No Winter Olympics event has brought more hardware to the U.S. than speedskating. Since the first Winter Games in 1924, the sport has accounted for 85 American medals, a third of them gold, and it has made superstars of guys like Apolo Ohno (the most decorated U.S. winter athlete ever, with eight medals from 2002 to 2010). In Sochi, the U.S. is poised to dominate, fielding a squad stacked with vets who’ve medaled in long track, team pursuit (a three-man race) and short track, a crowded, chaotic battle with lots of spills. They’ve ground through two-a-days for the past four years — and are ready to win. “If we push each other, we all become better,” says Travis Jayner, 31, who won bronze in the 5,000-meter relay in 2010. “That’s the best part of standing on the podium with your teammates: We did this together. Let’s do it again.”
From left: Travis Jayner, Shani Davis, Trevor Marsicano, and Brian Hansen. “Shani and I have known each other since we were 13,” says Jayner. “That friendship is crucial.”
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