Best of the U.S.: Among the world's top sprinters, Kikkan Randall finished third in the 2013 overall World Cup standings. She ranked No. 1 in the sprints.
Best of the rest: Marit Bjoergen of Norway has seven Olympic medals on her resume. Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland won the 30k mass start four years ago.
U.S. chances to medal: No American has stood on the cross-country podium since Bill Koch won silver at the 1976 Innsbruck Games. Randall could end that drought and become the first U.S. woman to medal in this sport.
Little-known fact: Skiathlon combines the classic and free, or skating, styles of cross-country. Competitors stop midrace and, with the clock running, switch skis to accommodate the change in technique.