Travis Jayner
Credit: Photograph by Alan Clarke

Age: 31
Hometown: Riverview, New Brunswick, Canada
Best Events: Short track: 1,500 meter; 5,000-meter relay
Medal Count: Bronze, 5,000-meter relay, 2010

Travis Jayner's father, Jack, was a champion speedskater in the fifties and sixties – yet he and his wife never pressured Travis to join the family business. "If anything, they forced me to try other sports – soccer, swimming, volleyball – to make sure I was skating short track because I really wanted to," Jayner says.

Today, the Salt Lake City resident – who grew up in Canada and has dual citizenship – trains with a focus on his mental game, drawing on the Zen-like lessons of golf ("You hit a shot and, good or bad, you have to refocus") and visualization. Ever since a World Cup event in Sochi last year, he says, he's better able to envision himself competing in the Olympics: "Having that image in my mind helps me dream about it and plan for it. Whenever I'm training and want to quit, I think, This is what it could be like. This could be the difference."

And when he wants to get his mind off skating? Jayner unwinds by painting. "I love graffiti-style art," he says. "I spray-paint baseball hats, and I'm working on some canvases now for a friend. It's a good escape to focus my energy on something creative that's not pushing my body physically into the hole."