In addition to living in one of the most gorgeous states in the nation, we Coloradans have something else to take pride in this winter.
The 2018 Winter Olympics began on February 9 in PyeongChang, and Colorado boasts the most Olympians competing this year. 31 of the 242 Team USA athletes call Colorado their home.
The most famous being four-time Olympian Lindsey Vonn, but there are a number of new athletes even closer to home. In fact, two of them live right here in Boulder, and five are from the University of Boulder (see list of CU-Boulder’s winter Olympians).
Casey Andringa (Freestyle Skiing) and Joanne Reid (Biathlon) — both born in Wisconsin interestingly enough — hope to make Boulder proud this year.
Just 22 years old, Andringa is competing on a world stage for the second time. He won third place in 2015 at the Junior World Championships in dual moguls, and has dreamed of representing his country on a stage as large as the Olympics since childhood. When he isn’t training with the Vail Ski Club, Andringa sings in a local band called Salty, dabbles in photography, and enjoys climbing and surfing.
In case you are wondering (like me) what the biathlon is, let me tell you. Descended from 18th century Scandinavia, biathlon athletes must race around a closed course on skis with .22 caliber rifles strapped to their backs. They then stop at designated spots to shoot at a target, and are penalized for each target they miss.
Pretty awesome if you ask me.
In 2017, Reid graduated with an engineering degree from CU-Boulder and competed at the World Championships in Austria where she placed in the top 50 in three of her four events.
“The American West,” Reid said, when asked her favorite place in the world. “From the Rockies to the Pacific, the Sonoran Desert to Cascadia, the west is as diverse as it is beautiful.” (via her Team USA bio).
Born to explore, Reid says she often leaves her house with a bike, car keys and no plans of where to sleep, and ends up a few states over. She loves Colorado craft beer, the Seattle Seahawks and cactuses.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of our Colorado athletes will compete on skis or snowboards (we do have some of the best skiing here), but there are a couple who will compete on skates.
Nicole Hensley, a Colorado native from Littleton, will represent Team USA as a goalie for the women’s ice hockey team. Hensley has competed at the World Championships two years in a row, and come home with a gold medal both times. Unfortunately, Team USA hasn’t won an Olympic gold since 1998, but took second-place silver in 2002, 2010 and 2014.
They open the competition against Finland on February 11. They will have to dominate powerhouses Canada and Russia as well if they hope to take home another gold, 20 years later.
Another Colorado native, Troy Terry of Highlands Ranch will rep Team USA as a forward on the ice rink. Not even old enough to drink a celebratory beer, Terry has already won a gold medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships, a Division I title with Denver University and a gold medal at the IIHF Men’s Under-18 World Championships in 2015.
Terry was drafted to the NHL in 2015 by the Anaheim Ducks after his freshman season at DU. In his last full season with the Denver Pioneers, Terry scored 22 goals, and 24 assists across 35 games.
Here’s to hoping he brings some of that to the USA’s opening game against Slovenia on Valentine’s Day.
Good luck to all the Olympians, and go Team USA!