PICTURES

Cute athletes to watch out for at the Sochi Winter Olympics

Germany's Felix Loch holds his niece Magdalena after winning the men's singles competition of the Luge World Cup in Oberhof, Germany, on Jan 12, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Germany's Felix Loch holds his niece Magdalena after winning the men's singles competition of the Luge World Cup in Oberhof, Germany, on Jan 12, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Yan Han of China performs during the men's free programme at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, on Dec 6, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Yan Han of China performs during the men's free programme at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, on Dec 6, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada practice during a training session before the ISU Bompard Trophy event at Bercy in Paris, on Nov 14, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada practice during a training session before the ISU Bompard Trophy event at Bercy in Paris, on Nov 14, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Dominique Maltais of Canada celebrates her second place finish during the women's finals at the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, on Dec 21, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Dominique Maltais of Canada celebrates her second place finish during the women's finals at the FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, on Dec 21, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Shaun White reacts after a fall during the Men's Snowboarding Slopestyle Final US Olympic Qualification third at the 2014 Sprint US Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain Resort in Mammoth, California, on Jan 16, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: A
Shaun White reacts after a fall during the Men's Snowboarding Slopestyle Final US Olympic Qualification third at the 2014 Sprint US Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain Resort in Mammoth, California, on Jan 16, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Japanese figure skater Akiko Suzuki performs during the women's single skating of Japan's national championships in Saitama, suburban Tokyo, on Dec 23, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Japanese figure skater Akiko Suzuki performs during the women's single skating of Japan's national championships in Saitama, suburban Tokyo, on Dec 23, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Japanese Sara Takanashi reacting during the Women's Ski Jumping World Cup in Hinterzarten, on Jan 13, 2013.  -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Japanese Sara Takanashi reacting during the Women's Ski Jumping World Cup in Hinterzarten, on Jan 13, 2013.  -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Spaniard Javier Fernandez performs during his men free skating at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating tournament in Moscow, on Nov 23, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Spaniard Javier Fernandez performs during his men free skating at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating tournament in Moscow, on Nov 23, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
US figure skating gold medalist and US Olympic team member Gracie Gold skates during an exhibition event at the conclusion of the US Figure Skating Championships in Boston, Massachusetts on Jan 12, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
US figure skating gold medalist and US Olympic team member Gracie Gold skates during an exhibition event at the conclusion of the US Figure Skating Championships in Boston, Massachusetts on Jan 12, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Patrick Chan speaks during a news conference after being named to Canada's Olympic team at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Ottawa, on Jan 12, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Patrick Chan speaks during a news conference after being named to Canada's Olympic team at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Ottawa, on Jan 12, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

Never mind the medals, where's the eye candy? 

Even if you're not a sports fan, keep an eye out for some of these cute faces at the upcoming Sochi Olympics.

1. Patrick Chan, 23, (Canada) figure skater

He came in fifth at the Vancouver 2010 games and is looking for a podium finish at Sochi.

2. Gracie Gold, 18

Her name could prove prophetic if she performs as well at Sochi as she did at the US Championships in Boston where she skated away with the gold medal. The cute perky blonde packaging doesn't hurt either.

3. Javier Fernandez, 22, (Spain) figure skating

The first Spaniard to score a medal (Bronze) at the world championships. He is an underdog contender at Sochi, but with his dark good looks, he's probably going to win over a contingent of new fans.

4. Sara Takanashi, 17 (Japan) ski jumper This petite 1.5m athlete regularly records leaps of more than 90m in competition and is the hot favourite to win gold in the inaugural event this year.

5. Akiko Suzuki, 28 (Japan) figure skater She may not get as much international press attention as fellow countryman Mao Asada, but she beat Asada to the gold medal position in the last national championship.

6. Shaun White, 27 (United States) snowboarder The two-time Olympic gold medallist has finally got a hair cut and hey, he's actually not bad looking. He channels a bit of a Prince Harry, rugged vibe with his new do.

7. Dominique Maltais, 33 (Canada) snowboarder There's definitely a more hip, laidback vibe to the sport of snowboarding, which perhaps explains the sunny attractiveness of its practitioners. But this Canadian athlete is a professional firefighter in her other life.

8 and 9. Tessa Virtue, 24, and Scott Moir, 26 (Canada) ice dancers This duo have been ice dancing together since Virtue was seven and Moir, 9. And they've announced their intention to retire after Sochi. They've already got a gold from the Vancouver games, so anything they win at Sochi will be just icing on the cake.

10. Yan Han, 17 (China) figure skater This young man is a rising star in China's skating ranks and those chiselled cheekbones and jawline practically guarantees a teenybopper fan base.

11. Felix Loch, 24 (Germany) luger This Matthew Lillard-lookalike is the youngest Olympic champion in history, thanks to a gold medal at the Vancouver games for the Men's Singles.

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