Best of the U.S.: Pilot Elana Meyers and brakeman Aja Evans — who'll be in USA-1— have been a dominant duo ever since their second-place finish at Sochi's Sanki Sliding Center last year.
Best of the rest: Canadian pilot Kaillie Humphries won the World Cup circuit this season, finishing one point ahead of Meyers. Any of Germany's three sledteams could wind up on the medal stand.
U.S. chances to medal: An American sled has medaled at every in Olympics since the event's debut in 2002. That streak is expected to continue.
Little-known fact: With the help of a 9,000-calorie diet, U.S. brakeman Lolo Jones — the former world indoor hurdle champion — has gained about 30 pounds since making the transition from track.
Where: Sanki Sliding Center
When: Feb. 22-23
Best of the U.S.: Pilot Steven Holcomb and his crew will look to defend their Olympic title, which would make them the first American team to win successive gold medals in 82 years.
Best of the rest: Maximilian Arndt of Germany won the World Cup title this season, but most believe Russian pilot Alexander Zubkov will have significant home ice advantage.
U.S. chances to medal: Ranked No. 2 in the world, Holcomb's crew is favored to reach the podium again — although maybe not the top spot.
Little-known fact: Pusher Chris Fogt, a U.S. Army captain, served a one-year deployment in Iraq following the 2010 Olympics.
—Stacy St. Clair
Where: Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Center
When: Skiathlon 15 km Classic and 15 km Free (Feb. 9), Sprint Free (Feb. 11), 15 km Classic (Feb. 14), Relay 4x10 km (Feb. 16), Team Sprint Classic (Feb. 19), 50 km Mass Start Free (Feb. 23).
Best of the U.S.: Shortly before the Games, Noah Hoffman was the top American in the international rankings at No. 28.
Best of the rest: Petter Northug of Norway has struggled of late but took home four medals from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and captured his second overall World Cup title last season. He'll get competition from Dario Cologna of Switzerland, among others.
U.S. chances to medal: On Dec. 31, Simi Hamilton won a sprint at the Tour de Ski in Switzerland, a World Cup stage race. He became the first American man to capture a significant international victory in three decades.
Little-known fact: The mass start race begins with a crowd of athletes at the starting line, everyone jostling for position and employing various strategies leading to an all-out sprint at the end.