COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Nine Soldiers in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program are members of the U.S. Olympic Team competing at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
The soldier-athletes named to Team USA are 2010 Olympic gold medalist in four-man bobsled Sgt. Justin Olsen, 26, of San Antonio; 2010 Olympic bobsledder Capt. Christopher Fogt, 30, of Alpine, Utah; 2010 Olympic bobsledder Sgt. Nick Cunningham, 27, of Monterey, Calif.; bobsledder Sgt. Dallas Robinson, 31, of Georgetown, Ky.; 2006 Olympic luger Sgt. Preston Griffall, 29, of Salt Lake City; and luger Sgt. Matt Mortensen, 28, of Huntington Station, N.Y.
Three WCAP coaches also will represent the U.S. Army in Russia. Team USA luge coach Staff Sgt. Bill Tavares, 50, of Lake Placid, N.Y., will be making his sixth appearance in the Olympics, including once as an athlete and five times as a coach. Team USA skeleton coach Sgt. 1st Class Tuffield “Tuffy” Latour, 45, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., will make his fourth trip to the Olympics. He has coached U.S. and Canadian men’s and women’s bobsledders to Olympic medals. Team USA assistant bobsled coach 1st Lt. Michael Kohn, 41, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., is a two-time Olympic competitor who will make his Olympic coaching debut at the Sochi Games. He won a bronze medal in four-man bobsled as a WCAP athlete at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
USA-1 bobsled driver Steven Holcomb, 33, of Park City, Utah, is the reigning Olympic champion in the four-man event. He spent seven years in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.
The 230-member team is comprised of 105 women and 125 men – the largest athlete delegation for any nation in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. The United States will be represented in all 15 disciplines across seven sports, and up to 94 of the 98 medal events that will be contested in Sochi.
“We are thrilled to announce the 230 athletes who will represent Team USA in Sochi,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “This is the largest team we have ever sent to an Olympic Winter Games, and I’d like to commend all of those who helped support our athletes in the pursuit of their Olympic dreams.
“Most of all,” he continued, “this is a time to celebrate our athletes, who have made countless sacrifices and dedicated themselves to being their best, both on and off the ice and snow. I am very excited to watch them compete as they represent our nation with excellence and distinction on the world stage.”
The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team features 106 returning Olympians – including one five-time Olympian, two four-time Olympians, 10 three-time Olympians and 23 two-time Olympians. Returning from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where the U.S. finished first in the overall medal count with 37 medals, are 99 U.S. Olympians. Overall, among the veterans are 49 Olympic medalists, 13 of whom are Olympic champions.
Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick becomes the first American to compete at six Olympic Winter Games. The two U.S. Olympians headed to their fifth Olympic Games are Billy Demong (Nordic combined) and Bode Miller (alpine skiing). Only four other athletes in U.S. Olympic history, including Lodwick, have competed in five or more Olympic Winter Games.
Additionally, women’s bobsled push athletes Lolo Jones – a two-time Olympic hurdler – and Lauryn Williams – a three-time Olympic sprinter – become the ninth and 10th Americans to compete at both the winter and summer editions of the Olympic Games.
Highlighting this list of accomplished U.S. men’s athletes are Miller and long track speedskater Shani Davis. A five-time Olympic medalist, Miller needs three medals to match U.S. short track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno as the most decorated U.S. Olympian in history on the winter side.
Davis is making his fourth Olympic appearance after winning consecutive Olympic gold and silver medals in the 1,000- and 1,500-meter events in 2006 and 2010. Both Davis and snowboarder Shaun White will have the opportunity to become the first American man to win three gold medals in the same event at consecutive Olympic Winter Games.
Headlining the list of U.S. women’s athletes are three-time Olympic medalists Julie Chu (ice hockey) and Julia Mancuso (alpine skiing). Mancuso already is the most decorated U.S. Olympic female alpine skier, with one gold medal and two silver medals, while Chu is looking to help Team USA reclaim the top podium spot for the first time since women’s ice hockey debuted at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
“This distinguished group of athletes represents the largest delegation in the history of the Olympic Winter Games, which is a true testament to the growing number of winter sport opportunities across the United States,” said Alan Ashley, chief of the U.S. mission and USOC’s chief of sport performance. “With 106 returning Olympians, this year’s team is an exceptional blend of youth and experience, and represents the finest our nation has to offer. During the Games, we will continue to support our athletes, coaches and National Governing Bodies in every way possible to succeed.”
The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team roster may still be adjusted due to injury, illness or exceptional circumstances up to the technical meetings for each sport.
PHOTO (click to enlarge): U.S. Army bobsledder Sgt. Dallas Robinson, center with arms upraised, and teammate U.S. Army Capt. Chris Fogt, at Robinson’s right with arms upraised, march into Fisht Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Olympic Park in Sochi, Russia, February 7, 2014. Robinson, a Kentucky National Guardsman, and Fogt are assigned to the Army’s World Class Athlete program. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps