Go inside the Winter Olympics thanks to these USA athletes' Instagrams
While Olympians used Instagram in 2012, the app has grown considerably in user numbers since then, and video is now available. Sure, it’s not the same as wearing a GoPro camera on your helmet, but it’s about as close as we can get to the games without being there.
We’re already getting a taste of Sochi from the reporters descending on the city, but now that the athletes are arriving (and practicing), we’re getting an intimate look at everything from the Olympic Village to the courses where they will eventually compete. And who doesn’t want to see Olympic selfies?
Many members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams (as well as many of the events’ official teams) are active on Instagram, and we’ll be sure to refresh our feeds come the Opening Ceremony. In the meantime, here are some good accounts to follow.
Jeremy Abbott, Figure Skating
It’s Abbott’s second Olympics representing Team USA (he finished ninth in Vancouver), but that doesn’t mean the sheen of competing in it has worn off yet.
Jamie Anderson, Snowboarding
Anderson won a medal at the Winter X Games at age 15 and hasn’t slowed down since. She’s also won gold on the Dew Tour seven times, the 2013 World Cup, and the 2012 Canadian Open.
Eddy Alvarez, Speed Skating (Short Track)
After missing out on the Vancouver Olympics, Alvarez made the U.S. World Cup team and became the first Cuban-American male speed skater to make the U.S. Olympic team. He plans to pursue baseball after Sochi.
Evan Bates, Figure Skating
A member of the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating team, Bates is returning with a new skating partner, Madison Chock.
Erik Bjornsen, Cross-Country Skiing
Bjornsen was named an NCAA All-American in 2011 and made his debut onto the world stage in 2012. His sister, Sadie, is also a cross-country skier.
Aaron Blunck, Freestyle Skiing
Blunck competed at the inaugural Youth Olympic Winter Games in 2012 and has since started competing at the world level.
Maddie Bowman, Freestyle Skiing
For Bowman, skiing runs in the family. She is the daughter of two former professional skiers, and the high school senior has made headway in the few years she’s entered the professional spotlight.
Greg Bretz, Snowboarding
Bretz won his first World Cup victory in 2008 and placed 12th in the Vancouver Games before being named to the U.S. Olympic team.
Bobby Brown, Freestyle Skiing
Jason Brown, Figure Skating
Cory Butner, Bobsled
Butner already has three World Cup medals to his name and is looking to add an Olympic medal to his collection.
Sophie Caldwell, Cross-Country Skiing
Caldwell made her debut at the World Cup in December 2012 and finished 20th overall at the 2013 World Championship.
Alex Carpenter, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Carpenter is the daughter of former NHL player Bobby Carpenter and was the youngest player on Team USA for a three-game exhibition against Canada in 2010.
Kyle Carr, Speed Skating (Short Track)
Carr missed a shot at the 2010 Olympics by a hundredth of a second, but this time he snagged a spot this time around. He’s also part of the U.S. team that set the national relay record, but plans to retire after Sochi.
Marissa Castelli, Figure Skating
Castelli and her partner, Simon Shnapir, have been skating together since 2006 and won two national titles at the U.S. Championships before heading to Sochi.
J.R. Celski, Speed Skating (Short Stack)
Celski is returning to the Olympics after winning two bronze medals in Vancouver, and he’ll appear in a one-hour NBC special called How to Raise an Olympian
Taylor Chace, Sled Hockey
This is the third Paralympics for Chace, who helped the U.S. Sled Hockey team win bronze in Torino and the gold in Vancouver.
Madison Chock, Figure Skating
Along with her partner Evan Bates, they finished fourth at the 2012 U.S. International Classic and won silver at the 2014 U.S. Championships before making it to Sochi.
Lauren Cholewinski, Speed Skating (Long Track)
Cholewinski has been competing since 2007 and was named to the U.S. team for the Vancouver Olympics.
Kelly Clark, Snowboarding
Clark is returning for her third Winter Olympics after winning gold in Salt Lake City and bronze in Vancouver. She’s also competed in the Superpipe at the Winter X Games and Winter Dew Tour.
Emily Cook, Freestyle Skiing
Cook has competed in Torino and Vancouver after missing the chance to go to Salt Lake City following an injury and ranks second overall in the aerials rankings.
Stacey Cook, Alpine Skiing
Cook has skied since she was four. She’s competed in Torino and finished 11th overall in Vancouver.
Nick Cunningham, Bobsled
Cunningham is a Sergeant in the New York National Guard who has competed since 2008. He placed 12th in the two-man event and 13th in the four-man event in Vancouver.
Lyman Currier, Freestyle Skiing
Currier made an impression on the rookie circuit during the 2011-2012 season, and ended up on the top of the podium at the 2014 U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah prior to Sochi.
John Daly, Skeleton
Daly started as a BMX racer, but stopped after he broke both wrists following a practice run. He qualified for Vancouver and won gold at the 2013 World Championships.
Danny Davis, Snowboarding
Davis failed to get a spot on the 2010 team after suffering from a back injury, but more recently he won first place in the 2014 Men’s Snowboard Superpipe.
Meryl Davis, Figure Skating
Davis won the silver with partner Charlie White in Vancouver. The duo have been skating together since 1997, making it the longest-lasting dance team in the U.S.
Davis was the first Black athlete from any nation to win gold in an individual sport (speed skating 1,000 meter) in Torino, and he defended the title in Vancouver. He’s also won two silver medals in the 1500 meter.
Brianna Decker, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Decker plays for the Badgers at the University of Wisconsin, and she was appointed to the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2011.
Jessie Diggins, Cross-Country Skiing
Diggins made her debut in 2011, and along with teammate Kikkan Randall, won the team sprint at the 2013 World Championships.
Alyson Dudek, Speed Skating (Short Track)
Dudek won the bronze for the 3,000 meter relay in Vancouver after South Korea was disqualified. She’s also won the bronze at the 2009 and 2011 World Team Championships and the 2010 World Championships.
Meghan Duggan, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Duggan was part of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey team that won silver in Vancouver and the team that won gold at the 2013 Women’s World Championships.
Polina Edmunds, Figure Skating
Edmunds won the silver at the 2014 U.S. Championships, which was the first time she competed at the senior level.
Aja Evans, Bobsled
Evans competed in track and field (even trying out for the 2008 Olympics) before switching to the bobsled. She earned the silver at Calgary and gold at Park City during the most recent World Cup season.
Kaitlyn Farrington, Snowboarding
Farrington became the first woman to perform a backside 900 and consistently finished towards the top at the Winter Dew Tour and Winter X Games.
Declan Farmer, Sled Hockey
Farmer was born as a bilateral amputee and started skating for the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in 2012 before joining the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.
Jazmine Fenlator, Bobsled
Fenlator started bobsledding in 2007 and switched to the driver’s seat after competing as a brakeman for a few years.
Julia Ford, Alpine Skiing
Ford won gold at the U.S. National Championships in 2011 and 2012 for downhill skiing and has been part of the World Cup circuit.
Travis Ganong, Alpine Skiing
Prior to Sochi, Ganong had his best season yet where he finished 18th overall in the season and won the gold at the 2013 U.S. Championships.
Arielle Gold, Snowboarding
The 17-year-old has already competed at the Winter Youth Olympic Games and the Winter X Games prior to Sochi, where she is joined by her brother (and teammate) Taylor.
Gracie Gold, Figure Skating
The 2014 U.S. National Championship winner earned the highest-ever scores in the short program and and the free program to earn her spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Taylor Gold, Snowboarding
Taylor Gold already has a wealth of experience on his own. He’s been competing since 2011 in the Junior World Championships, U.S. Grand Prix, and the Winter Dew Tour.
Preston Griffall, Luge
Griffall finished eighth in the men’s doubles luge event in Torino and serves as a member of the U.S. National Guard in Utah.
Jamie Gruebel, Bobsled
Gruebel joined the U.S. Bobsled Team in 2007, where she made the transition from brakeman to pilot.
Chas Guldemond, Snowboarding
Guldemond started snowboarding professionally in 2005 and he had a solid run at the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Grand Prix.
Simi Hamilton, Cross-Country Skiing
Hamilton competed in the 2010 Olympics, where he finished 29th of 96 skiers and finished 13th in the relay.
Erin Hamlin, Luge
Hamlin finished 12th in Torino and 16th in Vancouver, where she was the highest-placed American in the individual event.
Brian Hansen, Speed Skating (Long Track)
Hansen won the silver in the team event in Vancouver and has since won medals at the World Junior Championships.
Kate Hansen, Luge
Hansen broke her foot in October in the middle of a race (and won) but managed to heal in time to qualify for the Sochi team.
Sarah Hendrickson, Ski Jumping
Hendrickson is part of the first-ever women’s ski jumping team to attend the Olympics.
Jessica Jerome, Ski Jumping
Jerome has been competing since 2001 and became the first woman to win the U.S. Olympics Trials in women’s ski jumping.
Lolo Jones, Bobsled
Jones competed as an Olympic hurdler in 2012 and got recruited for the bobsled team after the London Olympics.
Patrick Kane, Ice Hockey (Men’s)
The Chicago Blackhawks right wing/center won his first Stanley Cup in 2010 and was part of men’s hockey team that won silver in Vancouver.
Nolan Kasper, Alpine Skiing
Kasper has been skiing since age 3 and placed 24th in the Olympic Slalom at Vancouver.
Aidan Kelly, Luge
Kelly was inspired to take on luge after he saw a commercial for the sport during Torino. He’s one of three lugers to compete in the men’s single’s competition.
Amanda Kessel, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Kessel plays for the University of Minnesota, and her brother, Phil, also plays for Team USA on the men’s hockey team.
Hilary Knight, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Knight played for the University of Wisconsin and was part of the 2010 U.S. women’s hockey team that won gold in Vancouver.
Sage Kotsenburg, Snowboarding
Kotsenburg has competed professionally since age 12 and will compete alongside Shaun White and Chas Guldemond.
Jocelyne Lamoureux, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Jocelyne played for the Minnesota and North Dakota during her college career, and, along with her twin sister Monique, won silver in Vancouver.
Monique Lamoureux, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
The ice hockey forward played for Minnesota and North Dakota before playing for the U.S. in Vancouver.
Emery Lehman, Speed Skating (Long Track)
Lehman won his first national event at age 12 and will compete in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter events at Sochi.
Ted Ligety, Alpine Skiing
Ligety is a four-time World Cup champion in the giant slalom and won the gold for combined in Torino.
Chris Mazdzer, Luge
Mazdzer has competed since 2001 and finished 13th at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Jordan Malone, Speed Skating (Short Track)
Malone started skating at age 5 and participated in his first competition in 1995. He won the bronze in the 5,000 meter relay at Vancouver.
Julia Mancuso, Alpine Skiing
Mancuso won the gold in the giant slalom in Torino and silver in both downhill and combined in Vancouver.
Joey Mantia, Speed Skating (Long Track)
Mantia holds three world records for the road race and switched to speed skating on ice in 2011.
Brianne McLaughlin, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
McLaughlin is the goalie for the women’s ice hockey team and won the silver medal in Vancouver.
Patrick Meek, Speed Skating (Long Track)
Meek will compete in the 5,000 meter race after trying out in 2006 and 2010 and failing to make the Olympic team.
Elana Meyers, Bobsled
Meyers has already competed in Vancouver, where she won the bronze in the two-woman bobsled race.
Bode Miller, Alpine Skiing
Miller has already won five medals in four different disciplines in the Winter Olympics, making him the most decorated U.S. skier.
Andy Newell, Cross-Country Skiing
Newell made his Olympic debut in Torino and finished ninth with Team USA during the team sprint in Vancouver.
Leif Nordgren, Biathlon
Nordgren was originally introduced to the biathlon by his older sister and has regularly competed on the World Cup circuit for the past four years.
Steven Nyman, Alpine Skiing
Nyman started to compete professionally in 2006, and he made his Olympic debut in Torino, where he finished 19th in downhill, 29th in combined, and 43rd in the super G.
Johnny Quinn, Bobsled
Quinn is a former wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Canadian Football League) and was also signed to the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers before signing onto the U.S. bobsled team.
Kikkan Randall, Cross-Country Skiing
Randall won a medal in the team spring with Jessie Diggins at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships before Sochi.
Justin Reiter, Snowboarding
Reiter missed out on the Winter Olympics in 2006 and 2010, but he finally made the team after winning the silver medal at the 2013 World Cup.
Heather Richardson, Speed Skating (Long Track)
Richardson competed in Vancouver, where she placed sixth in the 500 meters, ninth in the 1,000 meters, and 16th in the 1,500 meters.
Jilleanne Rookard, Speed Skating (Long Track)
Rookard placed 12th in Vancouver and won the 3,000 meter event during the Olympic Trials in Salt Lake City to make the team.
Laurenne Ross, Alpine Skiing
Ross started skiing at age 7, and she specializes in downhill and super G.
Anne Schleper, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Schleper played for Minnesota before joining the U.S. Women’s hockey team, where she’ll make her Olympic debut in Sochi.
Alex Shibutani, Figure Skating
Alex Shibutani dances with his sister Maia, and the two won the bronze medal at the 2014 U.S. Championships.
Maia Shibutani, Figure Skating
Maia is the younger of the Shibutani siblings. She started skating at age four, but didn’t start skating with her brother until 2004.
Mikaela Shiffrin, Alpine Skiing
Shiffrin specializes in slalom and giant slalom, and she won gold at the 2013 World Championships.
Leanne Smith, Alpine Skiing
Smith joined the U.S. Ski team in 2007 and moved up to the World Cup level before representing the U.S. in 2010 and 2014.
Jessica Smith, Speed Skating (Short Track)
Smith started inline skating, but she eventually switched to short track speed skating in order to go to the Olympics. She was appointed as an alternate in 2010.
Kelli Stack, Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Stack played for Boston College before competing in Vancouver and was later drafted to the Boston Blades in 2011.
Ryan Stassel, Snowboarding
Stassel finished among the top four Americans for each of the final Olympics qualifying events and has also done well at the U.S. Grand Prix.
Resi Stiegler, Alpine Skiing
Stiegler has been skiing since she was two and made her Olympic debut at the Torino Games.
Marco Sullivan, Alpine Skiing
Sullivan has competed in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics as well as four World Championships.
Jayson Terdiman, Luge
It’s Terdiman’s first Olympics while his doubles partner, Christian Niccum, is going to his third. The duo began to share a sled after Vancouver and won a World Cup bronze medal in 2013.
Hannah Teter, Snowboarding
Teter is an Olympic veteran. She won the gold medal for halfpipe in Torino and the silver medal in Vancouver.
Sugar Todd, Speed Skating (Long Track)
Todd started to skate at age 8 and qualified for the 500 and 1,000 meter events at Sochi.
Kyle Tress, Skeleton
Tress started competing in 2002, and he finished fifth in the men’s event at the 2013 World Cup.
Katie Uhlaender, Skeleton
Uhlaender competed in Torino and Vancouver, where she placed sixth and 11th in the skeleton event respectively.
Ashley Wagner, Figure Skating
Wagner finished fourth at the 2014 U.S. Championships after falling twice during her routine, but her strong international record earned her a spot on the team.
Ty Walker, Snowboarding
At just 16, Walker has dominated the women’s slopestyle and finished fifth at the FIS World Snowboarding Championship.
Andrew Weibrecht, Alpine Skiing
Weibrecht won the bronze for super G in Vancouver and races in all five skiing disciplines.
Tucker West, Luge
At 18, West is the youngest male to represent the U.S. in Sochi in the Men’s Singles luge competition.
Charlie White, Figure Skating
White won the silver medal in Vancouver and the gold at the World Championships in 2011 and 2013 with partner Meryl Davis.
Shaun White, Snowboarding
One of the more recognizable faces at Sochi, the two-time Olympic gold medalist also holds the X-Games records for most gold medals and most medals overall.
Lauryn Williams, Bobsled
Like Lolo Jones, Williams is another Olympian who made the transition from track and field to the bobsled. She won the silver for the 100 meters in Athens and the gold for the 4x100 meter relay in London.
Felicia Zhang, Figure Skating
With skating partner Nathan Bartholomay, Zhang has won two medals at the U.S. National Championships, with the most recent silver win in 2014 earning them a spot on the team.