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U.S. sending biggest Winter Olympics team to Sochi

Appartment buildings are pictured next to the Sanki sliding center at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, January
Appartment buildings are pictured next to the Sanki sliding center at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, January

(Reuters) - The U.S. Olympic Committee said on Monday it is sending the all-time largest athlete delegation of any nation in Winter Games history to next month's Sochi Olympics with a 230-member team spread across all 15 disciplines.

The U.S. team at the February 7-23 Sochi Games will be comprised of 105 women and 125 men, including 106 returning Olympians and 99 from the contingent that topped the overall medal count at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Alpine skier Bode Miller is one of the more popular members of the U.S. team that also includes familiar names such as Julia Mancuso (alpine skiing), Shani Davis (speed skating) and Shaun White (snowboarding).

Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick will become the first American to compete in six Winter Olympics when he looks to go one better than the silver medal he won in the men's team event at Vancouver. Lodwick is competing in all three Nordic combined events in Sochi.

Miller will contest five events - the downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and super-combined - as he attempts to add to his collection of five Olympic medals.

He finally broke through to win his first gold in 2010, in the super-combined, eight years after collecting two silvers at Salt Lake City.

Miller needs three more medals to match short track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno as the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian.

One notable absentee from the team will be Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn, one of the biggest attractions in winter sport, as she recovers from knee surgery.

Converted track athletes Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams will become the ninth and 10th Americans to compete in both the Summer and Winter Games when they contest the bobsled.

Jones, 31, was a clear leader in the 2008 women's 100m hurdles final until she clipped the penultimate hurdle and finished seventh. She suffered further disappointment when she was a narrow fourth in London four years later, before turning her attention to the bobsled.

Williams, 30, collected the silver medal in the women's 100m in 2004.

Women's curler Ann Swishelm, 46, is the oldest team member, while freestyle skier Maggie Voisin, 15, is the youngest on a team with an average age of 26.

Twenty members of the team hail from California, followed by Colorado and Minnesota (19) and New York (18).

The United States won 37 medals in 2010, although only nine were of the most prized variety as Canada topped the gold medal count with 14.

(Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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