Team USA 2018: Meet Your Midwest Olympians

0
905

This year, there are 46 Midwest Olympians on Team USA for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The games take place from Feb. 9 – 25, and over 2,800 athletes will participate. Overall, Team USA expects to reach about 240 athletes.*

*All information gathered from Team USA

1Leif Nordgren – Marine, MN; Biathlon

Nordgren, 28, was born in Colorado Springs but grew up in Minnesota, will compete in his second Olympic Games this February, after competing in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. His hobbies include canoeing, fishing, orienteering, and basically anything outdoors.

2Aja Evans – Chicago, IL; Bobsled

Evans, 29, graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management. She competed in Sochi as the pilot for Jamie Greubel Poser and won bronze. The pair have won several other medals and championships together, and won the USABS’ Team of the Year Award in 2017.  Her favorite foods include sushi and seafood.

3Jessie Diggins – Afton, MN; Cross-Country Skiiing

Diggins, 26, began skiing at age three, and was part of the first-ever U.S. team to win a world cup team sprint event. She also was the first U.S. cross-country skier to win a world championship gold medal. Diggins enjoys reading, camping, canoeing, hiking, playing violin and swimming.

4Tyler George – Duluth, MN; Curling

George, 35, will compete in his first Olympics in PyeongChang. He curls with the Duluth Curling Club, and was the Curtis Cup winner for junior nationals in 2001. Recently, George placed fourth in the World Men’s Championship in 2017, got bronze in 2016, fifth in 2015 and fourth in 2010. He also won the 2017 U.S. Nationals, and was the runner up in 2016.

5Cory Christensen Duluth, MN; Curling

Christensen, 23, graduated from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, and has competed in the Curling World Junior Championships since 2012. In 2017, she placed fifth in the World Women’s Championships. She placed third at the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials guaranteeing her a spot in PyeongChang, her first Olympic experience.

6Aileen Geving – Duluth, MN; Curling

Geving will turn 31 during the 2018 Winter Games, which will be her first Olympic experience. She attended the University of Minnesota – Duluth with a focus on Organizational Management. She is a two-time junior national champion, and competed in both the 2017 and 2015 World Women’s Championships.

7Matt Hamilton – McFarland, WI; Curling

Hamilton, 28, will compete on both the curling team competition and mixed doubles in his first Olympic experience. In 2008, Hamilton was part of the USA Curling Team of the Year, and placed in the World Junior Championships in 2008 and 2009. He was the U.S. National Champion in 2015, and placed in the World Men’s Championship three years in a row.

8Becca Hamilton – McFarland, WI; Curling

Hamilton, 27, attended Edgewood College and is a two-time U.S. junior national champion. She competed for Team USA at the 2015 and 2017 World Women’s Championships, and won both the Olympic Team Trials and Olympic Mixed Doubles Trials. Hamilton works for Dick’s Sporting Goods as part of its Team USA Olympic Contenders Program.

9John Landsteiner – Duluth, MN; Curling

Landsteiner, 27, will compete in his second Olympic Winter Games this year, after placing ninth in 2014. He has competed in curling since high school, as he was the champion of Minnesota State High School Championships in 2004, 2006 and 2007. He was named the USA Curling Athlete of the Year in 2014, and was the champion of the Continental Cup in 2014 and 2016. He currently curls out of Duluth Curling Club.

10Tabitha Peterson – St. Paul, MN; Curling

Peterson, 28, will experience her first Olympic Games this winter. She was in the World Women’s Championship in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017, and was the World Mixed Doubles bronze medalist in 2016. This year, she was the U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion and Continental Cup champion. Peterson works as a pharmacist in the Twin Cities.

11Joe Polo – Duluth, MN; Curling

Polo, 35, attended Bemidji State University and the University of North Dakota. He is a six-time U.S. men’s national champion, and won bronze at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. He enjoys hunting, fishing, sand volleyball and frisbee. Polo and his wife named their daughter Ailsa after an island where curling granite is honed.

12John Shuster – Superior, WI; Curling

Shuster, 35, will compete in his fourth Olympic Games this year, after taking bronze in 2006, 10th in 2010, and ninth in 2014. He has competed in six World Championships since 2003, and earned gold at the World University Games in 2007. Shuster’s nickname is Shoostie, and curls out of the Duluth Curling Club.

13Nina Roth – McFarland, WI; Curling

Roth, 29, got a nursing degree from Edgewood College. She is a two-time U.S. women’s national champion and a two-time junior women’s national champion. In 2016, Roth was the runner up at the World Mixed Doubles Team Trials, and took fourth at the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

14Evan Bates – Northville, MI; Figure Skating

Bates, 28, will become a three-time Olympian this year, as he took 8th in 2014 and 11th in 2010. He began skating at age 4, and took seventh at the 2017 World Championships. He competed with Emily Samuelson from 2000 to 2010 and now is with Madison Chock, who he skated with at Sochi. Bates enjoys golf, reading and playing guitar.

15Madison Chock – Novi, MI; Figure Skating

Chock, 25, will compete in her second Olympic Games after taking 8th with Evan Bates in 2014. She started skating at age 5, and went to Schoolcraft College. Before Bates, she was with her previous skating partner, Greg Zuerlein, from 2006 to 2011.  Chock designs skating costumes for herself, Bates and other skaters.

16Madison Hubbell – Okemos, MI; Figure Skating

Hubbell, 26, is part of the Lansing Skating Club, and has been skating since age 5. Her first partner was her brother, Keiffer Hubbell, and now is with Zach Donohue. Hubbell and Donohue have placed in several competitions since 2012, and in 2017, took ninth in the World Championships. This will be her first Olympic Games.

17Alexa Scimeca Knierim – Addison, IL; Figure Skating

Knierim, 26, will be in her first Olympic Games this Winter, skating with her husband Chris Knierim who became her partner in 2012 and husband in 2016. Knierim was in the World Championships in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, placing 10th last year. She enjoys fishing, archery, reading and her pets.

18Alex Shibutani – Ann Arbor, MI; Figure Skating

Shibutani, 26, is a two-time Olympian, and placed ninth in 2014 with sister Maia Shibutani. In 2017, the two won bronze at the U.S. Championships, marking their 13th consecutive medal. He began skating at 7, and enjoys sports and photography.

19Maia Shibutani – Ann Arbor, MI; Figure Skating

Shibutani, 23, began skating at age 4 with her brother, and will experience her second Winter Olympic Games in 2018. In 2012, she launched the ShibSibs YouTube channel to showcase their routines. She enjoys fashion, cooking, reading and traveling.

20Bradie Tennell – Carpentersville, IL; Figure Skating

Tennell, 20, will compete in her first Olympic Games this year. She is part of the Skokie Valley FSC Team, and started skating at age 2. She competed in the ISU World Junior Championships in 2016 and 2017, placing 11th and seventh, respectively. Fennell enjoys cooking, swimming and skiing.

21Chad Billins – Marysville, MI; Ice Hockey

Billins, 28, is a first-time Olympic Athlete. He attended Farris State University, and was named the CCHA’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2011. In 2012, he signed with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and helped them win the Calder Cup in 2013. He enjoyed fishing and spending time with his family.

22Will Borgen – Moorhead, MN; Ice Hockey

Borgen, 21, attended St. Cloud University, where he was named the the NCHC All-Rookie team in 2016, which was his first season. In 2015, he was selected in the fourth round of the NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Borgen’s hobbies include hunting and playing video games.

23Hannah Brandt – Vadnais Heights, MN; Ice Hockey

Brandt, 24, helped the University of Minnesota to three NCAA national championships, and won two golds and a silver in the Four Nations Cup in 2017, 2016 and 2014, respectively. Her hobbies include golfing, juggling and going to the beach.

24Dani Cameranesi – Plymouth, MN; Ice Hockey

Cameranesi, 22, earned two NCAA national championships with the University of Minnesota. In 2014, she took silver at the Four Nations Cup, and took gold in 2017. She also won the gold at the 2015 World Championship. Cameranesi likes to fish, hike, draw and boat in the summer.

25Kendall Coyne – Palos Heights, IL; Ice Hockey

Coyne, 25, won the silver medal at the 2014 Olympics. In 2016, she was awarded the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in women’s college hockey, and she played at Northeastern University. Now, she is on the Minnesota Whitecaps and was named one of the top three U.S. players of the 2017 Four Nations Cup. Coyne’s hobbies include baseball, cooking, and reading about sports.

26Brianna Decker – Dousman, WI; Ice Hockey

Decker, 26, was a silver medalist in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia, and won gold at the World Championships in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, and 2011. She also has medaled at nine Four Nations Cups. She was named the NWHL Most Valuable Player in 2015. Her hobbies include cooking, biking and listening to music.

27Amanda Kessel – Madison, WI; Ice Hockey

Kessel, 26, played in the 2016-2017 NWHL All-Star Game as team captain and was named MVP. In 2012, she won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award at Minnesota, where she went to college for Sports Management. Her hobbies include playing cards, watching Netflix and going out to dinner with friends.

28Megan Keller – Farmington, MI; Ice Hockey

Keller, 21, goes to Boston College, and won the gold medal at the World Champions in 2015, 2016 and 2017. She led defenders across the NCAA with 39 points and 29 assists in 35 games in one season. Her hobbies include going to the lake, swimming and jet skiing.

29Gigi Marvin – Warroad, MN; Ice Hockey

Marvin, 30, will mark her third Olympic experience this year; she won silver in both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games. She won gold at the World Champions in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2017, and silver in 2007 and 2012. She has played two seasons with the Boston Pride, two with the Boston Blades and one with the Minnesota Whitecaps.

30Sidney Morin – Minnetonka, MN; Ice Hockey

Morin, 22, captured three consecutive state titles with Minnetonka High School, and was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Year at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She had eight goals and 16 assists that year. She is on the MODO Hockey Team, and also enjoys skiing and wake surfing.

31Kelly Pannek – Plymouth, MN; Ice Hockey

Pannek, 26, led the nation with 62 points and 43 assists for the University of Minnesota last season, and also helped them to two NCAA national champions. At the 2017 World Championships, Pannek took home the gold medal.

32Alex Rigsby – Delafiled, WI; Ice Hockey

Rigsby, 26, is a four-time gold medalist at the World Champions, winning in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. She was the first goalie to be named captain of Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team, and helped them to NCAA Division 1 title in 2010. She was also the first female to be drafted into the USHL. Her hobbies include fishing, golfing, tennis, and reading.

33Maddie Rooney – Andover, MN; Ice Hockey

Rooney, 20, won the gold at the 2017 World Championships. She also earned a shutout in her National Team debut against Russia at the 2017 IHFF Women’s World Championships. She played hockey on the boys varsity team in high school. Rooney’s hobbies include hiking, crafting and reading.

34Jim Slater – Lapeer, MI; Ice Hockey

Slater, 38, took seventh in both the 2006 and 2012 World Championships.  He became the first player at Michigan State University to record 40 or more points in three straight seasons in 1999, and was drafted 30th overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2002. He enjoys traveling, fishing, golfing and trying new food.

35Lee Stecklein – Roseville, MN; Ice Hockey

Stecklein, 23, won a silver medal in the 2014 Olympics, and recently won gold at the 2017 World Championship. She also won gold in 2013, 2015 and 2016. She was named First Team All-American and All-WCHA First Team in her senior season on the Golden Gophers.

36Ryan Stoa – Bloomington, MN; Ice Hockey

Stoa, 30, is on the Spartak Moscow team in Minnesota. He was named team captain in his senior season at the University of Minnesota and is tied for highest scoring rookie in the AHL. In 2005, he was drafted 34th overall by the NHL the Colorado Avalanche. He enjoys fishing and hunting in his free time.

37James Wisniewski – Canton, MI; Ice Hockey

Wisniewski, 33, won 6th in the 2008 World Championships, and was drafted fifth by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2002 NHL draft. In 2009-10, he scored a career-high 30 points in 69 games for the Anaheim Ducks. He loves to golf and is a strong advocate for animal rights.

38Shani Davis – Chicago, IL; Long Track Speedskating

Davis, 35, has been in three previous Winter Olympics; in 2006 and 2010, he took gold in men’s 1000m and silver in 1500m. He is also a four-time 1000m World Champion and three-time 1500m World Champion. In 2009, Davis was named World Sprint Champion. In the 2016-2017 season, he became all-time leader in World Cup points.

39Brian Hansen – Glenview, IL; Long Track Speedskating

Hansen, 27, competed in both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, and qualified for 2018 by finishing second in the 1500m and Mass Start. He is a nine-time World Cup individual medalist, and a four-time World Cup Team Pursuit medalist.

40Emery Lehman – Oak Park, IL; Long Track Speedskating

Lehman, 21, competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, and qualified for 2018 by winning the 5000m. He also will be a Team Pursuit specialist this year. In 2014, he won the 10k at thee Olympic Trials, and is currently an assistant coach at West Allis Speed Skating Club.

41Mitch Whoitmore – Waukesha, WI; Long Track Speedskating

Whitmore, 28, competed in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and won the 500m and took third in the 1000m to qualify for 2018. He started skating when he was 9, and has placed in seven World Champions. In his free time, he plays video games.

42Lana Gehring – Glenview, IL; Short Track Speedskating

Gehring, 27, was the 3000m relay bronze medalist in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. This year, she won the women’s 1000m and 1500m at the Olympic Team Trials. She has a long list of wins and medals, dating back to the 2005-06 World Junior Short Track Championships.

43Jessica Kooreman – Melvindale, MI; Short Track Speedskating

Kooreman, 34, took fourth and sixth in the 100m and 1500m, respectively, in the 2014 Winter Games. At the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, she finished third overall for the women. She started rollerskating at the age of one, and also took ballet lessons. She works in real estate and is married to former speed skater Michael Kooreman.

44Ryan Pivirotto – Ann Arbor, MI; Short Track Speedskating 

Pivirotto, 22, finished fifth overall at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and raced in the 2014 Olympic Team Trials as well. He made the 2013-2014 Junior World Team, and was on the 2016-2017 Short Track Fall World Cup Team. Pivirotto also competed in the 2017-18 Short Track World Cups on a team and individually.

45Matt Antoine – Prairie du Chien, WI; Skeleton

Antoine, 32, took bronze in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. In fact, the 2002 Winter Olympics inspired him to start the sport, and joined in 2003. He attended California State University of Pennsylvania for Sports Management, and enjoys fishing and camping.

46Michael Glasder – Cary, IL; Ski Jumping

Glasder, 28, is part of the Norge Ski Club and went to DeVry University. He began jumping at 5, and his best finish was at the 2017 World Championships where he placed eighth on the large hill. He enjoys boating and rock concerts.

Previous articleCrossing Borders and Finish Lines
Next articleHow to Find the Right Running Shoe
Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run many distance races, and is going for her first marathon at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon this October. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism, and is working towards her Master in Arts in New Media and Marketing.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here