For many of us, winter is kicking into full speed and hats, gloves, and down are replacing shorts or bathing suits. Sand and water and lots of sunlight are a distant memory as ice, darkness, and soup and coughs now greet us everyday. Making landmark, short term goals help and so we have the New Year, the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, and the Winter Olympics. The entire world, albeit by purple skies and glowing fireplaces, will be watching these incredible athletes showcasing their unyielding spirit, devotion, hard work, and well, also their beauty.
In 2018, some of the greatest athletes in the world will compete for medals, fame, and our hearts. In Pyeongchang, South Korea, deep inside the Odaesan National Park in the Taebaek Mountains, will host athletes from all over this gigantic world. From the biggest cities to the most obscure villages, the competitors will represent their countries and sports. Some athletes will be making their first appearance and others will parade behind the torch for the last time. There will be skaters, dancers, skiers, snow boarders, and their speed and skill will be awesome and inspiring... And their beauty? Out of this world.
To chose just 15 of these jaw dropping women is an impossible, daunting task, so it needs to be done meticulously and step by step. Hopefully, I will be able to cover more of these beautiful athletes in a second installment. In the mean time, my apologies go out to the many I missed and don't be afraid to educate and direct me in the comments.
The Beach Boys, Van Halen, and many more have sung about California Girls but they aren't the end all to be all. In fact, looks, attitude, and confidence will be on display in breathtaking moments of success and despair. So keep an eye out for these 2018 Winter Olympians, who love to warm our hearts by playing in the cold.
15 Ashley Wagner
Though the 26-year-old was born in Heidelberg, Germany, she is an American figure skater and definitely a big time head turner. Her father was in the military, her mother is a teacher, and while growing up she lived in more than five states. I'll call it like I see it: She is 100% American! Ashley has already won competitions and medals from around the world and is a three-time U.S. national champion. Wagner was named to the U.S. team in 2014 and won a bronze in the team event. I hope she keeps marching on, dancing on ice, and "chilaxing" on the beach. There's no way figure skating can ever work on a beach, so unfortunately, you'll have to wait for the summer to see Wagner looking like this again.
14 Jamie Anderson
This American professional snowboarder began snowboarding in 2000 and has been winning ever since. She won the Gold Medal at the Women' Slopestyle Event in 2014, and also at the 2007 and 2012 Winter X Games. She has 11 total medals including four gold, five silver, and two bronze. But not only is she a winner on the slopes, but she is also a winner philanthropically. In 2013, she established the Jamie Anderson Foundation that provides winter athletes with equipment, clothing, and season passes.
As we can see here, Anderson definitely has a body for the summer, even if her sport of choice happens to be a winter pastime. Oh well.
Carry on Jamie, ride on and fly on too. Life seems to be good to you and you're good to life.
13 Lindsey Vonn
The Minnesota born star looks dynamite on the slopes and the city. She and Annemarie Moser-Proll are the only female skiers to win 4 World Cup Championships. Vonn won the gold medal in the 2010 Downhill, which was the first time women were included in the event. But she isn't just a one event champ, as she also won the super-G, giant slalom, slalom, and super combined. Her 77 World Cup victories give her the all-time women's record and has placed her among the most successful American ski racers in history. She also gained some additional fame when she had the guts to go out with Tiger Woods for a while despite him coming off the biggest marital scandal in sports. But hey, who are we to tell her who to date?
12 Amy Purdy
In 1999, Amy was a 19-year-old massage therapist when she started to feel something every human feels, the dreaded flu-like symptoms. But unlike most of us, where cough syrup, tea, or rest is the cure, she had bacterial meningitis that threatened her life. Purdy beat the infection, but she lost her spleen, kidneys, and both of her ankles. But instead of feeling sorry for herself, she researched prosthetics so she could snowboard again. Purdy went on to become a three-time snowboarding world champion, winning the bronze medal during the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics. Amy posed for ESPN Magazine, the Body issue and she exemplified inner and outer beauty and strength. She also founded Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit that gets people with physical disabilities involved with action sports. Do you love her or what?
11 Katie Ormerod
Olympians see the entire world, and Katie Ormerod has been the everywhere girl. The British free style snowboarder has conquered terrain in Moscow, Norway, Italy, Colorado, and more. Not only has she been acquiring post cards, but also wins and medals. In April 2014, she won Slopestyle at the Völkl World and the next year she won the bronze medal. So watch out South Korea, as her skills will be on full display. The only thing we won't see much of is her bikini bod, and from this shot, it's a total shame. She clearly would be a fan favorite at the summer games, much like her winter events. But maybe she'll turn her attention to the Summer Olympics where boating can be an event.
10 Gracie Gold
Can I get a cup a chowdah for the Beantown native who also lived in the states of Missouri and Illinois? Though the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues could use some of her finesse, this bombshell is headed to the Olympics and the world's eyes. Grace is an amazing figure skater who won the silver at the 2012 World Junior and she's a two-time U.S. national champion. In 2014 at Sochi, she won the bronze medal. She continued to roll with 4th place finishes in 2015 and 2016. Now I know figure skaters are not only gorgeous with amazingly athletic bodies, but their mental focus, precision, and artistry is off the charts. If only there was a way to incorporate figure skating into the summer.
9 Julia Dujmovits
If this is how Austrian, Alpine skiers relax then I've got it all wrong. But heck, after winning back to back gold medals in the Parallel Slalom in 2014, she should do anything she wants. Next on Julia's list is PyeongChang in 2018. Not only is she sure to be a heart stopper, but she's bound to love the culture and spirituality. She loves traveling to the islands and mountains and practices yoga and Kondi. She also loves the sun, nature, and water as paddle boarding, kite surfing, and hiking are some of her favorite hobbies. Come to think about it, she'd be a hit too at the Summer games. But for now, we'll have to settle for watching her ski.
8 Nadja Purtschert
Do these ladies have it going on or what? Is there anywhere in the world they can't call their own. So this young woman from Switzerland began competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and in the halfpipe she finished 23rd. Though she's trying to take medals in PyeongChang, even if she doesn't, she would be an awesome room mate. Why? Well, it turns out Nadja loves to sing in her spare time as well, as you can catch some snaps of her singing on her Instagram page. No matter what happens, she's got it together. If she can't sweep the medals, she can take those woes and sing some country. And if that doesn't work out, Nadja is qualified to be a school teacher. Awesome.
7 Spencer O’Brien
Well, the only thing left for the 29-year-old is to keep playing in the snow, smile, and win more medals in 2018. She's already a two time World Snowboarding Champion, won five X Games medals, and was the first female to land a Backside 900. It may not be as impressive as "The Triple Lindy," but good old Rodney Dangerfield (may he rest in peace) would also surely love her. What's no to love about the snowboarder who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis but then won a gold medal at the 2016 Aspen X Games, and silver at the 2016-17 World Cup. So many of these athletes have overcome some tough physical and mental hurdles. A gold medal at the South Korea games would surely be one of the more remarkable perseverance stories in the history of the games.
6 Hilary Knight
While many hockey fans are upset that the men's ice hockey tournament at the 2018 games won't feature professional NHL players, hockey fans can take solace in the fact that the very best female players will be suiting up at the games. For someone like Hilary Knight, she has completely destroyed the stereotype that female hockey players can't be both intense competitors and stunners off the ice. With the nature of hockey requiring equipment to cover just about any body part, Knight's beauty flew under the radar for a while, but a few photo shoots opened the world's eyes to just how stunning she is. Whatever she does after hockey, she has to find a way to get herself on camera.
5 Torah Bright
Yeah, sign me up to learn how to snowboard. I'm sold. Sometimes I wonder if a great name is a ticket to success, as she's got an amazing name to go along with her supreme skill and looks. She also, by the way, has an Olympic gold in halfpipe in 2010 and a silver in the 2014 games. In 2010 in Vancouver, Torah was the flag bearer for the opening ceremony. That was surely a high point, but she's also had to get up off the mat after some nasty crashes. The delightful Aussie will be boarding in Pyeongchang 2018 and will no doubt be a fan favorite. Not only does she have an amazing story to go with her gorgeous looks, but she sports a small town, friendly vibe.
4 Anna Gasser
Believe it, these women are all Olympians. I know it may seem hard to fathom, but Anna competes in Slopestyle and Big Air. And you know what, she has won enough medals to pose any way she wants. In 2016, she won Slopestyle Gold at X Games Oslo. Pause for an important side note: Oslo is the coolest little city in the world and the Gustav Viegland Sculpture Park is a bucket list sight. OK, sorry, back to Anna. She also won Gold at the US Open, Gold at the Big Air World Championships, and first place at the Super Series. She also has won tours and titles across the world and her signature is the Cab Double Underflip. What is that? I don't know, she had me before "Hello."
3 Ina Meschik
She's an Austrian Snowboarder. I love that board. Is that a bull and is that couch cozy or what? She's got beautiful hair. Is this for real? Yep, she's hot. But let's take a step away from the distractions and focus on achievements. Ina got started in the 2010 Winter Olympics, and then continued to roll in 2014 at Sochi. She boarded in the first ever women's parallel slalom and just missed winning the bronze. After a series of tough luck losses, she'll be heading to South Korea. And these pictures? Hey now. She's also got some intense yes, which have to distract even the most concentrated opponent. It's a bit of a wonder how we got two Australian snowboarders on this list and they both happened to be knockouts.
2 Silje Norendal
Just gotta love the Norwegians. It's such a magnificent land and the people are sweet and lovely. Norway's also said to be the happiest country in the world, and when you see women like this, that report starts to make more sense. So all power to their Olympians and their snowboarders. Silje is a Rockstar, and she crushed it during her first X Games Slopestyle where she won Gold. Then, she won her 2nd gold in Aspen and her 3rd in 2015. Three Gold Medals is pretty darn amazing, especially because she competes in all things Snowboarding. That means she can shred the halfpipe, slopestyle, and boardercross. She looks a lot like a young Christie Brinkley, but instead of a Ferrari she rides the snow.
1 Aja Evans
Aja makes the top of the list cause she is one bad woman! She's an American Bobsledder, the breaker woman, and from Chicago. She moved back to who actually moved back to the Windy City after going to college in Vegas, but get this: She actually started her big time career in the 2008 Olympics in the shot put. What an awesome event, and I love watching that throwback competition. But that wasn't her pace as she then became the brakeman in the 2012–2013 World Cup of Bobsledding. You know how fun that is to watch, with the incredible camera angles, speed, and sounds. She won the bronze, a silver at the Sochi, a silver at Calgary, and then gold at Park City. Oh, and if that's not fast enough, she's also posed for ESPN's body issue!