These pals are having the best time in PyeongChang.
With the 2018 Winter Olympics fully underway in Korea, learn more about the Olympians who are lucky enough to be at the Games with their besties:
Rippon is a 28-year-old veteran who served as the second alternate for the Olympics in 2010 in Vancouver, while Chen is an 18-year-old who only recently made his international debut. But through their years of training together — almost six, Chen told PEOPLE, they’ve become close.
“We have developed this bond,” he says, adding that their friendship extends off the ice, too. “We don’t necessarily always talk about skating, sometimes we talk about life in general. It’s nice to have competition that’s also very friendly.”
No one could ever accuse the U.S. women’s hockey team of not being united: In 2017, they threatened to boycott the World Championships if USA Hockey wouldn’t give them a pay raise as well as some of the benefits that are given to the men’s team. They ended up making a deal just three days before competition began, and they went onto win the championship.
The boost made the already-tight team more in sync than ever, and ready to take on the 2018 Olympics. They frequently hang out together off the rink, too. “It just a special group,” they told PEOPLE. “I can’t describe it and I think that’s the greatest thing about it.”
THE WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY SKI TEAM
The three women representing the United States for cross-country skiing in PyeongChang — Kikkan Randall, Sadie Bjornsen and Jessie Diggins — may be competitors, but that doesn’t stop them from getting close.
“It is an individual sport, and we are competitors against each other, but there is a very big team component,” Randall said. When the skis are off, the women get each other ready for competition with Team USA face paint and choreographed pump-up dances.
THE WOMEN’S BOBSLED TEAM
No matter if they’re in the same bobsled are not, the U.S. women’s team sticks together. “We all laugh a lot,” they told PEOPLE. “That’s the best part of the dynamic of our team. We can all make each other laugh and make the most out of every situation that we’re in.” Elana Meyers Taylor and Jamie Greubel Poser will be repeating their turn as drivers in this year’s Olympics, with Lauren Gibbs and Aja Evans as their brakewomen.
Growing up in the same house and sharing genetics apparently makes for a perfect match on ice. The ice dancer siblings both started as singles skaters, but changed course after they were both blown away by the artistry of the ice dancers while at the 2003 World Championships. Skating together made sense, as the siblings have always been tight: “I remember being so excited to have a younger sister, because I knew that I would have a friend,” Alex told PEOPLE. Maia agrees: “We’re so lucky that we can be teammates and we’re working towards the same goal.”
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BECCA & MATT HAMILTON
The Hamilton siblings won’t have much time to relax in PyeongChang: Not only are they competing in the women’s and men’s curling competitions, they’ll also be competing as a doubles team in the sport — the first U.S. male-female curling team in Olympic history. If they’re successful, both Becca and Matt will end up competing everyday of the Olympics. With all that shared time at stake, it’s a good thing the brother and sister pair are so close, with Becca saying that her big brother “taught me everything I know.” Matt’s equally proud of his sister: “It’s been impressive to watch her grow up and become the superstar she is now.”
As competitors, both dominated in figure skating: Lipinski won the gold medal at the 1998 Olympics, while Weir nabbed three U.S. National Championships. But today, they’re two of the best-known commentators in figure skating. They’ve been working with NBC since 2013, and after a successful run at the Sochi Olympics, were promoted.
Weir and Lipinski may work together, but they’re tight outside of the skating world, too: They constantly serve as each other’s dates to events like the Golden Globes and the Kentucky Derby, and Weir served as a “bridesman” in Lipinski’s 2017 wedding.
JOHN DALY & MATT ANTOINE
Daly and Antoine, two members of the USA Skeleton team, competed side-by-side in 2014 in Sochi. There, Daly narrowly missed nabbing a medal, losing out on the Bronze to his teammate Antoine. Heartbroken by his loss of a medal, Daly retired from skeleton racing and got a job in sales of medical devices. But it was his rival and friend Antoine who convinced him to come back: “We had pushed each other to be in that position [in Sochi],” Antoine told NBC Olympics. “Without the other one, neither of us would have been battling for a bronze medal.” Both will compete again in PyeongChang.