Amid news of protests, security threats and political power moves, it’s easy to lose sight of the real focus of the Olympics: the athletes. They have spent years training and are now dominating trials and making headlines on their way to Sochi.
In early January, news of Lindsey Vonn skipping Sochi appeared on nearly every major media outlet. Unless you were living under a boulder, in outer space, with earplugs, you knew about Vonn withdrawing from the Olympics. Some of the stories featured here didn’t make quite as big a splash, but are at least as vital to your Sochi knowledge.
From family ties to fierce rivalries, and of course, some of those poised for gold, we’ve compiled the most compelling news on top Sochi athletes. These 12 competitors have captured media attention and they’re the big names that you’ll need to know come February.