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Vancouver 2010: The Top Female Olympic Athletes to Watch For

We have to admit, living in the United States isn’t that bad. Between New York Fashion Week at Bryant Park and watching the New Orleans Saints take home the Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl, 2010 has rolled in with a bang. But not only are we known for our impeccable taste in fashion and the hotness that is Drew Brees, we are also notorious for dominating at the Olympic Games. The U.S. is so lucky to have such a group of talented athletes to represent our country at the Games in Vancouver this year that we don’t want anyone to slip under the radar. From alpine skiing to hockey, HC presents the top five female athletes to watch for as you cheer on our teams for the gold.

Name: Lindsey Vonn

Sport: Alpine Skiing
Age: 25
Hometown: Vail, CO
Why she’s one to watch: Olympic skiers beware: Lindsey Vonn is a force to be reckoned with. As one of the most accomplished female skiers in American history, Vonn is taking no prisoners at the Winter Games this year. The ultimate overachiever, just six weeks after turning 20, Vonn secured her first World Cup victory. Not only does Vonn boast two downhill titles and a super G title, but she is the only American female to have two World Cup overall titles. However, Vonn has experienced her fair share of challenges. While Vonn has proved to be successful on the slopes, she hasn’t always been so lucky off of them. In February 2009, she split a tendon in her right thumb while attempting to open a champagne bottle, ultimately causing her to skip out on the Worlds GS. In November, Vonn crashed while training, injuring her knee and almost causing her to miss the Aspen Winternational. But even with a track record of injuries, Vonn continued to ski as she even raced with a brace on her arm following a massive collision in Austria in December.
Fun fact: She’s best friends with World Cup skier Maria Riesch of Germany. Who says you can’t have friendly competition?

Name: Katherine Reutter

Sport: Short Track Speed Skating
Age: 24
Hometown: Champaign, IL
Why she’s one to watch: An Olympic rookie, Katherine Reutter is making her introduction for the time in Vancouver this year. A three-time national champion, before hitting the ice, Reutter had already scoped out her competition, claiming that the Chinese skaters will be her biggest rivalries at the Games. In terms of who has been Reutter’s inspiration, six-time Olympic medalist Bonnie Blair has no doubt played a role in Reutter’s success. Both speed skaters hail from the same hometown, not only giving Reutter a pair of big shoes to fill, but also pushing her to pursue her passion and train her best. Proving her dedication, in high school, Reutter moved away from home and lived in a college dorm in Michigan to improve her training.
Fun fact: Aside from being on the ice, Reutter loves being on the stage. If she wasn’t a skater, she would be a performer as she loves singing, dancing and acting. Reutter used to sing the national anthem at competitions, but after one particularly bad race, her coach pulled the plug. But hey, who’s says tough love isn’t always a bad thing?

Name: Erin Hamlin

Sport: Luge
Age: 23
Hometown: Remsen, NY
Why she’s one to watch: We all know we can’t live without our cell phones, but who would have thought that one could launch your career as an Olympic athlete? But for Erin Hamlin, that’s exactly how she got her start. Hamlin’s father’s employer, Verizon, sponsors luge tryouts throughout the country, so naturally, Hamlin decided to give the sport a shot at the age of 12. With the luge being the fastest sport on ice reaching speeds up to 95 miles per hour, Hamlin quickly excelled at the sport; Hamlin was soon training full-time at Lake Placid and e-mailing her homework to her teachers back at home. By February 2009, Hamlin defeated the Germans at the World Champions at Lake Placid, becoming the first American woman to hold the title.
Fun fact: Back in her hometown of Remsen, NY, residents can treat themselves to a World Champion Erin Hamlin Sundae at the local ice cream shop, The Soda Fountain. Consisting of vanilla ice cream, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Oreos, hot fudge, whipped cream and topped with a cherry, taking a bite of this dessert sounds just as sweet as winning the gold.

Name: Natalie Darwitz

Sport: Hockey
Age: 26
Hometown: Eagan, MN
Why she’s one to watch: The youngest player ever to be named a member of the U.S. women’s national team, forward Natalie Darwitz proves that age is nothing but a number. She helped her team win a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City as well as a bronze medal in 2006 in Torino. Two years later, Darwitz earned the Best Forward in the world title by the International Hockey Federation and served as team captain at the 2008 Worlds.
Fun fact: Before entering high school, the super star hockey player had bragging rights with 170 goals under her belt. As a freshman, she was invited to play with the U.S. national team and as a result, like U.S. team member Erin Hamlin, submitted her schoolwork via fax and e-mail.

Name: Katie Uhlaender

Sport: Skeleton
Age: 25
Hometown: Breckenridge, CO
Why she’s one to watch: With Vancouver being the second Olympics she’s competed in, Katie Uhlaender is no stranger to the pressure that comes with wanting a place on the podium. She finished up in sixth place at the Torino Olympics in 2006, but although she didn’t walk away with a medal, the experience helped her learn how to come back as a stronger athlete the second time around. After the Torino Games, Uhlaender crushed the competition by winning two consecutive World Cup titles, proving that she has what it takes to take on Vancouver with this infamous sliding sport.
Fun fact: Following Torino, Uhlaender spent almost three months in the Cook Islands working for the television show Survivor. In addition to working as a camera assistant, she also tested the challenges to ensure that they were safe. When she in finished competing, Uhlaender aspires to be a producer or a writer.


http://www.nbcolympics.com [all athlete information] vancouver2010.com usskiteam.com

Taylor Trudon (University of Connecticut ’11) is a journalism major originally from East Lyme, Connecticut. She is commentary editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Campus, a blogger for The Huffington Post and is a proud two-time 2009 and 2010 New York Women in Communications scholarship recipient. She has interned at Seventeen and O, The Oprah Magazine. After college, Taylor aspires to pursue a career in magazine journalism while living in New York City. When she's not in her media bubble, she enjoys making homemade guacamole, quoting John Hughes movies and shamelessly reading the Weddings/Celebrations section of The New York Times on Sundays (with coffee, of course).
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