See the Cutest Throwback Photos of Winter Olympians as Kids

Is there anything better than kids in snowpants? Maybe knowing those kids grew up to be winter sports superstars

02 of 17

Mariah Bell & Nathan Chen

Nathan Chen/Instagram
Nathan Chen/Instagram

How it started: More than a decade ago, with pals Mariah Bell and Nathan Chen posing for a pic in the stands at a U.S. figure skating event.

How it's going: Both are skating for the U.S.A. in the Beijing Olympics, and Chen's bringing home a gold medal. (Bell's event takes place Feb. 15.)

03 of 17

Shaun White

Shaun White/Instagram
Shaun White/Instagram

The legendary snowboarder, who expects that this will be his last Olympics, reflected on his groundbreaking career in the sport with a cute throwback pic of him atop a podium. "I'm 35 years old and I've spent 29 of them on a board, 23 of them as a professional!" he wrote on Twitter. "As a kid, the Olympics didn't even have snowboarding ... I'm so proud that I helped grow and shape the sport into what it is today."

04 of 17

Hilary Knight

Hilary Knight/ nstagram
Hilary Knight/Instagram

The women's hockey legend shared a glimpse back at her childhood team gear.

05 of 17

Erin Jackson

Erin Jackson/Instagram
Erin Jackson/Instagram

The speedskater honed her skills as an in-line racer, and shared a look back at her high medal count from a 2004 nationals event.

06 of 17

Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin/Instagram
Mikaela Shiffrin/Instagram

Before she was one of the greatest skiiers in the world, she was just a little kid in snow pants.

"Looking back on my career to this point, I feel like a million different stars aligned to help me get to where I am," she wrote in a post supporting the Share Winter foundation.

07 of 17

Ashley Cain-Gribble

Ashley Cain-Gribble
Ashley Cain-Gribble/Instagram

From "those early skating days" to competing in pairs at the 2022 Olympics, the star has twirled her way to success.

08 of 17

Abby Roque

Abby Roque/Instagram
Abby Roque/Instagram

The hockey star's cute throwback photo is total #goals. (Get it?)

09 of 17

Jason Brown

Jason Brown Instagram
Jason Brown/Instagram

The figure skater, who is well known for his artistry on the ice, wrote a letter to his (adorable) younger self for PEOPLE.

10 of 17

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson/Instagram
Jamie Anderson/Instagram

The snowboarding champ was still rocking braces when she became an X Games gold medalist well on her way to Olympic stardom.

11 of 17

Emily Sweeney

Emily Sweeney Instagram
Emily Sweeney/Instagram

All luge athletes start somewhere — and Emily recalls this was her first time at the top of the track.

12 of 17

Jessie Diggins

Jesse Diggins/Instagram
Jesse Diggins/Instagram

Even back in her days competing in "maroon flannel pants," it was clear that she was destined to be a cross-country champ (who nabbed the U.S.'s first-ever individual medal in the sport, a bronze, this year).

13 of 17

Matty Beniers

Matty Beniers
Matty Beniers/Instagram

Racking up trophies from the time he was little — and proving he was born to wear a hockey jersey (second photo).

14 of 17

Ryan Cochran-Siegle

Ryan Cochran-Siegle Instagram
Ryan Cochran-Siegle/Instagram

"I miss doing fun things like sledding and getting away with peeing myself," the skiier confessed in this #TBT shot. (We think winning a silver in his event nearly 50 years after his mom won gold in hers is pretty fun!)

15 of 17

Nathan Chen

Nathan Chen Instagram
Nathan Chen/Instagram

After winning gold, Chen posted this sweet shot with his parents (and an earlier medal), saying he "couldn't have done this without my family."

16 of 17

Red Gerard

Red Gerard/Instagram
Red Gerard/Instagram

By the time this photo was taken, he had already been snowboarding for several years — which led to his Olympic debut and gold medal in PyeongChang at 17. (He competed this year in Slopestyle.)

17 of 17

Chris Mazdzer

chris mazdzer

"When I cut out the timing, pressure and expectations of sport and can just focus on what I love to do it's the feeling of being a kid again," the luge star wrote ahead of his race. "I feel like that kid again."

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