Winter Olympics In Sochi To See Largest Team USA In History

The Winter Olympics in Sochi will see the largest Team USA in history, with 230 athletes across 15 disciplines, an announcement by the US Olympic Committee (USOC) said Monday.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement:

"This is the largest team we have ever sent to an Olympic Winter Games, and I'd like to commend all of those who helped support our athletes in the pursuit of their Olympic dreams. Most of all, this is a time to celebrate our athletes, who have made countless sacrifices and dedicated themselves to being their best, both on and off the ice and snow. I am very excited to watch them compete as they represent our nation with excellence and distinction on the world stage."

The American team is made of 105 women and 125 men. It also includes 106 returning Olympians and 13 Olympic champions, as well as 99 athletes who were part of the medal topping team from the Vancouver Games in 2010.

A few names that many will recognize from past Winter Olympics are Bode Miller (alpine skiing) -- who is one of the more popular Team USA members -- Julia Mancuso (alpine skiing), Shani Davis (speed skating), and Shaun White (snowboarding).

Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick will become the first American to compete at six Winter Olympics. At Sochi he will participate in all three Nordic combined events and attempt to better his silver medal in 2010.

Two Team USA members are participating in their fifth Olympics: Billy Demong (Nordic combined) and Miller.

Aside from being a crowd favorite, Miller needs three medals to match the most decorated Winter Olympics American athlete, speedskater Apollo Anton Ohno.

Team USA won 37 medals in Vancouver -- the most of any nation -- topping the medal count for the first time since 1932 at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

Many experts believe the US' chances are not as strong as they were in Vancouver and Team USA will have a hard time matching the record breaking Olympic Games they had four years ago.

Some suggest the reason for the American success in Canada was the similar culture, language, and the proximity to home, which allowed many families to attend.

Russia is half-way around the world, has a different language -- that not many understand -- and to top it all is being threatened by terrorism.

Team USA is also missing two key members in veterans Lindsey Vonn (alpine skiing) -- who just had surgery for her knee -- and Apollo Ohno, who won his eighth career medal in Vancouver and is now retired from the sport.

The Sochi Winter Olympics will also see a couple of converted athletes from the Summer Games, as they try to pursue that elusive medal, track and field stars Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams will be part of the bobsled team.

Topping the 37 medals at Vancouver may be hard to do. However, nobody is discounting Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which start on February 7.