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Quinn: Illinois has eleven athletes at Winter Olympics

Friday, Feb 7, 2014

* From a Gov. Pat Quinn press release…

There are 10 Blackhawks hitting the ice in Sochi, playing for five different nations, including Patrick Kane on Team USA. Kane was part of the silver medal-winning 2010 Team USA. Blackhawks fans can also watch Jonathan Towes, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp on Team Canada; Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Johnny Oduya on Team Sweden; Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus on Team Slovakia; and Michael Rozsival on Team Czech Republic. Toews, Keith, Oduya, Kane, Hossa, and Handzus have played in previous Olympic Games for their respective countries.

Eleven Illinois athletes are in Sochi as part of the U.S. Olympic Team. Illinois’ Team USA athletes include both past Olympic medalists and those competing at the Olympics for the first time. The Illinois Olympic athletes are:

    Megan Bozek, hockey, age 22 (Buffalo Grove): Megan attended the University of Minnesota. She is a member of the U.S. women’s national ice hockey team. This is her first Olympics.

    Jason Brown, figure skating, age 19 (Highland Park): Jason is a student at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He has won medals in both national and world championships. This is his first Olympics.

    Kendall Coyne, hockey, age 21 (Palos Heights): Kendall attends Northeastern University in Boston. She is a member of the U.S. women’s national ice hockey team. This is her first Olympics.

    Shani Davis, speed skating, age 31 (Chicago): Raised on Chicago’s south side, this will be Shani’s third Olympic Games. He is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist (2006, 2010) as well as a two time Olympic Silver Medalist (2006, 2010).

    Aja Evans, bobsled, age 25 (Chicago): Aja competed in track and field as a college athlete at the University of Illinois. She is part of an athletic family which includes her father, the first black national collegiate champion in swimming; her brother, a Minnesota Vikings player; and her uncle, former Cubs star Gary Matthews. This is her first Olympics.

    Gracie Gold, figure skating, age 18 (Chatham): Gracie is the 2014 U.S. national champion. She has a fraternal twin sister who is also a competitive figure skater. This is her first Olympics.

    Brian Hansen, speed skating, age 23 (Glenview): Brian won a silver medal as part of the team pursuit at his first Olympic games in 2010. He currently attends Marquette University.

    Jonathan Kuck, speed skating, age 23 (Champaign): Jonathan is a physics major at the University of Illinois. He won his first silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2010 Olympic Games.

    Emery Lehman, speed skating, age 17 (Oak Park): Emery is a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. He took up speed skating at age nine in an effort to improve his ice hockey skills. This is his first Olympics.

    Patrick Meek, speed skating, age 28 (Northbrook): Patrick is an alumnus of the University of Utah. He comes from a family of avid speed skaters which includes his sister, father and grandfather. Meek participated in the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Trials and qualified for his first Olympics this past December. This is his first Olympics.

    Ann Swisshelm, curling, 45 (Chicago): Ann competed at her first Olympic Games in 2002 and is a national and world curling champion. Ann began curling at age 10 and is a graduate of Drake University.

Eleven seems kinda light to me.

Learn more here.

…Adding… The Senate Democrats have more here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    That is 11 out of 230, nearly 5% of the delegation, and Illinois is not a “winter” state, like a Colorado, or a Vermont …

    Not too shabby.

  2. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    I should have gotten into curling. Ann is going strong at 45. Pretty cool

  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    Good point, OW. Thanks!

  4. - Anon - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    –Eleven seems kinda light to me.


  5. - CicrcularFiringSquad - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    “Pretty lite…”
    Must be why the Tribbies sent Kass to help bulk up IL
    (Could not pass up that softball)

  6. - Aldyth - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Best of luck to all of them and safe sojourn to everyone who is at the Olympics.

  7. - OneMan - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    PJW –

    The ‘challenge’ with Illinois and curling is besides the relatively short season I don’t think any of the clubs in Illinois really have a youth program anymore. My son who is 12 and has curled once would likely be one of the top 20 youth curlers in the state (sadly)

    If we got a couple more clubs with dedicated ice in the Chicago area we would definitely do better down the road with curlers in Illinois.

    Also Ann is lead on the US team (that means she throws the first two stones for the team) so she has to do a lot of sweeping (much harder than it looks) also has to play a finesse game.

    Finally if anyone wants to start on the road to being Illinois next Olympic curler my club is having an open house…

    We have curlers from Chicagoland (the western suburbs and south), Bloomington, Peoria and all over….

  8. - OTC - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Illinois is about 4.1% of the national population. Illinois natives represent 4.4% of the 2014 Winter Olympic team so a little above what would be expected.

  9. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    Go Emery! Teach those Russkies how to Huskie!

  10. - corvax - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Plus we have no mountains–look at the list:one sled, no skiers. I agree, not too shabby

  11. - wayward - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Illinois has some good speed skating programs in the Chicago and Champaign areas.

  12. - corvax - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    OW–Illinois is not a winter state?!? Been outside?

  13. - ZC - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Jason Brown could be a future nationally known star. Youtube his performance at the US qualifier earlier this 2014. His long program was the standout of the night.

    I don’t think he can medal at Sochi because he doesn’t have a quadruple axel; he’d probably need to skate flawlessly and hope the other skaters ahead of him fall down. But he’s only 19. I think he’s kind of in “farm team” role at Sochi, but he is seriously talented and a great showman.

  14. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    Two Stanley Cups as captain, but no one in Quinn’s office can spell Toews correctly? Too bad.

    @OneMan -

    Thanks for the info. I randomly got really into watching curling during the 2010 games and thought about seeking out a chance to try it myself, but never did. Maybe I will after this games.

    To the post, given our total lack of mountains, I don’t think our numbers are that bad. If we were concerned about boosting our winter olympics participation numbers though, I think one area that could be improved is the ice hockey teams. It is too bad there are zero Division 1 NCAA hockey teams in this state.

  15. - VanillaMan - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    We are not a winter state?

    I’d say we’re more wintery than freaking Sochi!

    What are we waiting for?
    Grab some skates, a mask, a cup and some ice and get over there to show Vladimir where Illinois is!

  16. - FormerParatrooper - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    Best of luck to them all.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:09 pm:


    Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Vermont, New Hampshire, Utah…

    Winter sport states, more than Illinois?

    I will take 5% of the delegation from the “Prairie State”

    Hello - VanillaMan -, great to see you back.

  18. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    As far as representation, c’mon man, the best speed skater in the world is a black dude from the South Side.

    What could be more surprising? A black dude from the South Side as president?

  19. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    - OneMan -,

    I wave every so often out the window, thinking you are on your way to Yorkville, but you fail to wave back. Make sure you beep on 71 so I know you are coming. Thanks.

  20. - Upon Further Review - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Shani Davis left Evanston???

  21. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    ===Plus we have no mountains–look at the list:one sled, no skiers. I agree, not too shabby===

    ===OW–Illinois is not a winter state?!? Been outside? ===

    - corvax -, did you get run over by a bobsled?

    Pick a lane! lol

  22. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    UFR, Shani, according to Shani.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Look, - OTC -,

    I thought there would be NO math…

    11 divided by 230 equals .047, not .044…

    I rounded up to 5%.

    I showed my work, and even answered the word problem in the form of a sentence. K?

  24. - Mokenavince - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    For a State with MT. Thashmore as one of our highest peaks, I think were doing great.

    God bless them all.

  25. - VanillaMan - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    Illinois is a winter sport state!

    Millions speed skate on the Dan Ryan.
    We just got our state asset froze.
    We have a governor who played Olaf in “Frozen”.
    And what about the Blackhawks?

    Another Illinois winter sport plus - our biathletes use real ammo.

  26. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    Brownie is the voice of Chicago, and he went yard yesterday bursting with pride for the OPRF neighbor kid down the street.

    He’s in high school. He’s in the Olympics.

    For those of you keeping score at home, here’s the last OPRF student in the Olympics: Ellis Coleman, aka The Flying Squirrel, on his way to London:

  27. - enoughalready - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    If Fleecing the Public was an Olympic event, Illinois would own the gold, silver and bronze.

  28. - And I Approved This Message - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    Corvax, what do you mean “we have no mountains?” I saw a bunch of them in Bruce Rauner’s announcement video.

  29. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    Illinois, or at least Chicago, might have more athletes if the IOC had followed Mike Royko’s advice years ago for events like Marathon Subzero Bus Stop Waiting

  30. - Friday - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    I think we are actually decently represented in two areas, skating (especially)/hockey - but overall the number is low because the majority of the sport disciplines(ski, sled, luge, snowboarding) don’t really have any developmental base here. What Illinois does have however, are lots and lots of ice rinks - and I think our numbers in these two areas reflect that.

  31. - Just Observing - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    Northbrook is considered (or at least self-proclaimed) the speed skating capital of the world. “For more than 40 years, the Village of Northbrook had a speed skater in every Winter Olympics (from 1952 through 1995). Northbrook became known as the Speed Skating Capital of the world after two skaters who trained here won gold medals in the 1972 Winter Olympics.” Not sure about 1995-2010… but 2014 has a speed skater from Northbrook.

  32. - Amalia - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    good luck one and all. have a great time!

  33. - Been There - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    The Trib has a good breakdown today where the athletes are from. And just being a cold weather state doesn’t look like you automatically get representation. Indiana and Iowa only have one each. Heck, South Dakota has none. Understandably a bunch of southern states have none also. But Minnesota (19) having almost as many as California (20) surprised me. And it definitely helps to have more than a hill bigger than Wilmot close by.

  34. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    - Been There -,

    That is why I said “Winter” state.

    Iowa and Indiana are not what you would consider “Winter” states, I mean, Utah on theie licence plates say “Ski Utah”.

    Northern California is huge with “X Games” types, and you can’t throw a rock in Minnesota withouth hitting an ice rink.

    “Winter” states are probably well represented, and cold weather states are just that, cold weather states.

  35. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    What about The Hawks? we are sending 11!!

  36. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    ll is pretty decent representation from the Land of Lincoln, I think. And it is really cool that 10 Stanley Cup (World) Champion Blackhawks will be there–even if they’re not ALL, obviously, even most of them, playing for the good ‘ol U.S. of A.!!!

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