The women's biathlon team of Kati Wilhelm, Andrea Henkel, Magdalena Neuner and Martina Beck is a dominant force, winning ten medals, including six gold, at the last two World Championships. At 2009 Worlds, the foursome earned silver in the relay while Wilhelm added gold medals in the sprint and 15km individual as well as silver in the pursuit. In the 2008-09 overall World Cup standings, Wilhelm, a six-time Olympic medallist, finished 2nd, while Neuner, Henkel, and Beck placed 4th, 5th and 8th, respectively.
Michael Greis leads the men's biathlon team. A triple gold medallist in Torino, Greis finished 4th in the overall World Cup standings in 2008-09 and helped the relay team win bronze at the 2009 World Championships.
The sliding sports are another area where Germany could pad its medal total, although several athletes will be looking to rebound from disappointment in the 2008-09 season. The bobsled team is led by veteran pilot Andre Lange, who won both the two-man and four-man events in Torino and repeated that feat at the 2008 World Championships. However, the 36-year-old Lange is coming off a disappointing 2008-09 in which he won just one of eight World Cup races in both the two-man and four-man, and failed to earn a medal in either event at the World Championships. In the two-man event, Lange could be joined on the podium by Thomas Florschuetz, the silver medallist at the last two World Championships, and in the four-man by Karl Angerer, who won two World Cup races in the 2008-09 season, or Matthias Hoepfner, who took bronze in the four-man event at the 2008 World Championships.
The women's boblsed team could finish 1-2 in Vancouver with Sandra Kiriasis and Cathleen Martini. Kiriasis, the reigning Olympic champion and three-time World Champion, and Martini took the top two spots in the 2008 World Championships as well as the last two overall World Cup standings. Despite a surprise seventh-place finish at the 2009 World Championships - her first non-podium finish at an Olympics or World Championships since 2001 - Kiriasis remains the heavy favorite.
The women's skeleton team has two gold medal contenders in Anja Huber, the 2008 World Champion who finished 8th as a 22-year old in Torino, and the up-and-coming Marion Trott, the 2009 World Champion. Trott was nearly unbeatable in February, adding two World Cup gold medals and one silver to her World Championship performance - enough to earn first place in the 2008-09 overall World Cup standings. Kerstin Szymkowiak, the bronze medallist at the last two World Championships, rounds out a talented women's team.
Like Lange and Kiriasis in boblsed, the 2009 World Championships saw the toppling of another German sliding icon: Tatjana Huefner, the twice-reigning world champion who finished 6th in the event that snapped a 99-race international winning streak for German women. Still, there is little worry among the deep German ranks. At the 2008 World Championships, Germany won eight of the nine luge medals available, sweeping both the men's and women's singles events, and while the 2009 Worlds saw just a single German medal in each event, the Germans have the talent to replicate their 2008 success in Vancouver.
On the women's side, Huefner, Natalie Geisenberger and Anke Wischnewski swept the podium at six out of nine World Cup races last season, finishing 1-2-3 in the overall standings, and could do the same in Vancouver.
On the men's side, Italy's Armin Zoeggeler is still the prohibitive favorite in Vancouver, but Germany will offer his three biggest challengers. Wunderkind Felix Loch became the youngest world champion ever (18) when he won gold at the 2008 World Championships, and after missing the start of the 2008-09 season while rehabilitating two torn shoulder ligaments, he won Worlds again in 2009. David Moeller, the 2007 World Champion who finished second in the 2008-09 overall World Cup standings, and either 2008 bronze medalist Andi Langenhan round out a dangerous men's singles team.
In doubles, 2008 World Champions Andre Florschuetz and Torsten Wustlich showed no ill effects after missing the start of the 2008-09 World Cup season after Florschuetz underwent surgery to repair a slipped disc in November, finishing 2nd at the 2009 World Championships and winning the World Cup finale in Whistler. They should challenge for gold in Vancouver. The veteran pair of Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch, the 2002 Olympic and four-time world champions, finished second in the 2008-09 World Cup standings and will be in the medal hunt as well.
With 33 Olympic medals, Germany has traditionally had a very strong women's speed skating team, and even without Claudia Pechstein, the nine-time Olympic medallist who is currently serving a two-year doping suspension, Vancouver should be no different. Jenny Wolf is a 500m specialist who won the 2008 World Championship as well as the 2008-09 World Cup overall title in the 500m. Four-time Olympic medallist Anni Friesinger, the 2008 World Champion in both the 1000m and the 1500m, missed the beginning of the 2008-09 season following July knee surgery but bounced back with a gold in the 1500m and silver in the 1000m at the 2009 World Championships at the Richmond Oval. Daniela Anschuetz-Thoms won bronze in the 3000m at the 2008 World Championships. She finished second in both the 1500m and the 3000m/5000m in the 2008-09 overall World Cup standings. Stephanie Beckert placed fourth in the 3000/5000m standings as well as the 5000m at Worlds.
Germany boasts a strong team in Nordic Combined, led by three-time Olympic silver medallist Ronny Ackermann and two-time silver medallist Bjorn Kircheisen. Kircheisen won silver in the large hill event at the 2009 World Championships and placed fourth in the 2008-09 overall World Cup standings.
In 2009, pairs team Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy won the World Figure Skating Championship for the second year in a row. The pair's 2008 victory was Germany's first World figure skating title since their coach Ingo Steuer and his partner Mandy Woetzel accomplished the feat in 1997. She is Ukrainian-born and was given German citizenship on December 29, 2005, just in time to allow them to compete in Torino in 2006. They are also three-time defending European Champions.
Alpine skier Maria Riesch was a four-time junior world champion before a series of injuries stalled her rise in the senior ranks prior the 2005-06 Olympic season. Instead of having a shot at her first Olympic medal, Riesch was left to watch the competition on television. The German star has maintained her health and has since emerged as one of the most successful female skiers on the circuit, winning the slalom world title and finishing second in the overall World Cup standings to close friend Lindsey Vonn of the United States in 2009. Competing in all events, Riesch is likely to avenge Germany's medal-less Torino alpine performance.