Competition for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games is well underway! We really couldn’t love more watching amazing athletes' gold medal dreams come true. While we are certainly be cheering for every single Team USA athlete, we are especially excited to watch the U.S. Women’s Biathlon Team, curler Allison Pottinger, ice dancer Maia Shibutani, snowboarder Jamie Anderson, bobsledders Jazmine Fenlator and Elana Meyers, aerial skiers Ashley Caldwell and Emily Cook, skeleton racers Katie Uhlaender and Noelle Pikus-Pace and ice hockey players Julie Chu and Jessie Vetter. Why? As Travel & Training Fund grant winners, WSF Family members and WSF Sportswoman of the Year Award winners, these athletes make up our #TeamWSFinSochi contingent.
More about #TeamWSFinSochi:
U.S. Biathlon Women's National Team
2013 Travel & Training Fund grantees the U.S. Biathlon Women's National Team consists of Annelies Cook, Hannah Dreissgacker, Sara Studebaker and Susan Dunklee. A combination of the endurance sport of cross-country skiing and the precision action of shooting, biathlon is the most popular winter sport in Europe but it is relatively unknown in the U.S. The U.S. Biathlon Women’s National Team is in a state of resurgence after finishing 12th in the overall Women’s World Cup for the 2012-2013 season. The team finished 8th in Mixed Relay at the 2013 World Championships. Our Travel & Training Fund grant allowed the team to purchase training equipment like roller skis and rifle stocks as well as helped with training camp costs.
Allison Pottinger, Curling
2010 Travel & Training Fund grantee Allison Pottinger is curler from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. She currently skips her own team, but is best known as having played for Debbie McCormick in multiple Olympics and World Championships. Pottinger competed in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, in Vancouver, Canada. She was named USA female curling athlete of the year in 2008.
Maia Shibutani, Ice Dancing
2012 Travel & Training Fund grantee Maia Shibutani is a figure skater from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She won the Professional Skaters Association (PSA)’s "Edi Award" for Ice Dance (2011) and was the first U.S. ice dancer to medal during her debut appearance at the World Figure Skating Championships since 1958. The Travel & Training funds we provided to Shibutani were used to support the costs of training with a specialist in Japanese traditional dance in support of her choreography for the primary competitive program.
Lindsey Van, Ski Jumping
A two-time Travel & Training Fund recipient (1998 and 2003), Lindsey Van will make her Olympic ski jumping debut in Sochi when the sport is contested in the Games for the first time. A 15-time U.S. champion, Van finished in the top ten at ten World Cup events in 2013, placing as high as fourth.Van has skied her whole life, but her real influence on women’s ski jumping has been her tireless advocacy. Because of her continued efforts and successful ski jumping, she has not only helped put women’s ski jumping on the map, but has also helped put it into the 2014 Olympics.
A long-time friend and loyal WSF supporter, Jamie Anderson has built a reputation as the most solid Slopestyle rider in the business with her raw talent, exceptional style and versatility of tricks. She is a seven-time Dew Tour gold medalist and a three-time U.S. Grand Prix gold medalist.
Jazmine Fenlator, Bobsledding
A survivor of Hurricane Irene, Jazmine Fenlator’s Olympic spirit remains tenacious. During the 2012 – 2013 competition season, Fenlator won silver and bronze at World Cup events. Her grant from the Travel & Training Fund, awarded in 2013, provided her with essential training and competition trips like the National Combine and Push Testing events needed to qualify for the World Cup and the Bobsled Olympic Team.
Elana Meyers, Bobsledding
As the driver of the U.S. Women’s 4 member Bobsled Team, Meyers received our Travel & Training Fund grant in 2010 and 2013. She is a member of the Athletes’ Advisory Council and the Board of Directors for USA Bobsled/Skeleton and prides herself in having the fastest starts and being the fastest pushing driver in the world. She won bronze at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and silver at the 2013 World Championships. Meyers has used her grants to supplement her training as she chases gold in Sochi.
Ashley Caldwell, Aerial Skiing
Ashley Caldwell, a 2011 Travel & Training Fund grantee, is a four-time NorAm champion and competed for Team USA at the 2010 Vancouver Games. As the youngest competitor in the women's aerials field, she placed tenth. In January of 2011, she won a World Cup event in the U.S.. Caldwell fell in love with aerial skiing at the age of 12 after witnessing a hurricane jump at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.
Katie Uhlaender, Skeleton
A 2010 and 2011 Travel & Training Fund grantee, Katie Uhlaender began the sport of skeleton in 2003, quickly climbing national rank by winning both the National and Junior National Championships in her first season. Uhlaender made the Winter Olympic Team in 2006 and slid to a sixth place finish in Torino, Italy. She dominated the World Cup tour during the 2006-2007 season, winning five gold medals and claiming the overall World Cup crown. In the 2007-2008 season, Uhlaender once again placed first in the World Cup standings. She placed second in the 2008 World Championships.
Noelle Pikus-Pace, Skeleton
WSF Friend Noelle Pikus-Pace's strength and speed has led her to become one of the best skeleton sliders in the world since beginning the sport in 2001. Pikus-Pace suffered a compound fracture of her lower right leg as a result of a freak accident when she was struck by a bobsled, causing her to miss the first half of the 2005-2006 season. Showing her true competitiveness and determination, Pikus-Pace recovered and had the best season of her skeleton career in 2006-2007, claiming the World Championship title in St. Moritz and finishing second overall in World Cup standings, just behind Katie Uhlaender.
Julie Chu, Ice Hockey
A long-time supporter of the Women’s Sports Foundation, Julie Chu has medaled with Team USA in every Olympic Winter Games dating back to 2002. She has twice earned silver (2002, 2010) and once earned bronze (2006). For the 2012-13 season, Chu plays for the Montreal Stars and is an assistant coach with the Union College women’s ice hockey team. Chu is a native of Fairfield, Connecticut, and graduated from Harvard University in 2007.
Jessie Vetter, Ice Hockey
The 2009 winner of our coveted Sportswoman of the Year Award, Jessie Vetter is currently Team USA’s top goaltender and is playing the 2012-13 ice hockey season with the Oregon Outlaws, a men’s team in the Great Lakes Hockey League. Vetter is also a coach for the Madison Capitals girls’ hockey program and is the director of hockey at Athletic Republic, Madison. Vetter played hockey at the University of Wisconsin and graduated in 2009.
Stay tuned to SHENetwork.org, WomensSportsFoundation.org and WSF on Facebook and Twitter to follow all of #TeamWSFinSochi's competitions. And be sure to follow and join the conversation before, during and after the Games on Twitter at #TeamWSFinSochi.