The Best Team USA Athletes To Follow On Instagram

During the Olympics, NBC does its best to make us feel like we're BFFs with Team USA. But thanks to Instagram, we can get one step closer. And let's face it: the Instagrams of Team USA Olympic athletes are so much more exciting than your friends' photographs of their lunch.

The USA curling team only does YouTube, but get ready to meet the Instagram accounts you'll want to follow on their journey to Sochi...

Alex Shibutani, ice dancer

Shibutani and his younger sister Maia won the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships, but they're going to have a little competition for a spot on the podium in Sochi.

We'd give them the online gold, though — in addition to individual Instagram accounts, they document their lives together on a YouTube channel.

Sarah Hendrickson, ski jumper

At 19, she'll make you feel like you're not accomplishing anything with your life. But her feed, with photos of her training regiment, her adventures, and her cat are too adorable for us to really care.

Here's hoping that the 2013 world champion recovers from her knee injury in time to compete in the first ever Olympic women's ski jump competition in Sochi.

Gracie Gold, figure skater

This 18-year-old uses Instagram just like any other teen... you know, pictures with friends, the occasional selfie, and, oh wait — those pictures that look like they're from prom are actually from the closing banquet of her first World Figure Skating Championships.

Emily Cook, aerial skier

Secret reason to follow the worldwide number two-ranked freestyle aerialist: adorable grams of her St. Bernard, who you can also follow @berkeleypup. And also badass photos of her flipping 50 feet in the air. But mostly the puppy.

Lolo Jones, bobsled

Jones has already been to two Olympics, in Beijing and London. That's right — she went to the summer games, just missing a medal last summer in the 100m hurdles.

But just for fun, she also took up bobsledding in 2008 — and was named to the national team in 2012. It's still unclear if this brakeman will be going to Sochi, but we're hoping she will, just for the selfies.

JR Celski, speed skater

Celski finished with two bronzes in Vancouver after suffering a gruesome injury at the 2010 Trials. This year, he's completely healthy and has qualified in all three short-track events.

He's been focusing, clearly, but his Instagram feed reflects his interests off the track, from fashion to traveling. Seems like Russia might be a rewarding next destination.

Hannah Teter, snowboarder

Other websites have already sung the praises of this gold medal snowboarder's feed, but we appreciate it for reasons besides her sexy selfies.

Although male athletes may seem to have the market cornered on impressive snowboarding pictures, Teter matches their every move, and then goes to NYC to shoot a commercial for Shesheido. Feminism in action.

Bradley Wilson, freestyle skier

Older brother Bryon may be favored to win a medal in the moguls, but he only has a Twitter (without a profile picture!).

We prefer the younger Wilson's Instagram feed, with its jealousy-inspiring scenery shots and custom painted iPhone cases.

Emilia Wint, slopestyle skier

Also 19 (what is it with these successful teenagers?), Wint has a pretty sweet life: skiing in Park City, playing with cats, top finishes in international competitions. Can we join?

Dustin Brown, hockey player

This LA Kings right wing hasn't posted since last March, but he holds the distinction of being the only Sochi-bound men's hockey player who 'grams.

Come on, guys—the women are winning gold medals in this category. Until then, his artsy shots of the 2012 Stanley Cup will have to hold us over.

Jessie Diggins, cross-country skier

This year, Diggins teamed up with Kikkian Randall to win the team sprint at the World Championships.

But is her charming Instagram feed a greater accomplishment? Probably not, though she does post some great selfies.

Find even more athletes on Twitter and other social media through #RoadtoSochi.

Image: emiliawint/Instagram