Winter Games Athletes
After winning gold in the individual sprint at the 2010 Games, Kriukov will try to bolster his resume in front of the home crowd in Sochi. He is projected by Sports Illustrated to win that race again, though skiers will use the freestyle technique as opposed to classical this time around. Kriukov, who enters the games ranked fifth in the FIS sprint standings and 23rd overall, opened the 2014 season with two World Cup first-place finishes. He won the individual sprint Dec. 21 before joining forces with Maxim Vylegzhanin to win the team sprint Jan. 12, his 11th and 12th podiums on the circuit dating to 2009. Kriukov also put on a show at the 2013 world championships, winning the individual sprint and the team sprint.