Meet Texans Competing In The Winter Olympics
Despite last week's snow and cold, Texas isn't a winter wonderland. We aren't known for snowboarding or skiing or the luge.
But there are Texans – or folks with Texan ties -- competing in Sochi, Russia, in the Winter Olympics, which is underway. Here’s a guide.
Meet the Texans
These four Texans are listed on the Team USA’s official Olympic guide
The sport: speedskating – short track
The town: Denton
The details: Malone competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics, where he earned a bronze medal in the 5000-meter men’s relay. He began inline speedskating in 1990, when he was 5. He participated in his first international race in 1995. In 2003, he was crowned the fastest man in the world, winning the Senior World Championships. He started short-track speedskating in 2004. He says he’s traveled to 158 cities in 22 countries on four continents. Learn more about Malone.
The sport: bobsled
The town: McKinney
The details: Quinn is a former professional football wide receiver, playing for the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. He was a two-sport athlete – football and track -- at the University of North Texas. He became the school’s all-time leading receiver. In 2011, he was inducted into the University of North Texas Hall of Fame. “Despite the injuries and releases, the opportunities and experiences Quinn has had during his football career changed his life for the better and paved the way for new roads to be explored in the sport of bobsled,” his website states. He sent film of him to Olympic bobsled athlete Chuck Berkeley, who passed it along. He was accepted.
The sport: Speedskating – long track
The town: Houston
The details: The Houston Chronicle reports: “Garcia was a former inline skating champion who made the switch from wheels to ice. He had middling results as a short-track skater before switching to the 400-meter oval in October 2012 and making U.S. Speedskating's World Cup teams the next two seasons. He peaked at the right time, skating a career best at 500 meters to win a spot on the Olympic team in December, but was disqualified for failing to wear the required electronic-timing transponders. A day later, with transponders in place, he rallied at 1,000 meters with another personal best to make the team in fact as well as in mind.”
The sport: bobsled
The town: San Antonio
The details: Olsen was a football player in high school and in the Air Force. According to his bio on NBC’s Olympics page: “Olsen credits his bobsled start to his mom, Kim, who encouraged her son to test the sport in 2007 after hearing about tryouts on the radio. Olsen says the adrenaline fix kept him going, once attending a series of bobsled camps. He recalls his first trip down the track as ‘great,’ but the ‘second trip down was amazing.’”
Others with Texas connections
Katie Uhlaender is on the skeleton team. She lives in Kansas, but is from McGregor, Texas. Uhlaender suffered a concussion while sledding in New York – she underwent rehabilitation and treatment at the Carrick Brain Center in Irving. KXAS (Channel 5) profiled her as she underwent treatment.
Dallas Stars on the ice
Several Dallas Stars team members are competing in Sochi -- but not on the U.S. team.
Jamie Benn is playing for Canada.
Kari Lehtonen is playing for Finland.
Valeri Nichushkin is playing for Russia.
Lindy Ruff, the Stars coach, is an associate coach for Canada’s team.
In January, Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites talked with KERA about his team – and NHL players participating in the Winter Olympics: "I'm not a big fan. I understand why it's important to the players, because they love to play for their countries in these kinds of exhibitions and it's a big deal. Selfishly, however, I think that it's not a good message to our fans to stop play in the middle of the season, to have a tournament that doesn't benefit the NHL or our players. Quite frankly, we take all the risk of injury associated with losing the players, and the Olympics have always been, for me at least, an exciting time for amateurs to play."