With just weeks to go before the Winter Games officially open in Sochi, Russia, the five-member 2014 U.S. Olympic skeleton team was officially named by the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation (USBSF) on Jan. 18.
The nation qualified two women and three men to compete at the games. The ladies chosen include Utah's Noelle Pikus-Pace and Katie Uhlaender of Breckenridge, Colo., while the men's side features up and coming stars Matt Antoine, John Daly and Kyle Tress.
Federation CEO Darrin Steele called the team "amazing" and opined that any of the competitors could secure a podium finish in Sochi.
Skeleton, which sees sled-bound athletes hurtling face-first down any icy track at speeds up to 80 mph, first appeared as an Olympic event in 1928, and then again 20 years later. It didn't become a fixture of the games until the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, when for the first time, both men and women were allowed to compete.
Although no American athlete has earned a skeleton medal since the 2002 Olympics, when Jim Shea, Tristan Gale and Lea Ann Parsley took an impressive three of the six available, both Pikus-Pace and Uhlaender are considered podium favorites after finishing first and second at the 2013 Sochi test event.
Skeleton events at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will take place Feb. 13-15.