Women of the 2010 Vancouver Games

Of course we are all watching the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for the pure enjoyment of sport at its finest. Or, quite simply, we’re not watching them at all. As I’ve noted in the past, I do look forward to the Games every time they are held, not only because of the variety of athletic contests but also because of the babes. I offer you a primer on the female athletes to watch the next two weeks in Vancouver.

And I realize that I left American Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn off of my list, but I just think that she’s a little overrated — not as an athlete, of course. Well, you know what I mean.

Katie Uhlaender, United States: A member of the U.S. skeleton team and the daughter of the late former major leaguer Ted Uhlaender, Katie has battled back from both emotional and physical setbacks to get to these Games. If you don’t know her story, you need to read about it.

Gretchen Bleiler, United States: Bleiler is a snowboarder who won a silver medal in Torino at the 2006 Games in the halfpipe. She is on a roll having won last month at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix, as well as taking gold in the superpipe at the Winter X Games — her fourth X Games gold. Who wouldn’t want to snowboard — and obviously party — with this chick?

Aliona Savchenko, Germany: Savchenko, a six-time German national champion, and her partner, Robin Szolkowy, placed third in pairs figure skating on Monday night to claim the bronze medal in the event. But the duo, in second after the short program, had aspirations of gold — that is, until Szolkowy slipped over his blades and fell to the ice while attempting a double axel in the long program. Of course it wasn’t Savchenko’s fault, as she looked as glamorous as ever skating to John Barry’s ‘Out of Africa.’

Tanith Belbin, United States: Born and raised in Canada, the ice dancing Belbin holds dual citizenship. But what is Canada’s loss is our gain. Silver medalists in 2006, Belbin and partner Ben Agosto broke a 30-year medal-less dry spell for U.S. ice dancing, giving Americans high hopes for gold this year. After enduring 12 cancelled flights from Philly to finally get to these Games, will the duo find it as difficult to grab gold as it was to arrive in Vancouver?

Anni Friesinger, Germany: The 33-year-old Friesinger, who set an Olympic speedskating record in the 1500 meter in 2002, won bronze in the 1000 meter in 2006 at the Turin Games, along with first in 2008 and second in 2009 at the World Championships. She may be the most talked about non-American female athlete at these Games, for obvious reasons.

Julia Mancuso, United States: Mancuso, who won gold in the giant slalom in Turin as an unheralded 21-year-old, announced that she’s founded an underwear line called Kiss My Tiara, which she hopes to expand to other lingerie. I’d pose the question of how she will deal with the pressures this time around now that she is considered one of the favorites, but I have my mind on the thongs and boyshorts she will reportedly be giving out to friends, family and even competitors at these Games.

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