The XX Winter Games will include some familiar faces — figure skater Michelle Kwan and speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno — as well as notable newcomers; 2,500 athletes from 85 nations are set to compete. Some of them might not be household names yet, but they have breakout potential when the Games kick off in Turin, Italy, on Friday night. Here are six with star power.
CAROLINA KOSTNER Age: 19 Sport: Figure skating Hometown: Ortisei, Italy Kostner started skating when she was four and has become one of Italy's leading athletes, winning a bronze medal at the World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow last March. Known for her fashion sense as much as her skating ability, Kostner will be donning Roberto Cavalli designs on the rink at Turin. Success may be in the genes: Kostner is the daughter of hockey champion Erwin Kostner and cousin of Olympic medalist Isolde Kostner, who was a flag bearer at Salt Lake City four years ago, just as Carolina will be in Turin. Kostner can already be seen on TV in Italy starring in an ad for Lancia, the car brand owned by Fiat.
ELENA FANCHINI Age: 21 Sport: Alpine skiing Hometown: Lovere, Italy Silver medalist at the Alpine World Ski Cup held in Bormio, Italy, last year, Fanchini is the eldest of three sisters, all top performers in the category. In December, Fanchini's winning schuss race at the World Championship in Lake Louise, Canada, took many by surprise. She outdistanced favorites Michaela Dorfmeister and Alexandra Meissnitzer. On that occasion, Fanchini had Ciao Mamma written on one cheek.
CORINNA BOCCACCINI Age: 20 Sport: Snowboarding Hometown: Udine, Italy Boccaccini is the first woman member of the Italian police force, the Carabinieri, to compete at the Winter Olympics. She won the Junior World Championships at Zermatt, Switzerland, last year and will surf the slopes at the Cesana Pariol location. She's not widely known to the public yet, but Boccaccini already has her own fan club and bets on her performance are placed on the Internet.
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