US athletes to watch at the 2022 Winter Olympics. After finishing fourth in the medal table at back-to-back Winter Olympics, the United States will look to improve its standing when the 2022 Games get underway from February 4-20.
In this two-part series, we’ll give you a look at some of Team USA’s top athletes to watch out for this winter. Part 1 covered the snow sports, and Part 2 here features the ice and sliding sports. Other articles will also cover the top international athletes to know and much more.
At PyeongChang 2018, gold medal wins by the men’s curling and women’s hockey teams provided two of the signature moments for the United States. Those teams will attempt to defend their titles this winter, while American figure skating star Nathan Chen and other athletes listed below will offer strong medal chances in their own events.
Nathan Chen, Figure Skating
After missing out on a podium finish in men’s singles in PyeongChang, American star Nathan Chen bounced back – with a vengeance. The 22-year-old won the next 14 straight contests he entered, including three straight World Championships. The winning streak came to an end at 2021 Skate America when he shockingly finished third. Chen is the first skater to have landed five types of quadruple jumps in competition and eight quadruple jumps across a single competition, which he did at 2018 Worlds. Since the 2018 Games, Chen has also started college at Yale University, but is taking a leave of absence to prepare for the 2022 Olympics.
Nathan Chen has been nearly unbeatable since the last Winter Olympics.
Alysa Liu, Figure Skating
Bay Area-based teenager Alysa Liu won her first U.S. national titles in 2019 and 2020. The 16-year-old made her senior international debut in 2021 at the Cranberry Cup, where she came in first. Liu was selected by U.S. Figure Skating to compete at the 2021 Nebelhorn Trophy with the goal of qualifying the nation for a third Olympic berth, and she won the competition. Liu is the first junior American ladies’ singles skater to complete a triple Axel in international competition and the first American female skater to complete a quad jump in competition.
Two-time national champion Alysa Liu, 16, is one of the rising stars of the U.S. figure skating team.
Hilary Knight, Hockey
Hilary Knight is pretty much a household name at this point. The 32-year-old Palo Alto native has won three Olympic medals, including a gold from PyeongChang 2018, and has been the backbone of the U.S. women’s team for over a decade. And in February, she’ll continue to serve as one of USA’s key contributors as the women’s team looks to defend its title.
Hilary Knight has one gold and two silver medals in her collection so far.
Brianna Decker, Hockey
Another key cog on Team USA’s women’s hockey team over the last decade, Brianna Decker is once again expected to make the trip overseas to shoot for a second consecutive Olympic gold medal. Decker tallied three assists in five games in PyeongChang, including an assist in Hilary Knight’s opening goal of the gold medal game against Canada.
Brianna Decker has frequently played on a line with fellow Team USA stars Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield.
Maame Biney, Short Track
An electrifying skater with an infectious smile, Maame Biney is eyeing a breakout Winter Games after gaining fans as a charismatic 18-year-old in PyeongChang when she became the first Black woman to compete on a U.S. Olympic short track team. She’s become versatile over multiple distances in recent years, but remains strongest in the fastest short track event, the 500m. Biney, originally born in Ghana, will look to channel fearsome alter ego “Anna Digger” when she takes the ice in February.
Kaillie Humphries, a multi-time medalist in the two-woman bobsled event for Canada, switched to representing the United States after the PyeongChang Games because of abuse and harassment she alleges she faced within the Canadian bobsledding team. Her status for the 2022 Winter Games is in limbo, however, as she is still awaiting U.S. citizenship and has asked the International Olympic Committee to let her compete without a U.S. passport. In the interim, she’s won three world titles while competing for Team USA: the two-woman bobsled titles in 2020 and 2021, and the inaugural women’s monobob title in 2021.
Competing for Canada at the last three Olympics, Kaillie Humphries won two gold medals (2010, 2014) and one bronze (2018).
Four-time Olympian John Shuster is currently the unquestioned king of American curling. The 39-year-old skipped the men’s team to its first-ever curling gold medal at PyeongChang 2018 and also earned bronze at Torino 2006. And if that isn’t enough, Shuster has also competed in nine World Curling Championships. Most of Shuster’s team remains intact from the last Olympics: Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner are back for this cycle, while Christopher Plys is a new addition after Tyler George stepped away from competing. Before they can begin their Olympic title defense, Team Shuster will first have to win at U.S. Olympic Trials in November.
Ice dance duo Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are laying it all on the line in the 2021-22 season, knowing it will be their last before retirement. The pair first teamed up in 2011; Hubbell previously competed alongside her brother, Kieffer. Hubbell and Donohue won the 2018 U.S. Championships by .19 points over the Shibutani Siblings, then went on to compete in the individual ice dance event at the 2018 Olympic Games, taking fourth by a narrow margin. They won 2019 Nationals and took silver to Madison Chock and Evan Bates in 2020. Heading into the 2020-21 season, Hubbell and Donohue brought on two-time Olympic champion Scott Moir as one of their choreographers, then won their third national title and took silver at the 2021 World Championships. They opened the 2021-22 Grand Prix series with a win at Skate America, their fourth straight at the event, edging Chock and Bates.
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says his city remains “extremely concerned” about the possibility of floodwaters from the United States arriving this weekend.
During a news conference Saturday afternoon, Braun said he spoke with officials in Whatcom County, Wash. Saturday morning to discuss flooding from the Nooksack River.
He said the U.S. officials told him it’s “challenging” to predict how severe the flooding from the river will be during the current storm because of infrastructure damage and sediment buildup.
Braun said he’s confident Abbotsford’s dike and pump infrastructure can handle the 120 millimetres of rain that are forecast to fall on the city by Sunday morning. He’s less certain how the city will fare if the Nooksack floods – and how severe the Nooksack flooding might be.
“We have done everything we can in a very short period of time,” Braun said.
Washington officials have warned that the Nooksack is expected to overflow its banks and flood the town of Everson this weekend.
Floodwaters may also make their way to the U.S. city of Sumas, which would then mean more flooding north of the border in Abbotsford’s Sumas Prairie.
Much of the prairie has been underwater for nearly two weeks, since a devastating storm sent floodwater from the Nooksack north earlier this month.
On Saturday, Canadian Forces soldiers stacked sandbags along a rail line in Abbotsford near the U.S. border in preparation for the potential flood.
Braun began his remarks with some good news, saying the situation on Sumas Prairie had remained stable, with the Barrowtown Pump Station – which drains the former Sumas Lake into the Fraser River – operating at full capacity.
“Last night we saw floodwater levels drop in the Sumas Prairie lake bottom by nine inches in 24 hours,” the mayor said. “That may not be the case for today into tomorrow.”
He warned residents of Abbotsford’s Huntingdon village – who are on evacuation alert – that they may be in the path of floodwaters from the Nooksack.
“Prior to an evacuation order being issued, we will be doing our very best to provide residents with as much advance notice as possible,” Braun said. “However, residents still need to be prepared to leave immediately as we may only receive limited notice due to changing conditions.