The first time I saw a Team USA warm-up was probably 1966 – way before clothing manufacturers started putting imprints on casual, leisure, and workout wear. It was in Malone, N.Y., and it was worn by Mr. McDonald, who drove a bobsled in the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
The Winter Olympics then were about ordinary people with extraordinary talents from small towns in snow-belt areas like the North Country, as residents of northern New York call it. Sure, they trained – on weekends – down at the bobsled run in Lake Placid, but then they came back to the Malone Bobsled Club and went about their lives.
Jamaican Bobsled Team? Cool
These days, the Olympics are different. Training is year-round. U.S. winter athletes aren’t always from a snow belt. One of the athletes on the women’s bobsled team is from New Orleans. And, of course, the Jamaican bobsled team returns this year.
Athletes coming from the width and breadth of the United States give more regions of the country a connection to the games. Colorado has its winter athletes, of course. Here’s a rundown of Coloradans competing in the 2014 Olympics in Soshi.
Alpine Skiing: David Chodounsky, Crested Butte
Biathlon: Lanny Barnes, Durango
Cross Country Skiing: Simi Hamilton, Aspen
Figure Skating: Jason Brown, Monument
- Aaron Blunck, Crested Butte
- Bobby Brown, Breckenridge
- Lyman Currier, Boulder
- Keri Herman, Breckenridge
- Gus Kenworthy,Telluride
- Torin Yater-Wallace,Basalt
Freestyle: Heidi Kloser, Vail
Paul Statsny of the Colorado Avalanche is on the U.S. team. Other Avalanche players: Matt Duchene, Canada; Gabriel Landeskog, Sweden; and Semyon Varlamov, Russia.
- Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs
- Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs
Skeleton: Katie Uhlaender, Colorado Mountain College
- Arielle Gold, Steamboat Springs
- Justin Reiter, Steamboat Springs
The full U.S. Paralympics team has not been announced, but two members of the Sled Hockey team hail from Berthoud in northern Colorado, and one is a former Front Range student. Tyler Carron and Nikko Landeros lost their legs when hit by a car in January 2007. They have been members of the Colorado Avalanche sled hockey team, too. Tyler attended FRCC in 2007 and 2008.
Good luck to all the athletes. As I cheer for the Colorado athletes, I’ll still have a place in my heart for people from the North Country. Let’s hear it for Tim Burke, a biathlon athlete from Paul Smiths, N.Y., population 671.