With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics formally starting immediately and the opening ceremony set for Friday, U.S. service members are among the many 225 athletes representing the USA.
There are 9 service members set to compete, with one Vermont Nationwide Guardsman standing by as an alternate.
For some, like Army Spec. Frank Del Duca, this shall be their first time on the video games. Del Duca, an infantryman from Maine who enlisted in 2019, mentioned he’s extremely grateful for the chance to characterize his nation each as a soldier and as an Olympian.
“It means the world to me to have the ability to do each,” Del Duca instructed Army Instances. “I can simply hope to do my greatest as a soldier and an athlete.”
Competing alongside Del Duca for Group USA’s males’s bobsled crew is fellow Army Spec. Hakeem Abdul Saboor.
Abdul Saboor, a biomedical gear specialist from Powhatan, Virginia, beforehand competed within the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, ending twenty first within the two-man occasion and nineteenth within the four-man occasion.
This can even be the second Winter Olympics for Nordic mixed rivals Specs. Benjamin Loomis and Jasper Good. Each Good and Loomis are motor transport operators within the Utah Nationwide Guard.
Nordic mixed, a hybrid sport, is made up of each ski leaping and cross-country snowboarding, the place athletes earn factors for distance and elegance within the ski bounce, which then dictate the order for the staggered cross-country race. It’s the solely winter Olympic sport that could be a male-only occasion.
Three Vermont Nationwide Guardsmen shall be competing within the biathalon occasion, a sport that mixes cross-country snowboarding and riflery.
Specs. Leif Nordgren and Sean Doherty are each three-time Olympic-competitors, having beforehand competed within the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics.
Nordgren is not going to solely be competing this February, but additionally welcoming his first-born baby, who’s due Feb. 4 — the day of the opening ceremony.
Not like the opposite Nationwide Guard and Army athletes, Nordgren, Doherty and girls’s biathalon competitor Sgt. Deedra Irwin should not a part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, which sponsors troopers’ Olympic and Paralympic desires whereas they proceed to serve.
Males’s biathalon crew alternate Spec. Vaclav Cervenka can even be in Beijing in case one other Group USA athlete has to withdraw.
Representing the Air Power is Airman 1st Class Kelly Curtis, who shall be competing in one of many three sliding sports activities held throughout the winter Olympics.
This shall be Curtis’ first Olympic video games, with the cyber safety specialist competing as a part of Group USA’s smallest skeleton contingent because the sport returned to the Olympics in 2002. The game was beforehand thought-about too harmful for the video games.
Skeleton occasions contain an athlete using head-first, face-down on a flat sled.
“I couldn’t consider it,” Curtis mentioned in an Air Power press launch about being an Olympian. “I used to be such a protracted shot with this being my rookie season on the World Cup stage and competing on all overseas tracks, some for my first time. I knew the whole lot needed to go proper in my closing race to qualify me; it’s nonetheless surreal that it did.”
The ultimate service member competing within the Beijing video games is Army Sgt. Emily Sweeney, who shall be competing within the luge occasions.
For Sweeney, the 2022 Olympics mark a formidable comeback after the navy policewoman broke her again, neck and finger within the 2018 Winter Olympics in a extreme crash throughout her closing run.
“Although the race didn’t go as I’d hoped for,” Sweeney mentioned in an Army press launch, “I felt very happy with what I’d carried out.”
Along with the ten athletes are 4 Group USA coaches from the navy. Virginia Nationwide Guard Capt. Michael Kohn is taking part as the boys’s bobsled coach, working alongside fellow troopers Lt. Col. Garrett Hines and Sgt. Justin Olsen.
Army Workers Sgt. Shawna Rohbock can be in Beijing as the ladies’s assistant bobsled coach.
There are not any Olympians competing from the Navy, Marine Corps or Area Power.
Whereas the crew for this yr’s Paralympic winter occasions shall be formally introduced February 19, Paralympic athletes already introduced embrace former Navy SEAL Dan Cnossen and Marine Josh Sweeney.
The Beijing 2022 Paralympics will open March 4.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Grasp’s candidate at New York College for Enterprise and Financial Reporting.