SBJ/Feb. 3-9, 2014/In Depth

Mission to medal: Athletes to watch in Sochi

The Sochi Games will be dominated by returning Olympians like speedskaters J.R. Celski and Shani Davis, skiers Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso, snowboarders Shaun White and Kelly Clark, figure skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White, as well as hurdler-turned-bobsledder Lolo Jones. But plenty of first-time Olympians and global stars are expected to distinguish themselves once competition begins. Here’s a look at some of those athletes and the brands behind them:

David Wise
Photo by: Getty Images

Ski halfpipe makes its debut at the Olympics, and Wise has proved to have gold-medal potential. The two-time X Games champion is a different type of freeskier. He’s 23, married and has a daughter. His sponsors include Monster Energy, Visa and Procter & Gamble.
Agency: The Morant Agency









Photo by: Getty Images
Sarah Hendrickson

Success over the last two years has made Sarah Hendrickson a favorite to win gold in women’s ski jumping, which debuts at the Sochi Games. She’s already the star of a Visa Olympics commercial. Her sponsors include Visa, Red Bull, Kellogg’s and Nike.
Agency: Wasserman Media Group






Jamie Anderson
Photo by: Getty Images

The South Lake Tahoe product has been one of the top snowboard slopestyle riders since she was a teenager. With the discipline making its debut in Sochi, she has a chance to add an Olympic medal to her four X Games gold medals. Her sponsors include Monster Energy, Billabong and Procter & Gamble.
Agency: Octagon












Photo by: Getty Images
Eddy Alvarez

One of the five members of the U.S. Speedskating’s short track team, the Cuban-American is coming off a major injury. He’ll join teammates J.R. Celski and Chris Creveling in the effort to replace Apolo Ohno as the face of the sport in the U.S.
Agency: Wasserman Media Group
















Mikaela Shiffrin
Photo by: Getty Images

With Lindsey Vonn pulling out of the Olympics and Julia Mancuso struggling this World Cup season, the 18-year-old skiing prodigy from Vermont has a chance to cement her position as the future of the U.S. women’s ski team. Her sponsors include Oakley, Barilla and Procter & Gamble’s Pantene.
Agency: Kilian Albrecht


















Photo by: Getty Images
Sven Kramer (Netherlands)

The Dutch long-track speedskater came up short in his effort to win three gold medals at the Vancouver Games. He’ll be looking to give speedskating-mad Dutch fans a first-place finish in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter competitions. His sponsors include Procter & Gamble, Dutch insurer TVM and Dutch telecom company KPN.
Agency: Management House of Sports




Ayumu Hirano (Japan)
Photo by: Getty Images

The 15-year-old Japanese snowboarder finished second to Shaun White at the X Games in 2013. He’s expected to challenge him again in the halfpipe in Sochi. His sponsors include Monster Energy, Oakley and Burton.
Agency: IMG
















Photo by: Getty Images
Tina Maze (Slovenia)

The reigning World Cup champion has had a slow start this year, but she amassed more points than any female skier in history a year ago. Look for her, German Maria Hoefl-Riesch or Switzerland’s Lara Gut to reach the podium in Sochi. Maze’s sponsors include Milka and Fila.
Agency: Not available






Rosalind Groenewoud (Canada)
Photo by: Getty Images

The freestyle skier affectionately known as “Roz G” offers one of Canada’s best hopes for gold at the Sochi Games. She won the X Games superpipe competition in 2013 and is known for her big airs. Her sponsors include Target and Spyder.
Agency: CAA















Photo by: Getty Images
Alexander Zubkov (Russia)

The bobsled driver is one of the host country’s best chances to win gold. He’ll be leading teams in both the two- and four-man competitions.
Agency: Not available


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