If you want the real story behind the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this winter, the best source is the athletes themselves. Thanks to social media feeds, all of us can now befriend some of the most talented winter athletes and feel like we’re there, too. These 10 ladies are not only aiming for the podium, they’re doing so with style, grace, and a lot of good selfies.
Skier Lindsey Vonn
Skiing’s favorite superstar is back on the radar thanks to a re-injury of a recent knee injury—and because of her love life. Keep tabs on Vonn’s progress in the gym, on the slopes, and off on her Instagram feed. Look for GoPro ski shots, behind-the-scenes ski team photos, gym selfies, and a few shots of her uber-famous boyfriend, Tiger Woods. Plus it doesn’t hurt that she’s beautiful, blonde, and fit. Follow her @lindseyvonn.
Skier Mikaela Shiffrin
Travel photos, sunsets, selfies, and more can be found on the Instagram page of 18-year-old American ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin. The medal contender has been blowing up on the World Cup ski race circuit during the past few years and is on fire coming into the Olympic year. Her photos will be a view into the Sochi Games from a teenager’s eye. Follow her @mikaelashiffrin.
Speed skater Heather Richardson
A long track speed skater, Heather Richardson isn’t afraid to share bits of her life on Instagram. As the road to Sochi shortens, look for a few more on-ice shots to complement her current album filled with selfies and action shots. Follow her @hlynnrichardson.
Speed skater Petra Acker
It’s been a breakout year for Petra Acker after qualifying for her first World Cup team at the National Championships for long track speed skating last December. The New York native has been training in Park City, Utah, this year, and at 20 years young she’ll be fun follow on her journey to Sochi. Follow her at @babyp93.
Figure skater Ashley Wagner
While the skiing and snowboarding events may look the most dangerous, the toughest area in the Winter Olympics may be on ice. Figure skater Ashley Wagner is just one of the ice princesses looking to steal the spotlight in Sochi. As the 2012 and 2013 U.S. national champion and a fourth place finisher at the World Championships in 2012, Wagner is one to watch in Russia. Follow her for skating shots, selfies, and more @ashwagner2010.
Figure skater Gracie Gold
Born in 1995 in Massachusetts, Gracie Gold, like Wagner, is also climbing her way up the ranks of professional figure skating. She’s been gaining steam in the last few seasons and grabbed a silver at this year’s U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. Aside from ruling on the ice, she’s also the perfectly aged person to follow on Instagram. She’s got shots of serious skating, school dances, and more than a few selfies. Follow her @graciegold95.
Snowboarder Kelly Clark
She earned gold in women’s halfpipe at the 2002 Winter Olympics Salt Lake City, Utah, bronze in Torino, Italy, in 2006, fourth place in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010, and this year, in what will likely be her fourth Olympic Games, she’s aiming for a second gold. Follow her antics, press trips, travel, on-hill time, and workouts through the lens of her phone. It’s like going pro without all the stress and sweat. Follow her @kellyclarkfdn
Snowboarder Elena Hight
The Olympics aren’t even here yet, and it’s already been a big year for snowboarder Elena Hight. She’s got her own web video series running on YouTube, posed nude in ESPN’s Body Issue, and is training like a beast for Sochi. Her Instagram feed offers one part snowboarding, one part lifestyle. Follow her @elenahight.
Nordic skier Kikkan Randall
While nordic skiing isn’t always top of the mind for most people or on the prime time list for the Olympics on NBC, it’s a huge component of the Winter Games. Follow along backstage with Kikkan Randall, a native Alaskan who was the 2013 world champion in ladies team sprint and a 2012 World Cup Overall sprint champion. She earned America’s first ever top 10 finish during the Vancouver Games in 2010, and she’s looking for a medal in 2014. Follow her @kikianimal.
Bobsledder Lolo Jones
No, you’re not mistaken. Lolo Jones, the Olympic hurdler famous for her antics on and off the track during the Summer Olympics in London and Beijing, is back. She’s been named a member of the U.S. Bobsledding Team, and though it is still undetermined if Jones will for sure be attending the Games in Sochi, she’s definitely a good follow on Instagram. Plus, she’s tough and wearing either track gear or a speed suit in more than half of the photos. Follow her @lolojones.