Illinois Sends Eleven To Sochi
Eleven Illinois athletes are in Sochi as part of the U.S. Olympic Team. According to a state website, 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.
There are also 10 Blackhawks hitting the ice in Sochi, playing for five different nations.