MARQUETTE— Many of the most recognizable faces of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, which kick off tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 12, got their start in Marquette at the United States Olympic Education Center.
Nine former USOEC resident athletes will compete at the Games as well as two former Northern Michigan University students. Additionally athletes in long-track speedskating and cross-country skiing will be coached by former USOEC residents and NMU students Ryan Shimabukuro and Pete Vordenberg while Paralympic athletes will be cared for by former USOEC athletic trainer Peter Toohey. Former head USOEC speedskating coach Jimmy Jang will also help lead the short track speedskating team into Vancouver.
Former residents competing at the Games include short track speedskaters Allison Baver, Kimberly Derrick, Katherine Reutter, Simon Cho and Travis Jayner; long track speedskaters Shani Davis and Ryan Bedford. NMU students Nick Baumgartner and Caitlin Compton will compete in snowboard cross and cross country skiing respectively. An additional eleven short term USOEC athletes will compete at the Games.
The USOEC’s ties to the Games do not end with resident athletes however. More than 100 athletes from 22 countries who competed in the 2009 World Cup hosted by the USOEC will attend the Vancouver Games.
“These athletes have accomplished so much to get to this point,” said USOEC director Jeff Kleinschmidt. “We’re extremely proud of them and it’s an honor to know the USOEC helped them get this far in their athletic career. We wish them all the best of luck.”
The USOEC boasts more than 70 Olympic medalists in its 25 year history.
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