February 10, 2014 12:00 PM

Shorn Free

SHAUN WHITE

Age 27

SNOWBOARDING

White had 12″ more hair in 2010. (He donated it to the charity Locks of Love.) Challengers hoping for a Samson effect may be out of luck: “My helmet fits better,” he has said. The hair “was a lot of weight. I can go higher now.”

2 [Gold]

Going for a 3-Peat

SHANI DAVIS

Age 31

SPEED SKATING

He still shuns a coach, but Davis could be the first male skater to win three golds in the same event. The elder skatesman tells SI of his young rivals, “I’m just trying to keep them at bay.”

2 [Gold] 2 [Silver]

Her Time to Shine

JULIA MANCUSO

Age 29

ALPINE SKIING

Along with upping her medal count, Mancuso is poised to redirect a spotlight long focused on pal Lindsey Vonn, who is out with an injury. So you may see a tiara painted on her helmet or the Hawaii-based skier promoting her lingerie line, called Kiss My Tiara. At past Games, she says, “I had lucky underwear, so it kind of felt like my calling.”

1 [Gold] 2 [Silver]

Mirror Ball to Medal?

CHARLIE WHITE & MERYL DAVIS

Ages 26, 27

ICE DANCING

Paired since 1997, the platonic power couple are the U.S.’s best hope for gold, which they lost in 2010 to their Canadian friends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. This time, says White, “we’ve taken it to the next level.” One secret weapon? Choreography from Dancing with the Stars pro Derek Hough, who says, “They put all that history into it. This is their fairy tale.”

1 [Silver]

The Women for All Seasons

LOLO JONES & LAURYN WILLIAMS

Ages 31, 30

BOBSLED

Track stars Jones and Williams are now picking up speed as bobsledders, making them two of only 10 U.S. athletes to compete in both summer and winter Games. Jones crossed over soon after London 2012 and then persuaded Williams to try. In January Williams, who first medaled in Athens 10 years ago, took gold at a bobsled World Cup event, and her cold-weather preparations are complete: “My mom got me a heated hat, heated gloves and heated boots.” They will be on separate teams, so expect a great showdown.

Jones

Medals: 0

Williams

1 [Gold] 1 [Silver]

Family Controversy

BODE MILLER

Age 36

ALPINE SKIING

Once known as much for partying as for his record medal haul, Miller seems to have matured recently. He no longer, as he once did, talks of skiing “wasted,” and the sport’s wild boy, who wed pro volleyballer Morgan Beck, 26, in October 2012, is now a dad of two from previous relationships: a son, born in February 2013, and daughter Neesyn, nearly 6. But controversy still abounds: The boy’s mom is former Marine Sara McKenna, 28, whom Miller dated briefly and who became pregnant around the time he met Beck. After cross-country court battles—they disagree even on the child’s name (she: Sam; he: Nate) – the exes settled in December, clearing his son to go to Sochi. Says Miller: “We’re psyched!”

1 [Gold] 3 [Silver] 1 [Bronze]

Sara McKenna

Morgan Beck

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