Women to Watch at Sochi

by BRIDGETTE MCSHEA '14


Two summers ago hearing names like Gabby Douglas, Missy Franklin, and Hope Solo was unavoidable. Colorado teen Missy Franklin placed first four times in the pool, women’s soccer defeated Japan for the gold, and “the Fab Five” won the second ever gold medal for the United State’s team gymnastics. As these ladies boosted the medal count in London, all of America fell in love. Now that competition is underway in Sochi, fans should be sure to know about this winter’s female Olympians.

Gracie Gold: A name like Gracie Gold, blonde hair pulled back into a bun, and a sparkly blue dress pretty much scream ice princess. Gold has been poised to be an American favorite as she skates to Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. This 18 year old figure skater debuted at Nationals with a second place finish and has the same coach, Frank Carroll, who helped Michelle Kwan secure a silver and bronze.

Lolo Jones: If her name sounds familiar it’s because it is. Jones is not new to the Olympics; she competed in Beijing and London, but Sochi will be her first Winter Games. Jones will become one of only 10 athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Just last month she was named the third brakeman on the third women’s bobsled team after only two years in the sport. Jones’s addition to the team has been a controversial matter because many feel she was selected for her fame rather than talent.

Hannah Kearney: She’s endured a torn ligament, punctured lung, major concussion, and broken ribs, but Hannah Kearney can’t stay off the mountain. Even after the long list of injuries, the 2010 gold medalist always seemed to come back stronger than before. Kearney has dominated the mogul course for years and hopes to “ski the best three or four mogul runs of [her] life” in Sochi.

Kelly Clark: Sochi will be this snowboarder’s fourth Olympics. Clark began snowboarding at seven years and attended Mount Snow Academy for competitive snowboarding in her home state of Vermont. She will be competing in the half pipe, the same event she received a gold medal for in 2002. In 2011 Clark became the first woman to land her signature 1080. Following the Olympics, Clark plans to give back to the sport she loves by mentoring and coaching young boarders.