Many of the best athletes in the world are preparing for the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. And with all eyes on the Games, here are some of the best to watch.

Erin Jackson

The world’s top female speed skater will make her second Olympic appearance after her Team USA teammate Brittany Bowe stepped down. Jackson, 29, is just months away from winning the speed skating World Cup, becoming the first black woman to do so. She is currently ranked No. 1 in the women’s 500 meters by the International Skating Union and will compete in the same event in Beijing.

Erin Jackson is going to the Beijing Olympics after her teammate gave her a spot.

Alex Goodlett – International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images

Mikaela Shiffrin

Will Shiffrin continue her dominance? She won the last women’s world cup shalom before the Beijing Olympics. It was Shiffrin’s 47th career victory in slalom, making her the first skier in World Cup history to win that many races in a single discipline. Shiffrin, who won gold in slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and giant slalom at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, is expected to be one of the top contenders for this year’s Games.

Audi FIS Ski World Cup Snow Queen Trophy - Women's Slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Snow Queen Trophy Women’s Slalom in Sljeme on January 04, 2022.

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Shaun White

White will make his fifth Olympics appearance after finishing fourth among the Americans in the world snowboarding points list ahead of Beijing. He has three halfpipe gold medals – from 2006, 2014 and 2018 – making him the most decorated male Olympic snowboarder. This will likely be the curtain call for White’s Olympic career. He told Rolling Stone magazine that he wanted to retire from the Games after Beijing.

Snowboarding - Day 5 of the Winter Olympics
Shaun White of the United States celebrates after winning the men’s halfpipe final at Phoenix Snow Park in 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

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Chloe Kim

The 21-year-old turned heads in PyeongChang four years ago when, aged 17, she won the gold halfpipe, becoming the youngest American to ever medal in snowboarding. Now she is once again favored to repeat as the Olympic halfpipe champion. Despite her success, she recently shared her mental health struggles and the pressure of expectations as an Olympian. Part of the reason she’s comfortable going out in public is because “people are starting to become more tolerant and talking about these things too.” [mental health] no more problems,” she said.

2019 Burton US Open Championships
Chloe Kim smiles on the podium after winning the silver medal in the women’s halfpipe final at the Burton US Open Championships at Golden Peak on March 2, 2019 in Vail, Colorado.

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Emily Sweeney

After a scary crash in her last race which eliminated her from the Pyeongchang Olympics, the luge will be back for the next Olympics. The incident broke his neck and back and nearly ended his career. Since then she has documented her recovery and while she admits she is scared at times, she said Beijing would be another chance at a medal. She is also part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program.

FIL Luge World Championship Day 1
Emily Sweeney of the United States completes the 2019 FIL World Cup women’s sprint competition at Veltins Eis-Arena.

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Nathan Chen

Chen, 26, recently won her sixth figure skating championship and is now aiming for gold in Beijing. Predicted to be one of the top contenders for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, he failed to medal in the individual event. However, he won a bronze medal in the team event.

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The Olympic return of Nathan Chen

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John Shuster

The curling legend will be back for this fifth Olympic Winter Games. After two disappointing back-to-back Olympic appearances in 2010 and 2014, Shuster and his team finally won gold in 2018, a first for the Americans in this event. No one has ever won multiple gold medals in men’s curling, but Shuster and his team want to give it a shot, saying his team is “full of fighters.”

President Trump welcomes US Olympic athletes to the White House
Olympic curler John Shuster attends the White House ceremony in 2018.

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USA women’s hockey team

USA Hockey announced their roster for the women’s ice hockey team this month, and they’re ready to defend their gold medal in Beijing. Of their 23 players, 15 have previous Olympic experience. Among them, striker Hilary Knight returns for her fourth Olympic Games. Team USA’s ongoing rivalry with Canada, which has four gold medals in this event, will be on TV if they meet again in the final.

It will be the Winter Olympics for the second consecutive time without NHL players.

Training for the United States Women's National Ice Hockey Team
Hilary Knight warms up before an exhibition game against the New Mexico Ice Wolves at Outpost Ice Arenas in November.

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Elana Meyers-Taylor

Three-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor heads to Beijing as a favorite in the monobob, which will make its Olympic debut in February. Meyers Taylor is a women’s monobob World Cup title winner and knows bobsleigh well – she won silver in 2018 and 2014 and bronze in 2010 in the two-man bobsleigh.

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Olympic bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor in Washington, DC in April 2018.

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Mariah Bell

The 25-year-old figure skater won a national championship this month, becoming the oldest woman to hold the title since 1927. It was her ninth national championship appearance and her first title. Two-time Olympic medalist Bell now has her sights set on Beijing, where no woman 25 or older has figured to skate for Team USA at the Winter Olympics since 1928.

“Age is literally a number,” Bell told NBC Sports. “It doesn’t mean anything. If you have a dream, there’s no limit to the time you have to fulfill that dream, of course.

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Mariah Bell of the United States in action during the Galla Exhibition ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating on November 28, 2021 in Sochi, Russia.

Oleg Nikishin – International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images

Alex Ferreira

The freestyle skier heads to Beijing and is a favorite for Olympic medals. Ferreira, who is the son of an Argentinian professional footballer, won silver after his performance in the skiing halfpipe in PyeongChang and won the X Games Aspen in 2019 and 2020.

Medal Ceremony - Day 13 of the Winter Olympics
Alex Ferreira of the United States poses with his silver medal from the men’s halfpipe final at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018.

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