Five U.S. Winter Olympic athletes will get the Sports Illustrated cover treatment before they begin the pursuit for gold in Sochi.
Alpine skiers Mikaela Shiffrin and Bode Miller, and figure skater Gracie Gold are featured on their own covers of the magazine’s Sochi Olympics preview. Snowboarders Arielle Gold and Jamie Anderson share a spot on the fourth cover.
Although earning an SI cover spot is a noteworthy achievement for any athlete leading up to the Olympics, superstitious readers might be wondering: Were recent Winter Olympics athletes able to overcome the infamous SI cover jinx? Definitely some better than others.
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Few Olympians were as scrutinized as Miller when he boasted about getting to “party and socialize at an Olympic level” after failing to medal in Torino. Miller shared cover honors in 2006 alongside fellow skiers Ted Ligety, Daron Rahlves and Erik Schlopy. Ligety was the only member of the quartet to reach the podium.
Michelle Kwan was touted the “Gold Standard” of U.S. women’s figure skating leading up to the 1998 Winter Games, but fellow American Tara Lipinski beat her out for the top prize in Nagano by a slim margin.
Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn, the cover athlete for Vancouver, collected gold in the women’s downhill and bronze in the super-G but failed to complete her three other races.
In Salt Lake City, Apolo Ohno benefitted from the disqualification of South Korean Kim Dong-Song to claim the men’s 1,500 meters short track race, but he lost gold on the final turn of the 1,000 meters thanks to a three-skater pileup.
SI’s Feb. 2 Sochi edition will mark the first time the magazine has gone with four national covers for its Olympic preview, which should make a nice collection for the Winter Games enthusiast. But for Team USA supporters, let’s hope the extra exposure (and expectations that come with it) doesn’t cause more athletes to succumb to that often-repeated theory.