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It's no secret that competitive events are more fun when you have someone to root for. The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver are certainly no exception. Your kids may not be so interested in the obscure Olympic categories, the opening ceremonies, or the Olympic mascots (Miga Quatchi, and Sumi, if you must know), but they'll probably be very interested in following these five particular American olympians, known not just for their athletic ability, but for their VERY kid-attractive style, skill, and success:
1. Fluent in French and Russian, Figure Skater Johnny Weir is most comfortable speaking his mind. He even has his own reality television show on The Sundance Channel. Weir took 5th place at the last Winter Olympics, and at one time won three U.S. Championships in a row, but his top aspiration is to be a fashion designer.
Did Your Kids Know?: Johnny has his own clothing line in Korea called "Be Unique."
2. Shaun White has won almost every major award in his half-pipe snowboarding specialty -- one of the coolest in all of the Winter Olympics -- including a gold medal at the 2006 games. Often called "The Flying Tomato," Shaun has a long mop of bright red hair on his head that makes him instantly recognizable... and probably even more cool. Look for him to do tricks no one else can or dares, then look for him on the medal stand.
Did Your Kids Know?: He's nearly as a good on a skateboard.
3. A 16-year-old aerial specialist, Freestyle Skier Ashley Caldwell is the youngest member of the U.S. Winter Olympic Team, but only by a matter of months. Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu and Pairs Figure Skater Caydee Denney are also 16. Ski Jumper Peter Frenette is the youngest man, at 17.
Did Your Kids Know?: There are 15 Winter Olympic athletes under 20.
4. Until ice roller derby becomes a Winter Olympic sport, short track will be the only one that looks like both a race and a fight at the same time. And no one skates and fights with so much fearless joy as two-time gold medal winner Apolo Anton Ohno. In fact, Ohno is two medals away from becoming the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian in history. Pretty cool for a guy whose stockiness as a kid earned him the nickname "Chunkie".
Did Your Kids Know?: Ohno won Dancing with the Stars in 2007.
5. Alpine Skier Lindsey Vonn is generally considered the word's best overall skier, and is well-positioned for multiple medals in Vacouver.
Did Your Kids Know?: Vonn suffered a major crash while training at the 2006 Olympics, but she's come back from it even stronger, having won world championships in two events as well as the overall World Cup title in both 2008 and 2009.