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Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn caps a banner year for American snow queens

Lindsey Vonn has wrapped up her fourth overall World Cup title this year – a feat matched by only one other woman in the history of alpine skiing. But that's not all.

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After a hard-fought battle, Hendrickson and other women ski jumpers have finally been given their own spot in the Olympic Games – meaning she is well-placed to win a medal in the first Olympic women's ski jumping competition in Sochi, Russia, two years from now.

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Hannah Kearney, moguls champ

Meanwhile on the bumps, mogul skier Hannah Kearney recorded a 16-win streak beginning in January 2011 and only ending last month. That's a record not only for freestyle skiers, but for skiers (both men and women) from all disciplines, from downhill to slalom to cross country. 

The 2010 Olympic champion sure showed her success was no fluke. Despite breaking her undefeated stretch, she still has nearly double the World Cup points of her nearest competitor.

Kearney makes it look easy, but it hasn't always been; after early success as a junior, she had to sit out a couple of seasons struggling with injuries and a lack of motivation. But the quiet go-getter from New Hampshire's Waterville Valley Black and Blue Trail Smashers (BBTS) came back strong.

Susan Dunklee, the newbie with a gun

Last but not least, biathlete Susan Dunklee. Biathlon, now the most popular winter sport on European TV, combines cross-country ski racing with shooting – a feat that has been compared to sprinting up stairs and then trying to thread a needle.

Dunklee, who only picked up shooting after graduating from Dartmouth in 2008, astonished many by nearly capturing a medal at this week's World Championships in Rupholding, Germany. She slipped to fifth in the final stages of the race, with slushy snow making for slow going, but her result is still the best-ever for US women and stands as a warning: There are better things to come from America.

The Sochi Olympics are still two years away, but the prospects are looking good for US snow queens.

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