Winter Games Athletes
Uhlaender goes into Sochi playing second fiddle to teammate Noelle Pikus-Pace, but she figures to be a worthy competitor alongside the U.S. favorite. Uhlaender opened her career on the sled in 2003 in impressive fashion, winning both a national and junior national championship in her rookie campaign. In 2006, she made her Olympic debut in Turin, earning a sixth-place finish in Italy before winning the first of back-to-back World Cup titles in 2006-07. However, her road to a disappointing 11th-place finish at the Vancouver Games four years ago was full of adversity. Her father, former major league outfielder Ted Uhlaender, died following a heart attack a year before those Olympics, and she competed after multiple operations on a twice-broken left kneecap. Uhlaender encountered more bad luck last October, suffering a concussion while training in Lake Placid. She spent six weeks out of competition to give herself extra time to heal, sacrificing her FIBT world ranking in the process. However, she says she's "recharged and motivated" after the time off with her sights clearly set on Sochi redemption. Uhlaender also hopes to qualify for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro after participating in the 2012 weightlifting trials.