramming trying to catch up on the nominated films so we can follow along during the shows. But you might want to clear a little space in your brain to prep for the other important award show happening this February: the Olympics.
This Friday is the Opening Ceremony for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, where we'll get our first glimpse of Team USA all together. The Winter Olympics don't get as much hype or recognition as the Summer Games, possibly because the sports are a little less mainstream (looking at you, curling). But there are definitely some exciting athletes and narratives you're going to want to pay attention to this year.
If you don't know anything about sports, that's okay. Here are some of the athletes you're probably going to end up stanning by the end of the Games. Who will be the Timothée Chamalet of the Olympics? Too soon to say, but we have a few ideas ahead.
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Chloe Kim

Sport: Snowboarding halfpipe

Known for: Chloe Kim has been called the "Now of Women's Snowboarding," which makes sense given that she's only 17. In 2014, she qualified for the Sochi Olympics, but was too young to officially compete. Kim is a first-generation Korean American, and it was her dad who originally got her into snowboarding when she was four years old. She's also very funny and once casually expressed her love for Cole Sprouse in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
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Erin Jackson

Sport: Speed skating

Known for: This year, Erin Jackson made history as the first Black woman to qualify for the long track competition in speed skating. Jackson was originally an inline skater, but took up ice skating just four months ago to maybe try for the 2022 Olympics. She said she went into the trials for this year's Olympics thinking they would be a "checkpoint in my training," and instead she made the team — NBD.
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Mirai Nagasu

Sport: Figure skating

Known for: Mirai Nagasu has been called the "comeback kid," because in 2014, she was passed over for the Olympic team despite placing bronze at the US Figure Skating Champs. In September of 2017, Nagasu became the second US woman to ever land a triple axel in an international competition (the other is Tonya Harding). This year, she's going for the triple at the Olympics, and could become the first American woman to ever do so.
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While you were busy being heterosexual, I studied the blade

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Adam Rippon

Sport: Figure skating

Known for: Adam Rippon's sense of humor is as razor-sharp as his skates. Rippon is Team USA's first openly gay athlete, and famously said that being a gay athlete is "exactly like being a straight athlete except with better eyebrows." When a USA Today reporter asked Rippon if he would meet with Mike Pence, who's leading the US delegation at the Olympics, Rippon said: "If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick."
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Oksana Masters

Sport: Nordic skiing

Known for: This year will be Oksana Masters's fourth Paralympics. A survivor of the Chernobyl disaster, Masters had both legs amputated by the time she was seven years old. When she was just 13, she picked up rowing and started her athletic journey. Masters has competed in multiple Winter and Summer Paralympics, including rowing, cycling, and cross-country skiing.
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The Shibutani Siblings

Sport: Figure skating

Known for: Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutai, aka the "shibsibs," skate together in the ice dance event and are heading to their second Olympics. Prior to the official Games, we recommend you catch up on their (very entertaining) YouTube vlog here.
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Nigerian Bobsled Team

Sport: Bobsled

Known for: For the first time in history, Nigeria will have a bobsled team in the Olympics, thanks to three strong women, Seun Adigun, Akumoa Omeoga, and Ngozi Onwumere. The team, which hails from Texas, decided to pick up bobsledding on a whim in 2016. With backgrounds in track and field, they saw the sport as an opportunity to get back into competing — so they went for it. And yes, their story is a lot like Cool Runnings.
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Mikaela Shiffrin

Sport: Alpine skiing

Known for: At the Sochi Olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest woman to win an Olympic slalom gold medal, and going into PyeongChang as a 22-year-old, Shiffrin is poised to dominate. Her slogan that you'll see on her equipment is, "ABFTTB," which stands for, "always be faster than the boys."
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Nathan Chen

Sport: Figure skating

Known for: Nathan Chen has raised the bar of figure skating by adding five quadruple jumps to his routine. After attempting a quad in 2016, the 18-year-old from Salt Lake City suffered a major injury and had to be off the ice for six months. This year, he's entering the PyeongChang Olympics as a fan favorite.
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Gus Kenworthy

Sport: Freestyle skiing

Known for: At the Sochi Olympics, Gus Kenworthy was known as the cute guy who rescued all the stray puppies. Since then, Kenworthy has come out as gay and completely crushed X Games and World Cup competitions leading up to this year's Olympics. Recently, Kenworthy spoke out about Pence's leadership saying it "doesn't send the right message." Oh, and he still loves puppies.
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Lauren Gibbs

Sport: Bobsled

Known for: Lauren Gibbs had her MBA and was working a corporate job in sales, when a CrossFit friend asked her if she would consider bobsledding. Gibbs took a chance and decided to learn more about the sport. She was teamed up with none other than Elana Meyers Taylor, a two-time Olympian, and the rest is history. This year, with Meyers Taylor as her driver, Gibbs is going for gold.
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Jamie Anderson

Sport: Snowboarding slopestyle

Known for: Jamie Anderson is a two-time Olympian snowboarder who took home a gold medal in Sochi for slopestyle. She's also the most decorated slopestyle snowboarder in X Games history, and is the first woman to ever land a 1080 off a jump.
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Brenna Huckaby

Sport: Snowboard-cross

Known for: Brenna Huckaby grew up loving gymnastics, but had her dream deferred when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She had her right leg amputated in 2010, and a month later decided to pursue snowboarding. Huckaby gave birth to her daughter in 2016, and returned to training three months after in order to continue competing. Now 22, this is Huckaby's first Paralympics.

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