The 10 Athletes We Were Most Excited To See Kick Butt In The Olympics

The Olympics are over, and many of the athletes are already getting emo about it all over Twitter. Since those nubile athletes gave their all for their countries, it’s only fair that we show them the proper gratitude. So, we’ve rounded up the 10 athletes we are most proud of for kicking butt this year, after the jump.

  1. Bode Miller. Bode is such a dreamy badass. He managed to maintain his party-boy reputation while raking in a gold medal for Super-Combined Slalom, a silver medal for Super-G, and a bronze medal for Downhill. He also knows how to give an awesome performance—in 2006, he lost a ski on the Stelvio downhill and finished almost the entire course on one leg. And in 2008, he ran straight into a “protective” fence going 70mph, skied parallel to the ground for a second, and managed to finish in second place. [NBC]
  2. Petra Majdic. The Slovenian cross-country skier thought she was totally screwed after she crashed during training and hurt herself badly. But she pushed herself to finals, wincing and screaming in pain but managing to keep up with the leader. She managed to finish in third place, later finding out that she’d broken four ribs and had a collapsed lung. After her victory, she said that the bronze she worked so hard for to her is “a gold medal with little diamonds in it.” [NBC]
  3. Shaun White. The extreme sport ginger king, Shaun White, had to fight to survive his first years after being born with a heart defect. And his family lived out of a 1964 van named “Big Mo” to afford their visits to Mammoth. Now White earns around $9 million annually, meaning he’s second behind Tony Hawk for highest-paid sports star. And he deserves it after winning gold at the half pipe! [NBC]
  4. Lindsey Vonn. Normally, I’m not into people who are beautiful and talented, but Vonn also appears to be really nice. Really, the only reason I like Vonn is that she was gifted with a super cute cow after winning the 2005 World Cup, and while most people exchange their cows for $1,200 prize money, she sent hers to her friend’s farm in Austria where it made lots of cow babies. Anyway, Vonn won gold in the Downhill and bronze in the Super-G, and it was awesome. But she won approximately no cows. [NBC]
  5. Sidney Crosby. Canadian Hockey players often end up dating American starlets and singers, so it’s a good thing that the ridiculously attractive Crosby is captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins regularly … because who dates American hockey players? Me, that’s who. The Canadian native was the youngest captain in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup championship in 2009. On Sunday he helped bring Canada to Olympic victory, taking gold for the second time in three years. [NBC]
  6. Joannie Rochette. Canadian figure skater Joannie managed to get back on the ice just two days after her mother died of a massive heart attack. And in case you weren’t already tearing up, she asked her mom to visit her once a week when she was in training because she needed her so much. Joannie was looking tender at the beginning of her performance on Thursday night, but managed a nearly flawless performance and won a bronze medal. [CNN]
  7. Petter Northug Jr. So, Norwegian cross-country skier Petter isn’t really a nice guy—he’s cocky and totally tortures his German rival and is known by some as “Storkjeften fra Mosvik” (the Big Mouth from Mosvik). But to be fair, he totally cleaned up at the Olympics, so maybe it’s warranted? When he was growing up, Petter hit the trails up to eight times a day. It paid off this year when he won two gold medals in the 50km Mass Start and the Team Sprint, a silver in the 4 x 10km Relay, and a bronze medal in the Individual Sprint. [NBC]
  8. Torah Bright. The Australian snowboarder, who is apparently “one of the most photographed female snowboarders in the world,” is just really cute. She has her own video game character in “Amped 2″ on X-Box, and spends part of her year in Salt Lake City, part in Australia. She won the gold medal in the women’s half pipe. And (not to totally reveal my girl crush) she just looks so frigging happy all the time that I’m glad she has reason to keep smiling. [NBC]
  9. Evan Lysacek. I’ve been trying really hard to warm up to Lysacek even though I’m on Team Weir. So, after hours of research, I found this quote: “I wasn’t a natural, which you hear a lot of skaters say. More important than talent or anything is heart. You’re either born with the heart of an athlete or not, because in sports you go through so much adversity. You have a bad day and you want to quit. But the most important thing is to be persistent.” I’m proud of him for winning gold in the men’s free skate. [NBC]
  10. Canadian Women’s Curling Team. I know the whole team shouldn’t count as one Olympian, but since the final moments were so intense, it’s a group victory. Canada was down a point to Great Britain when the crowds started singing “O, Canada,” and with a new sense of pride, the team scored two points and totally kicked butt in the end, winning silver for the home team, conveniently, in the first year anyone cared enough to watch curling. [Yahoo]