From downhill skiing to bobsled, hockey and luge, the Empire State will be well-represented at the Winter Olympics, with 25 New York athletes and coaches headed to Sochi, Russia, which includes athletes from New Rochelle and Pearl River.
“New York has a long and proud tradition of being home to Winter Olympians, and this year is no exception,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “These 25 elite competitors will be representing both the state and the nation in the most prestigious sporting event in the world, and we are honored to call them New Yorkers.”
To honor the athletes and past Winter Olympians from New York, there will be an exhibit at the Concourse of the Empire State Plaza in Albany displaying historic Olympic artifacts. In addition, the names of all New York Winter Olympians, past and present, will be mounted on a plaque that will be hung in the Capitol and later at the Olympic Regional Development Authority facility in Lake Placid.
The Olympic Winter Games will run from Feb. 6-23, and the Paralympic Games will be staged in March, also in Sochi.
The New York athletes will be competing in more than a dozen events.
They include: Andrew Weibrecht (skiing), Lowell Bailey (biathlon), Jamie Greubel, (bobsled), Nick Cunningham (bobsled), Justin Olsen (bobsled), all of Lake Placid; Ashley Caldwell (aerial skiing) of Plattsburgh; Tim Burke (biathlon) of Paul Smiths; Peter Frenette (ski jumping), Annelies Cook (biathlon) and Chris Mazdzer (luge) of Saranac Lake; Erin Hamlin (luge) of Remsen; Aidan Kelly (luge) of West Islip; Matt Mortensen (luge) of Huntington Station; Bill Demong (Nordic combined) of Vermontville; Dustin Brown (hockey) of Ithaca; Jimmy Howard (hockey) of Ogdensburg; Patrick Kane (hockey) of Buffalo; Ryan Callahan (hockey) of Rochester; Brooks Orpik (hockey) of Amherst; Kevin Shattenkirk (hockey) of New Rochelle; Josephine Pucci (hockey) of Pearl River; John Daly (skeleton) of Smithtown; James Joseph (wheelchair curling) of New Hartford; Adam Page (sled hockey) of Lancaster; and Paul Schaus (sled hockey) of Buffalo.
This is the second Olympiad for both Demong and Weibrecht, who won bronze in men’s Super-G at Vancouver in 2010.
“It’s been about four years since my last ‘great race,’ and I’ve been through a lot since then, so this means a lot,” Weibrecht posted on his Facebook page.
Demong won gold at Vancouver, becoming the first U.S. Nordic combined athlete to win an individual medal. He also anchored Team USA to a silver medal in the team event. Demong was also honored by carrying the U.S. flag into the closing ceremony.
Four of the New Yorkers are members of the New York Army National Guard: Cunningham, Olsen, Mortensen and luge coach William Tavares of Lake Placid.
Olsen was a member of the U.S. Bobsled that won the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
New York’s hockey contingent includes NHL stars Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Callahan of the New York Rangers.