A country-by-country review of athletes to watch from southeast Europe at the Sochi Olympic Games.
By Menekse Tokyay for Southeast European Times in Istanbul -- 31/01/14
Romania's Eva Tofalvi, who competes in the biathlon, will be making her fifth appearance in the Olympics. [AFP]
Athletes in Sochi: 2
Athletes to watch: Alpine skier Erjon Tola has been the only winter Olympian in Albania's history, competing in Torino (2006) and Vancouver (2010). But he will be joined this year by Suela Mehilli, 20. Tola and Mehilli both train in Italy.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Athletes in Sochi: 5
Athletes to watch: Zana Novakovic and Marko Rudic are each competing in alpine skiing for the second consecutive Olympics, and Tanja Karisik will compete for the second time in cross country skiing and the biathlon.
Athletes in Sochi: 18
Athletes to watch: Alexandra Jekova, 26, is headed to the Olympics for the third time and will compete in the snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom. A snowboarder since age 11, she was first in the European Cup standings in 2006, took second in two events at the Junior World Championships in 2007 and was a two-time gold medallist at the International Ski Federation Snowboard World Cup in 2011. Cross country skier Antoniya Grigorova-Burgova is competing in her second Olympics.
Athletes in Sochi: 12
Athletes to watch: Alpine skier Ivica Kostelić, 34, is an Olympian for the fourth time, but he heads to Sochi in quest of his first gold medal. Competing in the super combined and slalom, Kostelic won two silver medals four years ago in Vancouver. He also was the super combined silver medal winner in 2006 in Tornio. Morena Makar is Croatia's first Olympic snowboarder and will compete in the halfpipe.
Athletes in Sochi: 2
Athletes to watch: After sending just one athlete to each of the Winter Olympics from 1994 through 2006, Cyprus has two participants for the second consecutive Winter Games. Constantinos Papamichael and Alexandra Taylor both will compete in alpine skiing.
Athletes in Sochi: 7
Athletes to watch: Panagiota Tsakiri, 24, will make her third Olympic appearance competing in cross country skiing and the biathlon, and will carry the flag for Greece in the opening ceremonies. The country also will be represented in the daredevil sports. Nikos Polychronidis will compete in ski jumping. Alexandros Kefalas, 30, will compete in skeleton, having first taken up the sport six years ago.
Athletes in Sochi: 3
Athletes to watch: Cross country skier Darko Damjanovski is competing in the Olympics for the third time, while alpine skier Antonio Ristevski becomes a second-time Olympian. Marija Kolaroska, 16, is making her Olympic debut in cross country skiing.
Athletes in Sochi: 2
Athletes to watch: After making its Winter Olympic debut four years ago with just one athlete, Montenegro is sending two alpine skiers to Sochi. Ivana Bulatovic is the country's national champion the past three years. Tarik Hadzic will turn 20 in March and has been competing internationally since 2009.
Athletes in Sochi: 24
Athletes to watch: Figure skater Zoltan Kelemen will make his second Olympic appearance. He earned his place in Sochi by taking sixth place at the 49-nation Nebelhorn Trophy competition in Germany in September -- the final Olympic qualifying event for figure skaters. Romania's flag bearer for the opening ceremonies will be Eva Tofalvi, who will compete in the biathlon. It will be Tofalvi's fifth appearance in the Olympics. She took 11th place out of 87 competitors in the 15-kilometre event at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Athletes in Sochi: 8
Athletes to watch: Vuk Radjenovic is a three-time Olympian and will pilot Serbia's two-man bobsled, teaming with Nikola Milinkovic. Radjenovic was part of a four-man bobsled team that finished 18th out of 25 teams at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Skiers Milanko Petrovic and Nevena Ignjatovic are both returning to the Olympics after competing in Vancouver in 2010. Ignjatovic finished 32nd out of 87 competitors in the women's slalom four years ago.
Athletes in Sochi: 6
Athletes to watch: Alper Ucar and Alisa Agafonova have won two silver medals in international competition and are Turkey's first Olympic ice-dancing team. Cross country skiers Sabahattin Oglago and Kelime Cetinkaya are each competing in the Olympics for the fourth time.
Biljana Lajmanovska from Skopje, Paul Ciocoiu from Bucharest, Drazen Remikovic from Podgorica, Erl Murati from Tirana and H.K. Tzanis from Athens contributed to this report.