The 2014 Olympic games are just around the corner and nowhere are people more excited than in Utah. Utah’s winter conditions provide the perfect training grounds for a variety of Olympic sports. After the 2002 Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, most of the venues were left for the use of training America’s athletes with dreams of their own medals one day. The US Ski Team even calls Utah home, with headquarters and training facilities based in the Park City area.
Nowadays athletes seem to be going professional younger every year, but thanks to some creative planning, they don’t have to sacrifice their dreams outside of the Olympic stage. Westminster College, Utah’s only private liberal arts school, has made this possible thanks to a continued partnership with the USSA (U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association) which has provided scholarships for top athletes to fulfill higher education. Student athletes can be engaged in the classroom and also take advantage of the training facilities located in nearby Park City, such as the Center for Excellence and the Olympic Park. Since the start of this program in 2005, over 100 US athletes have exceled in more than 50 undergrad and graduate degree programs.
2014 Westminster athletes headed to Russia:
· Maddie Bowman (Halfpipe) Sophomore, Undeclared
· Joss Christensen (Ski Slopestyle) Freshman, Undeclared
· Alex Deibold (Snowboardcross), Freshman, Undeclared
· Jessie Diggins (Cross Country) Sophomore, Undeclared
· Bryan Fletcher (Nordic Combined) Freshman, Undeclared
· Taylor Fletcher (Nordic Combined) Freshman, Business
· Julia Ford (Alpine), Freshman, Undeclared
· Travis Ganong (Alpine) Freshman, Undeclared
· Jared Goldberg (Alpine) Freshman, Undeclared
· Faye Gulini (Snowboardcross) Sophomore, Undeclared
· Jackie Hernandez (Snowboardcross) Freshman, Undeclared
· Lindsey Jacobellis (Snowboardcross) Freshman, Undeclared
· Jessika Jensen (Snowboard Slopestyle) Freshman, Undeclared
· Jessica Jerome (Ski Jumping) Junior, Economics
· Torin Koos (Cross Country) Master of Professional Communication
· Devin Logan (Ski Slopestyle) Freshman, Undeclared
· Megan McJames (Alpine) Sophomore, Undeclared
· Heather McPhie (Moguls) Junior, Psychology
· Eliza Outtrim (Moguls) Freshman, Undeclared
· Brita Sigourney (Halfpipe) Junior, Business
· Leanne Smith (Alpine) Freshman, History
· Marco Sullivan (Alpine) Freshman, Undeclared
· Jacqueline Wiles (Alpine) Freshman, Undeclared
Park City local Joss Christensen looks to make his Olympic debut on the slopestyle stage and add another medal to his already impressive resume. When he’s not on the slopes, find him hitting the books at Westminster and staying active on the bike trails. After finishing 5th overall in the AFP World Ranking, we can’t wait to see what he lays down in Sochi.
Faye Gulini, another Utah native from Salt Lake City hopes to achieve Olympic dreams of her own. After debuting in Snowboardcross in the 2010 Vancouver games, Faye is ready for a break through performance that will land her on the podium.
Find more information on current USA athletes courtesy of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association and Westminster College below:
We wish all athletes the best of luck in the Olympic games, be safe and bring home the gold!