The Winter Olympics. Snow, ice, fuzzy hats with puff balls and spandex. Lots of spandex and tight-fitting clothes.
There are plenty of reasons to watch highly skilled and very talented athletes compete against the world’s best, but sometimes we tune in just to gawk at them. Admit it, you know it’s true. That’s not to take away from the athletic talent on display, but isn’t that same talent part of what makes someone sexy?
Here are a few that you already know and a handful that you don’t…yet.
1. Liudmila Privivkova
Curling! Tossing rocks across the ice, then using brooms and screaming to make it stop. Well, when this blue-eyed beauty hits the ice, she’s not just getting attention for her looks. But she will make some of those close-up curling shots worth watching. And she’s Russian – so she has home team advantage.
2. Madeleine Dupont
Yes, another curling beauty. She’s blonde, Danish, talented…and likes to pose topless for calendars.
Hey, if it makes people notice curling more, sure. No complaints here.
3. Julia Mancuso
Lindsey’s arch rival – muhahaha! (Cue the scary organ music.) Enemy or not, she definitely flies down the mountain with the same intensity as Vonn. And that’s a good thing.
4. Cheryl Bernard
Remember the whole curling craze back in 2010?
No, seriously. Small suburban clubs held weekly classes and were fully booked months in advance! You could say it was due to the Russian or the Dane, but really…blame it on Cheryl.
With all of Canada behind her, as well as plenty of face time on television, she was nicknamed the Curling Cougar. Even one analyst called her the “Curlgar.”
Either way, she’s good, talented and has that mature sexual appeal. See…curling is a fun sport.
5. Tina Maze
This Slovenian skier has put up some badass numbers in her event. In 2013, she climbed on to 24 World Cup podiums and is the first alpine athlete to surpass 2,000 points in a single season. For non-skiing fans, that’s like Peyton Manning’s recent accomplishment of touchdowns in the regular season and the Broncos getting the most points.
Slovenia is a beautiful place, but Tina adds a total badass mystique to anyone who never heard of the country.
6. Therese Johaug
Cross-country may seem like NASCAR or a marathon for some people – it just goes on and on. Well, watching an athlete like Therese might make it a bit more appealing.
This Norwegian pro is visibly passionate about her accomplishments, jumps around with excitement and sometimes goes s a bit over the top; she recently competed in a World Cup event with special ski bindings made of 18 karat gold.
Bling on the bindings. That’s a new one.
7. Brita Sigourney
If she didn’t change her mind, it’s possible we’d be watching Brita in a swimsuit rather than skiing the halfpipe.
She originally went to the University of California (Davis) for water polo, but then dropped it for skiing. Since then, Brita’s been tearing it up on skis. During an event in February 2013, she had an Aaron Rodgers injury – broke her collarbone and injured her shoulder – and then doctors noticed a knee problem, too. Hopefully, she’ll be out on the slopes in Sochi.
8. Jessie Diggins
Jessie has been skiing since she was three years old, then got into racing a few years later. She’s hoping that she and teammate Kikkan Randall can medal in Sochi for one of the relay races.
9. Elena Hight
You might expect a surfer born in Hawaii to stick to the beach, right? Heck no, especially when she can translatesthose surfing skills to the halfpipe and fly into back-to-back 900s. No wonder Elena’s a popular figure at the X-Games and the Olympics.
10. Jazmine Fenlator
While everyone has their eyes on Lolo Jones, there’s another track star who turned to the bobsled. Jazmine was running at Rider University when her coach gave her the idea to convert in 2007. Her family attended her first World Championships in Lake Placid, only months before Jazmine nearly lost them when Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey. This woman has guts, especially since she’s the driver. Like a quarterback in the playoffs, she’ll get all the credit…or the blame.
11. Annelies Cook
A skiing college student is common, but Annelies is a bit different.
She has a gun.
This University of Utah graduate may not win a medal in the biathlon competition, but she’s got a great smile to watch during interviews. Or who knows…maybe she’ll be smiling on the podium.
(Sorry, we couldn’t get a picture of her on our photo site. Just imagine a brilliant smile and a deadshot, and you’re halfway there.)
12. Noelle Pikus-Pace
Damn. You gotta love body suits. Nicknamed the “fastest mom on ice,” this hottie retired back in 2011 after giving birth to her second child, but her husband supporting her during a difficult time and eventually pushed her to get back on the sled two years later.
Good call, man.
13. Hannah Teter
Hannah Teter kicks ass, has fun, shreds snow, and gives zero damns what you think, because she’s out there winning at life. She grew up in Vermont, so snowboarding may have been her destiny — but we’ll never know unless we travel back in time, give her parents a job in a flat, warm state, and see if she still finds her way to the highest point and boards it.
Here’s how great she is. See if you can pick her out from this line-up of Olympians.
Did you guess the blonde making the “Yeeaeaaahhh” face? You did? Good job, YOU! That’s extra credit on your citizenship exam. You’re almost an American now. Granted, not as awesome as this American:
But you’re getting there! Keep on snowboarding!
Bonus: Rebekah Bradford
Even though she may not be on the Olympic squad this year, you gotta give this girl some props – she’s coming back to compete from nearly dying.
Rebekah had trouble breathing just climbing a flight of stairs, even though she’s a trained athlete. Her husband dragged her to the emergency room while she was in agony. Diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, which created blood clots in her legs and lungs, she needed two years to recover.
Hell no, she said, because she was planning to go to Sochi. And though she missed qualifying, it was by .1 seconds. That’s still a champion to us. Spandex + determination + total badass attitude = awesome.
Bonus: Lindsey Vonn
Injury might keep her out of the Olympics, but it can’t keep her off this list. It seems like most of the time she’s on a stretcher or crutches. Maybe she needs another conditioning coach. Or we can blame it all on Tiger.
Either way, we’ll regret not watching her curve down the snowy downhill in Sochi. But man, she can even sit in an audience with the best of ’em.
Want more Olympics? Watch the first Olympic champion in 1500 years tell Harvard to go screw.