The Midwest is well-represented at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Of the 223 athletes on the U.S. Olympic roster, dozens call the Midwest home. In fact, an athlete with Midwest ties is competing in almost every event in Beijing.
So who are these cold-weather stars to root for? Here’s a look at nearly 50 athletes to watch for during the upcoming Games.
(Note: See the full Team USA roster here)
Midwest Connection: Originally from Appleton, Wisconsin
Insights: Originally from about 30 minutes outside Green Bay, Wisconsin, Schommer attended Kimberly High School, where he competed in skiing, cross country and track and field. He graduated from The College of St. Scholastica in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.
Accomplishments: In his most recent world championship experience in 2021, Schommer finished 72nd in sprint, 74th in individual and 15th in relay. In the 2020 world championship, he placed 72nd in sprint, 48th in individual and 8th in relay. Schommer’s world cup total final rank in 2020-2021 was 98, according to Team USA.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Pulaski, Wisconsin
Insights: Irwin will make her Olympic debut as the only newcomer on the women’s biathlon team. In addition to running cross country and track, Irwin started skiing as a sophomore in high school and continued to practice the sport at Michigan Technological University. In 2017, she began her journey as a biathlete after attending a U.S. Biathlon Identification Talent Camp. Irwin is a member of the Vermont Army National Guard.
Accomplishments: In recent International Biathlon Union World Cup races, Irwin has produced three career-best performances, highlighted by a 36th-place finish in sprint December 2021. Irwin competed in the 2021 world championships and finished 51st in the sprint, 45th in the pursuit and 13th in the relay.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Madison, Wisconsin
Insights: Before Reid took on the biathlon in 2015, she was an NCAA freestyle cross-country skier at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She graduated with degrees in applied mathematics in 2013 and engineering in 2017. She is the daughter of 1980 Olympic speed skating bronze medalist Beth (Heiden) Reid and the niece of five-time Olympic speedskating gold medalist Eric Heiden.
Accomplishments: In the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Reid finished 13th in the relay, 15th in the mixed relay, 22nd in the individual and 86th in the sprint. Reid achieved a career-best 10th place in the mass start at the 2019 International Biathlon Union World Championships.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Bloomington, Indiana
Insights: After competing in track, skiing and soccer while in high school in Germany — his hometown of 16 years — Reed honed in on running at the University of Maine. According to Team USA, Reed grew an interest in bobsledding after his college track coach, who was a former member of the U.S. bobsled team, encouraged him to try the sport out. Since 2014, he has been competing as a brakeman for the U.S. team. The 2022 Olympics will tally as Reed’s last race. Reed announced he is closing out his eight-year bobsledding career in Beijing.
Accomplishments: Reed has appeared in five world championships, garnering top-10 finishes three times. He placed sixth in the mixed team in 2015, fifth in the mixed team in 2016 and fifth in the four-man in 2017. He was named an alternate to the 2018 Olympics, but did not compete. In his collegiate track career, Reed won the conference championship in the 60-meter hurdles.
Midwest Connection: From McFarland, Wisconsin
Insights: The Madison-born curler initially took to the ice with her brother, Matt Hamilton. The two followed in the footsteps of their father, who played recreationally. Becca Hamilton competes on the women’s team and formerly played mixed doubles with her brother. She graduated from Edgewood College with a degree in elementary education and worked at the Wisconsin Early Autism Project as a therapist.
Accomplishments: Hamilton played in the 2018 Olympics and banked sixth place with her brother in mixed doubles and eighth place with the women’s team. She is a three-time national silver medalist and the 2021 world championship bronze medalist. In 2017, the same year she became the U.S. Curling Female Athlete of the Year, the Hamilton siblings won the mixed doubles national championship.
Midwest Connection: From McFarland, Wisconsin
Insights: Hamilton, a self-proclaimed mustache enthusiast, currently plays second on the John Shuster Team. He grew up competing alongside and partnering with his sister, Becca, throughout his youth and professional career. Slated next on his agenda after the Olympics is hosting Rutledge & Hamilton, a new sports show coming to ESPN Madison in March.
Accomplishments: At the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Hamilton won gold with the men’s team and placed 6th in mixed doubles with his sister. The 2017 U.S. Curling Male Athlete of the Year is a four-time national champion and two-time Continental Cup champion. As a sibling squad, the Hamiltons are two-time junior national champions and the 2017 mixed doubles national champions.
Midwest Connection: Originally from McFarland, Wisconsin
Insights: Alongside the Hamilton siblings, Roth tallies as the third curler on the Olympic team to hail from the Madison Curling Club in McFarland, Wisconsin. At the 2022 Olympics, Roth will compete at the third position on Team Tabitha Peterson. From 2013 to 2018, Roth served as the skip of her team. In addition to being a professional athlete, Roth works as a registered nurse at Select Specialty Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.
Accomplishments: Beijing will be Roth’s second trip to the Olympics. She previously competed in the 2018 Olympics and finished in eighth place. With two gold and three silver medals, the 2018 U.S. Curling Female Athlete of the Year has ranked in five women’s national championships. Roth also is a two-time Continental Cup champion. Most recently, Roth picked up bronze at the 2021 world championship.
Midwest Connection: From Superior, Wisconsin
Insights: The Minnesota-born curler is one of four U.S. athletes who will become five-time Olympic veterans after Beijing. Shuster is the skip of his rink, which consists of Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Chris Plys. Outside of his team, Shuster plays in mixed doubles with Cory Christensen, though the two will not be competing at the 2022 Games together.
Accomplishments: In his Olympic debut in 2006, Shuster helped the U.S. reach the podium for the first time in history with a bronze medal. He continued to make appearances at the Games in 2010, 2014, and 2018. At PyeongChang, Shuster led his team to another Olympic first, this time a gold medal. The four-time U.S. Curling Male Athlete of the Year has won seven world championships, three continental cups and a mixed doubles national championship. Shuster has finished in first place in all five of his U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Minocqua, Wisconsin
Insights: Bolger trained at the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation for two seasons and spent four seasons at the University of Utah, where he graduated with a sociology degree in 2017. The U.S. Ski Team added Bolger to its roster in the 2019-2020 season. He spent the 2021 summer training and competing in Sweden.
Accomplishments: The first-time Olympian competed in his world cup opener in 2018 and placed 11th in the freestyle sprint. In 2020, Bolger improved to a sixth place finish at the 2020 world cup in Germany. He landed in first place at the U.S. championships in 2017 and notched second place in 2018. The two-time All-American qualified for NCAA competition four times at Utah. In high school, Bolger won the Wisconsin state championship twice.
Alexa Knierim (Pairs)
Midwest Connection: Originally from Addison
Insights: Alexa Knierim started skating with Chris Knierim in 2012. The duo married each other in 2016 and continued to compete together until Chris Knierim retired in 2020. Alexa Knierim then partnered with Brandon Fraizer, who she will compete with in Beijing. In 2017, she underwent three abdominal surgeries to treat a life-threatening medical condition and recovered in time to compete in the 2018 Olympics.
Accomplishments: Knierim is the first American pairs skater to qualify consecutively for the Olympics since 2002. Alexa Knierim and Chris Knierim placed 19th individually and won a team bronze medal at PyeongChang in 2018. Together, they have claimed three U.S. championships, three Grand Prix Series medals, two U.S. silver medals and two Four Continents medals. She collected a U.S. championship in 2021 and has won two Grand Prix Series medals with Frazier.
Jason Brown (Singles)
Midwest Connection: From Highland Park
Insights: The California-born skater made his debut on the rink at 3 years old. Before graduating from Highland Park High School in 2013, Brown became a junior world champion in 2010 and a junior Grand Prix final champion in 2011. He attended the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where he earned a degree in communications.
Accomplishments: Brown first burst onto the Olympic scene by winning a team bronze medal and placing ninth individually in 2014. Throughout his four world championship appearances, Brown won first place in 2015 and most recently finished seventh in 2021. With 11 U.S. championship competitions under his belt, Brown has won bronze three times, silver twice and gold once. After placing sixth at the U.S. championships, Brown was named an Olympic alternate in 2018 but did not compete.
Figure skater Jason Brown will make his second Olympic appearance in Beijing this February. Check out his answers in this round of rapid-fire questions from eight years ago and his current ones.
Nick Goepper (Slopestyle & Big Air)
Midwest Connection: Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana
Insights: Goepper grew up in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, alongside his three siblings and started skiing at 5. He took on skiing competitively at 11 and later joined the national team in 2015. In his backyard, Goepper built ramps and trampoline walls to help him train. Goepper is a mental health advocate and works with nonprofit organizations in Colorado and Ohio, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
Accomplishments: As a two-time slopestyle Olympian, Goepper landed bronze at Sochi in 2014 and silver at PyeongChang in 2018. In his first X Games appearance in 2012, Goepper scored silver in the slopestyle. Since then, he has added another silver and four gold medals to his collection, becoming the most decorated slopestyle skier in X Games history. He is a two-time world champion bronze medalist and has four podium finishes at the world cup.
Kaila Kuhn (Aerials)
Midwest Connection: Original from Boyne City, Michigan
Insights: With a background in competitive gymnastics and close access to the Boyne Mountain Resort, Kuhn had the foundation to launch a career in aerials and eventually did so after being invited to a recruitment camp when she was 12 years old. Just two years later, Kuhn started reeling in wins at various national competitions. She joined the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team in 2020 and, at 18 years old, became the youngest member on the national aerials team.
Accomplishments: Across numerous appearances in the NorAm Cup, Kuhn has posted 10 podium finishes, four of which come from first place. In 2021, she won her first world cup medal at Moscow and collected an additional bronze at Deer Valley. She also finished third at the 2021 U.S. championships in Utah. At 14 years old, Kuhn won the junior nationals and placed second at the U.S. nationals.
Justin Schoenefeld (Aerials)
Midwest Connection: Original from Lawrenceburg, Indiana
Insights: Four years after making his debut at an International Ski Federation competition, Schoenefeld took the NorAm tour title in 2018 and caught the attention of the U.S. Ski Team. He has been on the team ever since, competing in the men’s single and mixed team events. Schoenefeld has a private pilot’s license and took to the skies on his first solo flight in June 2020, according to his Instagram. Schoenefeld also can be found fly fishing and playing the guitar.
Accomplishments: In world cup competitions, Schoenefeld has reached the podium four times. He earned first individually in 2020 at Minsk, third on mixed teams in 2021 at Yaroslavl, second individually in 2021 at Deer Valley and second on mixed teams again in 2021 at Ruka. In NorAm cup competitions, Schoenefeld has seven top-three finishes, one of which includes winning the 2018 NorAm Grand Prix Championship.
Winter Vinecki (Ariels)
Midwest Connection: From Gaylord, Michigan
Insights: Vinecki joined the U.S. Ski Team in 2016. At 5 years old, Vinecki started running in triathlons, eventually becoming the youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents. In 2008, she founded Team Winter, a nonprofit organization dedicated to prostate cancer research, in honor of her late father who battled with the disease. The foundation has raised more than $500,000 to research.
Accomplishments: The University of Utah alum grabbed her first gold at a World Cup event on Jan. 23, 2021. Vinecki continued to add to her collection, winning gold at the 2021 Moscow World Cup, silver at the 2021 Deer Valley World Cup and bronze at 2021 Raubichi World Cup. In 2019, Vinecki garnered first place at the U.S. national championship.
Midwest Connection: From Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Insights: With former ice dancers as parents, Baker learned to skate at a young age. His parents, who were on the Great Britain National Team, coached him and his former partner, Joylyn Yang, for five years. Baker later teamed up with Kaitlin Hawayek, and after 10 years as a team, the pair reeled in their first Olympic berth. They will be one of the three couples to represent the U.S. in ice dancing in Beijing. Baker also is a black belt in Taekwondo.
Accomplishments: Baker and Hawayek placed third in the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which rounds out as their fourth bronze title in a row. The two also are 2018 Four Continents champions, 2014 world junior champions, 2014 U.S. junior champions and three-time Grand Prix Series medalists. With Yang, Baker won the novice bronze medal at the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan
Insights: Bates will glide into Beijing as the first figure skater to become a four-time Olympian. The University of Michigan alum — who is the 52nd member of his family to graduate from there — competed with Emily Samuelson from 2000 to 2010. Bates then paired up with Madison Chock. After years in the rink together, Bates and Chock took their relationship off the ice and have dated since 2015. They have two poodles together.
Accomplishments: At the Vancouver Games in 2010, Bates and Samuelson placed 11th. The two rounded out their partnership with various accolades to their name, some of which included a 2008 world junior championship and 2010 U.S. national bronze medals. Bates and Chock participated in the 2014 and 2018 Olympics and respectively earned eighth and ninth place.
Midwest Connection: From Novi, Michigan
Insights: The California-native began solo skating at the age of 5 and switched to ice dancing when she was 12 years old. In 2006, Chock started competing with Greg Zuerlein, and when he retired in 2011, she partnered with Evan Bates. In Beijing, Chock and Bates will portray a love story between an astronaut and someone from another planet with their “Lovers from Outer Space” free dance. On the ice, the couple dons skating costumes Chock designs.
Accomplishments: Chock and Bates won the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, adding to their previous first-place titles from 2015 and 2020. The 2022 Olympics chalks up as Chock’s third one. She and Bates placed eighth in 2014 and ninth in 2018. The pair also have collected two world championship medals, six Four Continents medals and 14 Grand Prix Series medals.
Midwest Connection: From Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Insights: Hawayek skated with Michael Bramante for two years before teaming up with current partner Jean-Luc Baker in 2012. She attends Penn State University World Campus with plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Kawayek DJs and releases her mixes on SoundCloud, her latest one being a two-part “Quarantunes” series from 2020.
Accomplishments: Hawayek and Baker made a four-peat for bronze at the U.S. nationals in 2022. In 2015 and 2018, they earned the pewter medal for placing fourth at the U.S. nationals. The two are the 2014 world junior championship title holders and the 2018 Four Continents champions.
Midwest Connection: From Okemos, Michigan
Insights: Hubbell — who was born in Lansing, Michigan — punched a ticket to her second Olympics alongside Zachary Donohue. They have danced together since 2011 and announced they will retire from competition after closing this season out. Hubbell is engaged to Spanish ice dancer Adrián Díaz. She also is a certified yoga instructor and has taught classes over Zoom.
Accomplishments: In 2018, Hubbell and Donohue placed fourth at the PyeongChang Games. They won silver at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which tallies as their 11th U.S. championships medal. At the competition a year prior, the three-time world medalists placed first. Hubbell and Donohue have amassed 16 Grand Prix Series medals.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Insights: Growing up in suburban Buffalo Grove, Bozek began skating at age 2 and was goalie on her local hockey team by age 6, according to USA Hockey. She attended the University of Minnesota, where she helped capture the NCAA Division I national championship her junior year. Bozek currently serves as an Athlete Mentor for Classroom Champions, which helps Olympic and Paralympic athletes in underserved communities.
Accomplishments: Bozek was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, where she earned a spot on seven International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship teams in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 and won six gold medals, as well as two silver. She represented Team USA in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games where she earned a silver medal. Bozek was also a top-three finalist for the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Delafield, Wisconsin
Insights: Cavallini played goalie with boys hockey up until she joined the women’s roster at the University of Wisconsin. In 2009, the Chicago Steel drafted Cavallini, making her the first female player in the United States Hockey League. Cavallini currently plays for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting women in the sport. She is married to Aidan Cavallini, who is related to former professional hockey players Gino and Paul Cavallini.
Accomplishments: Cavallini competed in the 2018 Olympics in which the U.S. won gold. As a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, she has won five gold world championship medals and played in six Four Nations Cups. During her four years at the University of Wisconsin, Cavallini helped the Badgers claim the 2011 NCAA National Championship title and was the first goalie to be named captain in program history.
Midwest Connection: Chicago Blackhawks prospect
Insights: The Blackhawks drafted Commesso as a second-round pick in 2020. He currently plays backstop for Boston University. The 19-year-old is the youngest of the three goalies on the U.S. roster and is one of the 15 NCAA players on the 25-man team, which is composed mainly of college players, following the NHL’s decision to opt-out of the Games due to COVID-19.
Accomplishments: Commesso has a 9-8-3 record with a 2.59 goals against average and a .909 save percentage playing in 20 games this season at Boston. His freshman year, Commesso was the Terriers’ primary goalkeeper and was named to the Hockey East Pro Ambitions All-Rookie Team. He spent two years with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, where he also served as the primary goalkeeper for the 2020 under-18 team and the 2019 under-17 team.
Social Media: Instagram
Midwest Connection: Originally from Northbrook, Illinois
Insights: The Chicago area-native began her hockey career on the area boys team, skating with her childhood friends, according to USA Hockey. Compher was the captain of Boston University’s women’s hockey team her senior year in 2020-2021. One of her two siblings, J.T., played hockey at the University of Michigan. Outside of hockey, Compher can be found laying by the pool, being with family and friends, and trying new restaurants.
Accomplishments: Competing as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Compher earned a spot on three International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship teams in 2019, 2020 and 2021, which received one gold medal and one silver. She played as a member of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team, participating in two IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship and winning gold medals in 2016 and 2017. Compher was also named a 2019 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 finalist.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Palos Heights, Illinois
Insights: Coyne-Schofield began playing hockey at a young age with boys in a southwest Chicago suburb. Aside from hockey, she also had a passion for other sports like baseball, basketball, softball and track. Though she stopped playing games with the boys at bantam minors, Coyne-Schofield continued practicing with both boys and girls until she attended Northeastern University. In 2018, she married Michael Schofield III, NFL offensive lineman on the Los Angeles Chargers.
Accomplishments: At the age of 15, Coyne-Schofield was the youngest member of Team USA’s Under-18 team. She competed as a member of the U.S Women’s National Team and earned a spot on nine International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship teams in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 where she won eight gold medals. The Palos Heights-native has represented the U.S. in two Olympics Winter Games, winning a gold medal in 2018 and silver in 2014.
Palos Heights native and captain of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, Kendall Coyne Schofield, will make her third Olympic appearance for Team USA in February but believes this year’s team is different.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Dousman, Wisconsin
Insights: The forward played four seasons at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League in 2014. Decker also played for the Premier Hockey Federation — formerly the National Women’s Hockey League — and is currently on the PWHPA. Since 2018, Decker has served as an assistant coach for the Under-18 Women’s National Team at the Under-18 International Ice Hockey Federation.
Accomplishments: As a two-time Olympian, Decker has helped the U.S. garner silver in 2014 and gold in 2018. She has participated and medaled in eight world championships, scoring gold six times and silver twice, and 10 Four Nations Cups. As a Badger, the three-time All-American won an NCAA championship in 2011 and the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 2012 for being the top female player in the U.S.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Downers Grove, Illinois
Insights: At the age of 4, Harmon was originally signed up to start figure skating because hockey was full, according to USA Hockey. However, the next morning, she was fully dressed in her brother’s hockey gear and took class — then was signed up the next day for hockey. Harmon graduated from Clarkson University in 2018 with a degree in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship. When not playing hockey, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family, cooking and swimming.
Accomplishments: Harmon was twice named to the U.S. Women’s National Team roster for International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship tournaments in 2020 and 2021, and competed in one IIHF Women’s World Championship where she earned a silver medal. While at Clarkson University, she won back-to-back national championships in both 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Harmon was drafted in the second round of the NWHL Draft by the Buffalo Beauts.
Social Media: Instagram
Midwest Connection: Originally from Jackson, Michigan
Insights: Kampfer spent four seasons at the University of Michigan before playing professionally. The Anaheim Ducks selected the defensemen in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Draft. In 2010, the Ducks traded Kampfer to the Boston Bruins, and he spent five total seasons there. Throughout his career, Kampfer has played for various AHL teams and other NHL teams, including the Minnesota Wild, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers. Kampfer currently plays in the KHL for Russia’s Ak Bars Kazan.
Accomplishments: During the 2010-2011 season in which the Bruins made their Stanley Cup championship run, Kampfer made five goals and five assists playing in 38 games. This season, Kampfer notched 11 goals and 19 assists in 46 games with the Ak Bars Kazan and became a KHL All-Star.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Madison, Wisconsin
Insights: Kessel played forward at the University of Minnesota, where she graduated with a degree in sports marketing in 2015. Kessel comes from a band of hockey players. Her brothers, Blake and Phil, have experience competing professionally — Phil currently plays in the NHL, and Blake spent his last season before retirement in the ECHL. In 2014, Kessel suffered a concussion that sidelined her for two years.
Accomplishments: As a member of the 2014 and 2018 Olympics, Kessel is a silver and gold medalist. The U.S. Women’s National Team player participated in six world championships and has won gold three times and silver twice. She played in four Four Nations Cups and medalled first place in all appearances. In her collegiate career, Kessel captured three NCAA championships and won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 2013.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Farmington, Michigan
Insights: Keller graduated from Boston College in 2019 after spending four seasons with the Eagles. Growing up, the defender used to log time on the ice playing on boys teams before she transitioned to playing with girls in high school. In the summer of 2021, Keller held an all-girls training camp to foster youth hockey development in her hometown.
Accomplishments: Already a gold medalist from 2018, Keller will be competing in her second Olympics. She has won seven gold medals and two silver medals across appearances in six world championships and four Four Nations Cups. Keller, a three-time First Team All-American, was the Hockey East Player of the Year during her senior season at Boston College.
Midwest Connection: Grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois
Insights: Knight is a forward on the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association’s Minnesota team. Before the two-time First Team All-American graduated from the University of Wisconsin, she became an Olympian in 2010. Now, Knight is making her fourth trip to the Games, joining three other players as the only American women to participate on four Olympic hockey teams. In 2017, Knight was a stark advocate for equal pay and development in women’s sports.
Accomplishments: Knight is a three-time Olympic medalist, having garnered silver in 2010 and 2014 and gold in 2018. As a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Knight has notched 11 medals — eight of which are gold — throughout 12 appearances in world championship competitions. The 2014 Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year also helped bring the Badgers two NCAA championships.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan
Insights: Miele plays center for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL. The four-year Miami University alum has seen action across seven AHL seasons, three NHL seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes and two SHL seasons.
Accomplishments: In 57 games with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod this season, Miele has racked up 13 goals and 23 assists, which further add to his previous two-season total of 76 points. With 13 goals and 44 assists spread out across 65 games, Miele helped the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms make a Calder Cup playoff appearance in 2017. He represented the US at the Ice Hockey World Championships in 2011 and 2014.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Evergreen Park, Illinois
Insights: Murphy began playing playing hockey at the age of 6, skating with boys at her area rink, according to USA Hockey. The 19-year-old plays for the University of Minnesota team, though was most recently on the Chicago Mission. When she’s not playing hockey, Murphy enjoys playing Fortnite, rollerblading and longboarding.
Accomplishments: In 2021, Murphy competed as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship where she earned a silver medal. She was a member of the U.S. Under 18 Women’s National Team, skating in three IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships and earning two gold medals, as well as one silver.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Bloomfield Township, Michigan
Insights: Nagle, one of the only two active AHL players on Team USA’s roster, serves as goalie for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The 34-year-old — who is the oldest player on the Olympic team — also spent 12 games this season with the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League. Nagle played four seasons and studied marketing at Ferris State University.
Accomplishments: In the East Coast Hockey League’s all-time wins leaders, Nagle ranks fifth among goalies with 198 victories throughout 10 seasons. Nagle aided Toledo Walleye to the 2019 Kelly Cup Finals and ended the season as the championship runner-up with a 2.81 goals against average and 0.910 save percentage in 41 games.
Social Media: Twitter
Midwest Connection: Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Insights: From playing hockey in her backyard to competing on a boys team until college, Roque is stepping out onto the Olympic scene. As an Ojibwe, an Indigenous tribe of the First Nations, Roque will be the first Indigenous and only BIPOC player on the U.S. hockey team. Jim, her dad and former coach, is an NHL scout with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Accomplishments: Roque played at the University of Wisconsin, where she helped the team to an NCAA championship in 2019. The forward represented the U.S. in two world championships and won silver in 2021. As a former member of the under-18 national team, Roque competed in two under-18 world championships, winning silver in 2014 and gold in 2015.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Insights: Having previously competed for the U.S. at PyeongChang, Loomis is making his second Olympic appearance. The skier enlisted in the army in 2019 and will represent the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Team at the Games. His older brother, Adam, is also a Team USA nordic skier. Some of Loomis’ hobbies include biking, fishing and hiking.
Accomplishments: In the 2018 Olympics, Loomis helped the U.S. post a 10th-place finish in the team large hill event while placing 40th in the large hill and 41st in the normal hill events individually. Loomis won bronze at the 2018 junior world championship to add to his silver medal from the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics. He was a member of the 2017, 2019, and 2021 world championship teams.
Short Track Speed Skating
Midwest Connection: Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan
Insights: While Pivirotto initially played hockey, speedskating piqued his interest so he transitioned to the sport in 2010. Four years later, Pivirotto earned a spot on the junior world team. With Olympic aspirations, he committed to training full-time and settled stomping grounds in South Korea from 2016 to 2018. Alongside skating, Pivirotto has been studying toward a degree in computer science at Salt Lake Community College.
Accomplishments: The short-track speedskater finished fifth at the Olympic Trials and joined Team USA at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, where he served as an alternate but did not compete. Pivirotto received a bronze medal in the world championship 5000-meter relay in 2015 and hammered out another one out at the Four Continents championships in 2020.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Wauconda, Illinois
Insights: Though born in suburban Lake Forest, Bickner would call Wauconda his hometown where he began skiing at age 9, according to Team USA. He attended Wauconda High School before heading to DeVry University. When not skiing, Bickner enjoys hiking and traveling.
Accomplishments: In 2017, Bickner competed in the world championships, placing 8th in the team normal hill, 11th in the team large hill and 47th in the normal hill. He represented Team USA in the 2018 Olympics Games in PyeongChang where he scored 9th in team, 18th in normal hill and 20th in large hill. Bickner was also named the USSA Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year in 2016.
Olympian Kevin Bickner will make his second Olympic appearance in Beijing for Team USA’s Men’s Ski Jump.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Spring Grove, Illinois; trains at Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove
Insights: The first-time Olympian — who initially was compelled by his father to start skiing — made his professional ski jumping debut at an International Ski Federation event in 2015. His hobbies include soccer and skateboarding.
Accomplishments: Gasienica posted his best FIS Cup results at the Utah Olympic Park normal hill event after placing ninth individually in 2018. He earned a spot on the Olympic roster after posting some of his best Continental Cup results this season, the latest of which includes a 36th-place finish in Innsbruck, Austria.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Madison, Wisconsin
Insights: Hoffman learned to ski at the Blackhawk Ski Club in Madison, Wisconsin, when she was 2 years old. The University of Utah student originally was named as an alternate for the 2022 Olympics as the U.S. fell short of the qualifying points to outrightly earn a spot at the Games. When another country did not fill its spot, the position opened up for Hoffman to take. Beijing will be Hoffman’s first Olympics.
Accomplishments: At the 2022 Winter Olympic Trials, Hoffman finished in first place for the normal hill event, which is the only women’s ski jumping event at the Olympics. She qualified for the 2021 world championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, and has participated in four junior world championships.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Barrington, Illinois; trains at Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove
Insights: Larson joined the USA Nordic ski jumping team after notching a top-10 finish at the U.S. national championships in 2014. He spent the last season recovering from surgery after dislocating his shoulder in May 2020. According to Team USA’s website, Larson, who played lacrosse at Barrington High School, enjoys reading and collecting socks. His younger sister, Cara, also is a USA Nordic ski jumper.
Accomplishments: Larson competed at the 2018 Olympics, where he placed ninth in the team event, 39th on the normal hill and 53rd on the large hill at PyeongChang in 2018. He experienced his first world championship in 2017, where he finished 46th on the large hill and 11th on the team large hill.
Nick Baumgartner (Cross)
Midwest Connection: Originally from Iron River, Michigan
Insights: An ace of many trades, Baumgartner is a snowboard crosser, wrestling state champion, a state champion hurdler and an All-State football player. The 40-year-old will make history in Beijing as the oldest U.S. athlete on the Olympic snowboard team. When he is off the slopes, Baumgartner enjoys spending time with his son, Landon, and off-road truck racing.
Accomplishments: Baumgartner is a three-time Olympic veteran. He made appearances at the Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018. In 2018, Baumgartner came close to medaling with a fourth-place finish. At the X Games, Baumgartner won gold in 2011 and silver in 2012.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Beverly Hills, Michigan
Insights: Kalapos first hit the slopes at 2 years old, but initially as a skier. She switched to snowboarding at 5 years old when her dad encouraged her to try it out, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. As she progressed, Kalapos competed in slopestyle and boardercross and eventually zeroed in on halfpipe. In 2020, the same year she graduated from Westminster College with a degree in marketing, Kalapos started a blog that featured recipes, detailed her travels and highlighted the careers of other professional female athletes.
Accomplishments: In 2021, Kalapos won the halfpipe national championship. She logged in her first top-10 finish at the world cup in 2016 and since has done so five more times. In 2016, she became the United States of America Snowboard and FreeSki Association’s national halfpipe champion. Before Kalapos was named to the national team in 2015, she garnered silver at the junior world championship in 2014.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Campton Hills, Illinois
Insights: Kleba played hockey for 12 years before a shoulder injury spurred his switch to speed skating. In his free time, Kleba produces music and releases his beats on TikTok and SoundCloud.
Accomplishments: In 2018, two years after he started speed skating, Kleba attended the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics and won silver in the mixed team sprint event. At the 2021 Four Continents Championships, Kleba recorded first place finishes in the 500-meter race and the men’s team sprint, as well as second place in the 1,000-meter race.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Oak Park, Illinois
Insights: A 9-year-old Lehman began speedskating to hone his hockey skills and soon became immersed in the sport. He studied civil engineering at Marquette University and currently is pursuing a master’s degree in structural engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Accomplishments: Lehman is making his third trip to the Olympics. He earned eighth place in the team pursuit and 21st in the 5,000-meter race in the 2018 Games. In 2014 at Sochi, the then-17-year-old was the youngest male member on the U.S. roster and produced the team’s best results with a 10th-place finish in the 10,000-meter and a 16th-place finish in the 5,000 meter.
Olympian and Chicagoan Emery Lehman will make his third Olympian appearance in Beijing for Team USA’s men’s team pursuit squad. He tells us what it will be like not having his family and friends at this one.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Insights: At 2 years old, Cepuran put on skates for the first time. At 21, he etched his name as the first skater to qualify for the 2022 Olympics after edging out his teammates at the trials. Cepuran’s older brother Gordon was the play-by-play announcer for the qualifying race. His other brother, Eric, is a former junior national team member and now works as a coach. The long-distance skater is a Cubs and Blackhawks fan.
Accomplishments: Cepuran grabbed gold both at the 5,000-meter and team pursuit races while also finishing with silver at the 10,000-meter race at the 2021 U.S. Championships. He clinched 15th at the 5000-meter and 22nd at the 1500-meter races in the 2021 world championships. At the 2020 world single distance championships, he placed 5th in the team pursuit.
Midwest Connection: Originally from St. Louis, Missouri
Insights: Initially, Quinn joined the national team as a short track speedskater in 2015. He later took on long track racing and also added the mass start into his mix in 2018 when the event was added to the Olympics. When he’s not out on the rink, Quinn can be found running or golfing, both of which are sports he grew up competing in. His younger sister, Anna, is a speedskater, too.
Accomplishments: At the 2022 Olympic Trials, Quinn locked in his bid to Beijing after winning the mass start. Though Quinn had competed in trials before, this will mark as the first time he will be on the Olympic roster. According to Team USA, Quinn ranks sixth in the world in the mass start. He garnered bronze at the Four Continents championship in 2020 and earned a spot on the 2021 world championship team. As a short-track skater, Quinn made the 2013 junior world team.
Midwest Connection: Originally from Kewaskum, Wisconsin
Insights: As a 17-year-old, Stolz is the third-youngest male to make the U.S. Olympic speedskating team. Stolz began skating at age 5 on the frozen pond outside his home with the help of his dad. According to Team USA, the long-distance speedskater began getting homeschooled at 9 years old so he could better focus on his craft.
Accomplishments: Stolz is heading to his first Olympics in record-breaking fashion after winning the 500-meter race and topping the previous 1,000-meter time at the 2022 trials. In December 2021, Stolz landed his first world cup medal with a silver finish in the 1,000 Calgary. He won bronze in the mass start overall junior world cup in 2020. Stolz also holds the junior world record-holder in the 1,000-meter race, according to Team USA.
Social Media: Instagram