Meet the 2022 Olympic athletes who have ties to Wisconsin
Wisconsin will once again have a say in a Winter Olympics, with a usual array of representation in speedskating, women's hockey ... and don't forget curling!
Here's a look at those taking part.
More: These Summer Olympic athletes in 2021 have ties to Wisconsin
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Deedra Irwin, 29, Pulaski. Now based in Vermont, Irwin first took up Nordic skiing in Ashwaubenon and just picked up the rifle part of the discipline four years ago. She'll compete in a minimum of three events in Beijing.
Still no @Instagram so now I must figure out how to share funny things on the Tweeter 🐦 Just exploring the #olympicvillage with @JFiresteel #beijing2022 pic.twitter.com/DRBcKhsur1
— Deedra Irwin (@deedrablu) February 2, 2022
Joanne Reed, 29, born in Madison. She grew up in California and now lives in Colorado, but she's part of a celebrated Wisconsin Olympic family. Now a two-time Olympian, Reed is the daughter of Beth Heiden Reed, a former Olympic speedskater and bronze medalist in 1980. Beth is the sister of legendary speedskater Eric Heiden, who won five gold medals in the 1980 Olympics. Reed and Irwin are two of four American women biathletes in Beijng.
Paul Schommer, 29, Kimberly. The Appleton native who now resides in North Dakota has overcome an eating disorder to live out an Olympic dream. He'll compete in at least three races in Beijing — the 10K sprint, the 20K individual and a relay race.
Kevin Bolger, 28, Minocqua. He'll be making his Olympic debut and has been training in Europe for the occasion. He won his first U.S. championship in 2017.
Luke Jager, 22, family roots in Wisconsin. Jager was born in California and lives in Alaska, but his parents, Jim and Amy (Johns) lived in the area and were members of the area cross-country running community after running at Whitnall High School in Hales Corners. Amy ran at Wisconsin, and Jim co-founded the annual Firecracker Four (four-mile) race in Hales Corners in 1979. Members of Luke's extended family live in Pewaukee.
Becca Hamilton, 31, McFarland. Also a 2018 Olympian and U.S. national champion, Hamilton served as Lead on a team that finished 4-5 in the last Olympics' round-robin play. She and her brother also competed in mixed doubles at the 2018 Olympics but fell short of the playoffs.
Matt Hamilton, 32, McFarland. The mustachioed Madisonian was part of a shocking gold-medal winning USA crew in 2018, and Team Shuster will be the underdog again as it looks to repeat. His sister, Becca Hamilton, is on the women's team.
Nina Roth, 33, McFarland. Roth was skipper for the United States team in the 2018 Olympics, competing then with her fellow McFarland native Hamilton. The U.S. finished 4-5 in round-robin play and missed the playoffs. They'll both stick to just team play this year. Roth also happens to be a full-time nurse.
John Shuster, 39, Superior. The Minnesota native who now lives in Superior has been selected as a flag bearer for the United States and will appear in his fifth Winter Olympics. He was skip of the 2018 team that won the first U.S. gold medal in Olympic curling and also took bronze in 2006. He has seven gold medals in U.S. men's championships play alone.
Hockey (United States)
The reigning gold medalists will get a chance to add to their mantel, and Wisconsin will play a big part.
Alex Cavallini, 30, Delafield and University of Wisconsin. The Arrowhead High School alumna (née Rigsby) was a backup goalie on the 2018 gold medalist, but she was in net to lead Team USA to a wild world championship triumph in 2019 and she's the all-time winningest goalkeeper in UW history. She was goalie for the Badgers' 2011 national championship team.
Brianna Decker, 30, Dousman and University of Wisconsin. It'll be Decker's third Olympic Games as she looks to add to her collection of medals (already with a gold and silver). She won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for the best player in college women's hockey in 2012. She was injured in the Olympic opener Thursday and appears to be out for the rest of the tournament.
Caroline Harvey, 19, University of Wisconsin. Harvey committed to play at UW but deferred a season after joining Team USA. The New Hampshire native will be playing in her first Olympics.
Amanda Kessel, 30, Madison. Part of the highly decorated Kessel hockey family, Amanda is headed to her third Olympics. She's won three NCAA national titles at Minnesota and earned the Patty Kazmaier Award for the nation's best women's hockey player in 2013. Her brother, Phil, plays in the NHL for Arizona and also has appeared in two Olympics.
Hilary Knight, 32, University of Wisconsin. The 32-year-old from Illinois is a legend in the sport, competing in her fourth Olympics (tied for most of any women's hockey player). She led UW to national championships in 2009 and 2011 and remains the program's all-time leader in goals.
Abby Roque, 24, University of Wisconsin. She was part of the 2019 NCAA title for the Badgers and was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award as a senior in 2020, a season truncated by COVID-19. The Michigan native is set to become the first Indigenous woman to play for the U.S. women's hockey team in the Olympics.
Notable: University of Wisconsin equipment managers Sis Paulsen (women's team) and Nate LaPoint (men's team), both from Eau Claire, will serve in those capacities for the respective hockey teams.
Kristen Campbell, 24, University of Wisconsin. A goalie, she played for the Badgers from 2017-20 (after transferring from North Dakota, which dropped its program) and is making her first Olympics trip. She was in net for the 2019 national championship
Emily Clark, 26, University of Wisconsin. She was part of the Badgers' 2019 NCAA title team and a silver medalist at the 2018 Olympics.
Ann-Renée Desbiens, 27, University of Wisconsin. The goalie was the Patty Kazmaier Award winner in 2017 and led the Badgers to four Frozen Fours. Along the way, she broke the NCAA record for shutouts and won a silver medal in 2018.
Sarah Nurse, 27, University of Wisconsin. She played with the Badgers from 2013-17. In 2018, she scored what turned out to be the winning goal for Canada in her team's 2-1 win over the United States in pool play; the U.S. eventually won the gold medal over Canada in a shootout later in the tournament.
Ben Street, 34, University of Wisconsin. The former Badgers captain won an NCAA championship with the 2006 team and played for UW from 2005-10. He's appeared in 59 career NHL games, most recently in 2020 with the New Jersey Devils.
Blayre Turnbull, 28, University of Wisconsin. She played for Wisconsin from 2011-15 and is bouncing back from a scary 2021 injury in which she broke her fibula celebrating the IIHF Women's World Championship victory. She received her gold medal with a smile on her face, on a stretcher. In the 2022 Olympics opener against Switzerland, she scored twice with two assists in a 12-1 blowout.
Blayre Turnbull got injured in the celebrations, but she made it back out for her gold medal... in a stretcher! 😳😅 #WomensWorlds pic.twitter.com/JUAZUvGiVp
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) September 1, 2021
Notable: Jake Chelios, the son of NHL Hall of Famer and University of Wisconsin star Chris Chelios, is also playing hockey at the Olympics ... for the host country, China.
Ben Loomis, 23, Eau Claire. This is a sport that combines endurance (cross-county skiing) with flash (ski jumping). Loomis moved to Utah as a teenager, but he learned the ski-jumping craft at Flying Eagles Ski Club in Eau Claire, and he competed in the 2018 Games. Loomis joined the U.S. Army in 2019.
Anna Hoffmann, 21, Madison. She was a late addition to the Olympic field because it wasn't clear if the U.S. would get a "quota" spot on the women's side (athletes are required to accumulate a certain number of points in international competitions, and the USA team members hadn't hit the mark). But it came through for Hoffman, who won the U.S. Olympic Ski Jumping Trials in January, and she will appear in her first Olympics. She's come up through the ranks at Blackhawk Ski Club in Middleton. She's the only U.S. woman competing in this Olympics in the sport.
Courtney Rummel, 18, West Bend. She'll be competing in slopestyle and big air competitions not long after graduating from West Bend West. Those who aren't familiar with the discipline will fall in love with the slopestyle event, which is essentially a downhill obstacle course.
More: Olympic snowboarder from West Bend ready to tackle manmade course where 'it's no different than the snow back in Wisconsin'
Emery Lehman, 25, Marquette University. The Oak Park, Illinois, native will compete in the 1,500 meters and team pursuit event after competing in the two previous Olympics in Pyeongchang and Sochi. He graduated from MU in 2020 with a degree in civil engineering.
Jordan Stolz, 17, Kewaskum. A speedskating prodigy who might be the next big thing out of the state, Stolz won the Olympic trials at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee in both the 500 and 1,000 meters. He started in the sport when his father cleared a path on a frozen pond near their home.
More: Dan Jansen, 56, can still fit into the Olympic skinsuit he won a gold medal in at Lillehammer
Ethan Cepuran, 21, Glen Ellyn, Ill. OK, he's not technically a Wisconsinite, but he did grow up with his family skating at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, with stories of the building that date to his earliest memories. He'll compete in the 5,000 meters and team pursuit.
Did we miss anyone? JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: These 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics athletes have Wisconsin connections