The Winter Olympic Games are two days away, and many on the North Shore will be watching—for our own.
Three speed skaters and one bobsledder are from our towns. Before we watch them speed ahead toward Olympic Gold, here’s a little info on these tremendously accomplished athletes.
Shani Davis, Chicago (Evanston Speedskating Club)
Born in Chicago, Shani Davis joined the Evanston Speedskating Club when he was just 6 years old. By the age of 8, he was winning regional competitions. He was the first black athlete speed skater to earn a spot on the 2002 U.S. Olympic Team. At the 2006 Winter Olympics, Davis became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in an individual winter games sport. Along with gold in the 1000m, he won the silver in the 1,500 m and set a total of eight world records. This year, he competes in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m (for which he won the gold medal in the 2009 World Championship) and 5,000m. Want more? Read an in-depth interview from the New York Times.
Lana Gehring, Glenview
Lana Gehring is one of the youngest members of the US Speedskating Short Track Training Program. A 2009 graduate of Glenbrook South High School, Gehring started skating at the age of 9. She secured her spot on the 2004 Junior Short and Long Track teams at 14. Gerhring was the 2009 U.S. Junior Short Track Champion, and as a member of the Gold Medal Ladies Relay Team at World Cup 6, she helped the team to a Bronze finish at the 2009 World Short Track Team Championships.
Brian Hansen, Glenview
Hansen, 19, holds four Junior American Records and one Junior World record. As a junior skater, he earned second place at the 2008 and 2009 U.S. Junior Speedskating Championships. At the World Junior Championships in 2009, he finished third overall and won silver in the 500m and a bronze in the Team Pursuit. He was one of three men taking home the Bronze medal in the Team Pursuit at the 2009 World Single Distance Championships.
Jamie Moriarty, Winnetka
While watching the 2006 Olympic Games, Moriarty became interested in Bobsled. A former professional football player sidelined by an injury, he committed to and joined the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation competing in his first race during the 2006-07 season. As a push athlete (he pushes the sled), he finished sixth with driver John Napier at the 2007 Junior World Championships. Together, they also won two gold medals in 4-man on the America’s Cup Tour during the 2008-2009 season. The past three years have brought him several World Cup and America’s Cup placements. Some recent highlights of the 2009-10 World Cup races, include eighth in Park City, Silver in Lake Placid and sixth in St. Moritz. Read more about Jamie in Mibs’ exclusive interview.
These four athletes from the North Shore represent Team USA with pride and courage this week. Please support them by cheering them on and watching their events. For more information about these athletes and the 2010 Olympic Games, go to www.teamusa.org.
You can also support these athlete’s pursuit of the Gold by donating to US Speedskating and/or USA Bobsled & Skeleton Federation. According to Team USA, “America doesn’t send its athletes to the Olympic Games, Americans do.” The majority of America’s competitors are funded by their governments and have increased funding for their teams. Many American athletes need increased sponsorship to continue to represent the United States. If you are interested in donating, please go to www.teamusa2010org.
Image copyright: © VANOC/COVAN