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'USA!' Winter Olympics 2018 athletes we love to love

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From Chloe Kim to Adam Rippon, here are the athletes everyone's talking about. (Gregory Bull/AP Photo|Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Every Olympics, superstars emerge that have everyone talking.

Sometimes it's for their performance; sometimes it's their charisma. Usually it's a magical combination of the two.

No matter your knowledge of the sports, these Team USA members are sure to win you over.

Chloe Kim
Sport: Snowboarding

Though 17-year-old Chloe Kim said she just thinks of herself as a girl from Southern California, the Korean-American has become a sensation in both the U.S. and in the country where her family is from after taking home the gold in the women's halfpipe.

The teen got fans giggling when she tweeted about being "hangry" and wanting ice cream while she was competing.


In the end, though, it was her incredible performance that sealed her place in U.S. Olympics history. With her family watching in person, Kim said her real aim was to make them proud by doing her best.

"I knew I wasn't going to be completely satisfied taking home the gold, but knowing that I could've done better," she said.

Red Gerard
Sport: Snowboarding

At two months younger than Kim, Gerard is the youngest person to ever win a snowboarding gold medal for Team USA. The Colorado resident, who has a makeshift snowboard park in his backyard, took home the gold in slopestyle.

The teen pulled it off even after oversleeping and not being able to find his jacket on the morning of the competition. Instead, he borrowed the jacket of teammate Kyle Mack.

"He was a lifesaver. It was crazy. I would have been done-zo," he said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. "It was a really hectic morning. It was something else."

Gerard had quite the sense of humor on his Kimmel appearance, joking around about his family members partying in South Korea (which they call "getting Gerarded") and agreeing with Kimmel that he has the rest of his life to disappoint.

"I know, I'm peaking. I'm peaking," he said. "After this, it's going to be a steady down."


Adam Rippon
Sport: Figure skating

Adam Rippon pulled off a phenomenal performance in the mixed team figure skating competition, helping to earn a bronze medal for Team USA. The 28-year-old Los Angeles resident landed two triple axels.

Rippon, though, finished with a lower score than his Russian and Canadian competitors, even though they both fell during their routines and Rippon did not. This led to something of a social media outcry, with fans declaring that Rippon got ripped off.


"I think we need to get those people who think that I was ripped off on a judging panel immediately, maybe before the individual competition," Rippon joked to ABC News.

Rippon and skier Gus Kenworthy have also made headlines for being the first openly gay athletes to compete for the U.S. in the Winter Olympics. Asked about tensions between him and Vice President Mike Pence, Rippon said he wants the story to be about the competition for now.

"I have no problem talking about what I've said because I stand by it, but I think right now the Olympics are about Olympic competition and the athletes involved," he said. "I don't want it to distract from them, and I don't want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence. I want it to be about my amazing skating and being America's sweetheart."

Mirai Nagasu
Sport: Figure skating

Speaking of U.S. athletes who can pull off the notoriously difficult triple axel, Mirai Nagasu also proved herself with the jump. During the women's free skate, the 24-year-old Southern California native became the first American woman to land it during the Olympics. Like Rippon, Nagasu didn't make the team in 2014, but like Rippon, Nagasu didn't let that get in the way of her performance during the team competition.

The triple axel was the first jump in her routine.

"I was very, very nervous, especially because this is the team event. I owe it to my teammates as well," she said. "I don't know if you could tell -- it was more something I could feel -- but to nail it the way I did, even out of the corner of my eye, I could see my teammates standing out of excitement."

To top off the excitement, Nagasu had a Twitter exchange with one of her heroes, Reese Witherspoon.


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