At 17 years old, these six athletes aren’t even legal adults yet, but Team USA is ready to put them up against the best of the best at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and rightfully so.
Under the pressure of Olympic qualifying, these teenagers proved they have both the talent and the mentality to perform on sport’s biggest stage, and now they’re ready to show the world what they can do.
With six days remaining until the Opening Ceremony, here are six 17-year-olds who will be competing for Team USA:
1. Red Gerard, Snowboarding
Gerard’s snowboarding career kicked off in his backyard terrain park at his family’s home in Colorado, and he’s now one of a handful of athletes who could all become the youngest American snowboarder to medal at the Olympics. Gerard has been winning top competitions since he was 15 years old, and he’ll be competing in both big air and slopestyle snowboarding, the latter of which is his stronger of the two events.
2. Tess Johnson, Freestyle Skiing
Johnson was 9 years old and brand new to moguls skiing when she watched Hannah Kearney win a gold medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. She dreamt of doing the same thing herself one day, and now she has the chance. Johnson was the youngest skier ever named to the U.S. moguls team at 14, and a gold medal would make her the youngest ever to win the event at the Olympics (defending champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada was 19 in Sochi in 2014). She finished fourth at a world cup in January.
3. Chloe Kim, Snowboarding
Kim is one of the biggest names heading to PyeongChang, and one of Team USA’s best hopes for a gold medal. The youngest member of the U.S. halfpipe snowboarding team has had people talking Olympics ever since she became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in competition and earn a perfect score of 100 in 2016, and it seems every event she enters is hers to lose. Teammate Kelly Clark was 18 when she became the youngest to medal in snowboarding at the Games in 2002, and that record may fall with Kim.
4. Hailey Langland, Snowboarding
Of course, Langland could have something to say about Clark’s record, too. Four months younger than Kim, Langland brings an impressive blend of style and tricks to the slopestyle and big air events and has proven the past two years that she can compete with the best.
5. Maddie Mastro, Snowboarding
Mastro is yet another ultra-talented snowboarder who will compete in PyeongChang at 17, although just barely. With a birthday in late February she comes in just under the wire, but she’s another force to be reckoned with in the halfpipe. Her technical skills have landed her on the podium at a number of big-name events over the past two seasons.
6. Vincent Zhou, Figure Skating
The 2017 world junior figure skating champion will get to see what he can do against the world’s best when he makes his Olympic debut. The 2018 U.S. bronze medalist is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team, was the first junior to land a quadruple lutz in competition, and with his jumping skills and artistry he could surprise some when he takes the ice.