Five athletes we've fallen in love with in Sochi

You did remember it was Valentine's Day, right?

If you have been stricken by Olympic fever, perhaps you didn't realize today is February 14th and we are nine days into the Sochi Games. So while you scramble to buy your loved ones flowers and chocolates, let's reflect on our most beloved athletes from the Games thus far.

1. Sage Kotsenburg

Virtually unknown to everyone (well, almost everyone) before Sochi, snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg pulled a 1620 Japan Air into our hearts and minds on the first day of the Games. While other American riders fell apart, Kotsenburg shone bright on the world's biggest stage and showed casual fans that there are stars beyond that redheaded fellow.

2. Jason Brown

Be honest, 19-year-old Jason Brown's ponytail alone would have gotten him on this list. But Steven Segal's little brother (not really Steven Segal's little brother) went ahead and put together the best short program of his career and has a legitimate shot at medaling if he can continue his run in the free skate Friday. Medal or not, Brown is an Olympic hero for wearing that Prince bodysuit.

3. Johnny Weir's clothes

Poets will spend decades trying to properly articulate the fashion choices of Johnny Weir. I'm not a poet, though, so I will just gawk in amazement.

4. Iouri Podladtchikov

His nickname is i-Pod, which is fitting since he made Shaun White look like a Zune. Podladtchikov promised to be the best in the men's halfpipe and he was, without question. In an Olympics that has been rife with underachieving stars, i-Pod came through with a spectacular performance and an infectious swagger.

5. Evgeny Plushenko

A three-time Olympic medalist heading into Sochi, Plushenko helped Russia win gold in the team event despite a lingering back injury. Unfortunately, that back injury took away his chance to shine in the individual competition. As he waved to fans, fighting his emotions as he skated one last time on Olympic ice, it was hard not to feel for Plushenko. When he walked over NBC's camera and said "I am not robot" any chance at keeping it together was completely lost.

Honorable mention: Tied for sixth are Julia Lipnitskaia and Tina Maze.

Honestly, both Lipnitskaia and Maze could have been in the Top 5, but we wanted the latter to tie in one more thing during the Olympics. Maze and Dominique Gisin tied for Olympic gold in the women's downhill, while Lipnitskaia dazzled the crowd as she anchored Russia's gold medal team figure skating performance. Oh yeah, she's just 15-years-old.


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