At Vancouver 2010, more than 29 million Americans tuned in to watch White, Vonn and Davis triumph -- and the prime-time coverage of the games even managed to end the six-year streak of "American Idol" at the top of the U.S. TV ratings!
There are plenty of global stars to watch, too. The grace and speed of ice skating queen South Korean Kim Yu-na is not to be missed while best-selling violinist Vanessa Mae swaps her bow for ski poles as she represents Thailand in the slalom.
Will the world witness another "Miracle on Ice" at the 2014 games? There's only one way to find out -- watch the Olympic ice hockey competition.
The USA's victory over an all-conquering Soviet Union side at the 1980 Lake Placid Games is frozen in time as a classic David vs. Goliath encounter, and it also helped the American men go on to win an unlikely gold medal.
Four years ago in Vancouver, the men's ice hockey final served up some more red-hot action on the ice as Canada edged a 4-3 victory over the United States in overtime.
The Winter Olympics provides a rare opportunity to see some of the National Hockey League's top names compete on a global stage.
Sid "The Kid" Crosby -- reportedly the highest-paid player in the NHL -- will captain defending champion Canada.
Get your skates on
Who needs spoof movie classic "Blades of Glory" or television's "Skating with the Stars" when you can marvel over the real ice queens, and kings, on the rink in Russia?
American Jackson Haines is credited as the father of figure skating after he sprinkled a dose of ballet moves to his skating routines in the late 1800s, and now today's ice dancing duos express themselves with music from "Les Miserables" to Michael Jackson.
If you thought the moonwalk was hard, just imagine doing it in ice skates.
For those of you whose legs turn to jelly during the annual Christmas trip to the ice rink, the speed skating events offer reassurance that Olympic skaters fall over too.
Steven Bradbury skated into games legend when he won gold at Salt Lake City in 2002. The Australian watched his rivals ahead of him tumble out in the 1,000m short track final and cruised through to win, becoming the first athlete from the southern hemisphere to win Winter Olympic gold.
The 2012 London Olympics set out to inspire a generation, but it is arguably the Winter Games which are attracting a younger, hipper audience.
"The sports that have recently come into the Winter Olympics are the sports that young people are getting into," explains snowboarder Gillings, who says the majority of her fans tend to be between the ages of 12 and 20.
"Sports like snowboard cross, slopestyle and ski halfpipe are definitely the ones that young people are going to be watching."
The IOC, however, says that it does not have a demographic breakdown of its audience.
The Putin Games
The Sochi Olympics have been dubbed the "Putin Games" -- and Russia's sport-loving President Vladimir Putin has staked his personal reputation on their success.
Addressing the IOC in 2007 in support of Sochi's bid to become host, he said: "It is a unique place. On the seashore you can enjoy a fine spring day. But up in the mountains it's winter. I went skiing there six or seven weeks ago, and I know."
Since winning the bid, $50 billion and rising has been splashed on Russia's first Winter Games, making them the most expensive Olympics in history.
Putin has personally overseen the final preparations and in January he again went skiing in Sochi, although he didn't test out the Olympic courses.
The 61-year-old, a keen horseman and judoka, also plays ice hockey and has tried his hand at bobsleigh.