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Sochi Express: Team USA train fully loaded and ready to depart for Olympics

Shaun White seeks a gold medal three-peat at the Sochi Olympics
Shaun White seeks a gold medal three-peat at the Sochi Olympics
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The United States Olympic Committee announced today the 230 athletes who will be competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next month.

As nominated by each of their sport federations, these Team USA members have officially punched their ticket aboard this “Sochi Express” with this USOC stamp of approval. While many qualified for the Winter Games by meeting strict qualification criteria, others were granted spots based on a coach’s discretion, as permitted by the governing body’s rules.

For this elite contingent, their lifelong dreams have been fulfilled. The 125 men and 105 women relied on keen determination, dedicated perseverance, and strong physical conditioning to rise to this pinnacle of all sporting events.

Among this deep and talented squad are 106 Olympic veterans who have won 49 medals at past Winter Games. Thirteen Olympic champions such as Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso, Shaun White, Kelly Clark and Shani Davis are keyed on returning to the top of the podium once more.

“With 106 returning Olympians, this year’s team is an exceptional blend of youth and experience, and represents the finest our nation has to offer,” said Alan Ashley, U.S. chef de mission and USOC chief of sport performance.

These elite competitors span an age range from 15 – 45 years. The youngest freestyle skier Maggie Voisin is emblematic of a new breed of daring, risk-taking teenagers who have swamped the ranks of Team USA. Curler Ann Swishelm is the matriarch of a contingent who average as is 26 years.

Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick has sealed the deal once more and notched his sixth consecutive U.S. squad appointment, the first American to achieve this milestone.

Despite all the controversy surrounding the Sochi Olympics, Team USA is on a mission to top its 37-medal, world record-setting haul achieved at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Subscribe to all my articles: as I more closely assess Team USA's squad in the next few days, during the run-up to the Olympics, and while I am on-site in Sochi.