Big Ten to Send At Least 42 Participants and Coaches to the 2014 Winter Olympics
February 7, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Rosemont, Ill. -The Big Ten Conference will boast at least 42 current or former
student-athletes, alumni or coaches competing for gold medals at the 2014 Winter
Olympics in Sochi, Russia, from Feb. 7-23. The group of conference competitors,
which includes 18 former Olympians and 16 past medalists, will represent five
different countries and seven of the 12 Big Ten institutions in five different
The Big Ten Olympians include 31 members of the United States team, along with
athletes representing Austria, Canada, Finland and Sweden. Overall, Minnesota leads
the way with 14 Olympic participants, followed by Wisconsin (11), Michigan (8), Ohio
State (4), Illinois (2) and Michigan State (2) and Nebraska (1).
This collection of outstanding performers is highlighted by 18 former Olympians,
including 16 past medalists. Michigan State's Duncan Keith and Wisconsin's Meaghan
Mikkelson look to repeat as gold medalists for the Canadian men's and women's ice
hockey teams, while the Big Ten will feature many familiar faces on the U.S. hockey
teams. Michigan State's Ryan Miller, Minnesota's Phil Kessel, Ohio State's Ryan
Kesler and Wisconsin's Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Suter and
Jessie Vetter won silver medals in the 2010 Vancouver Games. Other past medalists
include Illinois' Jonathan Kuck (silver medal - 2010 USA speed skating), Michigan's
Meryl Davis and Charlie White (silver medal - 2010 USA ice dancing), Minnesota's
Noora Räty (bronze medal - 2010 Finland women's ice hockey), Nebraska's Curtis
Tomasevicz (gold medal - 2010 USA bobsled) and Ohio State's Minttu Tuominen (bronze
medal - 2010 Finland women's ice hockey). The Wolverines' Evan Bates and Badgers'
Erika Brown both return to the Olympics after taking part in 2010, as Evans will
compete in ice dancing and Brown will participate in curling.
The Big Ten will also be represented on Team USA coaching staffs by three former
conference student-athletes and one current assistant coach. Men's ice hockey
assistant coaches Todd Richards and Tony Granato competed collegiately at Minnesota
and Wisconsin, respectively. Richards is the Gophers' all-time leading scorer among
defensemen and the current head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, while Granato
serves as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins and was inducted into the
Badgers' Hall of Fame in 2000. Both competed for Team USA in the 1988 Olympics in
Calgary. Former Minnesota goaltender Robb Stauber, an assistant coach for the U.S.
women's ice hockey team, was the first goalie to win the Hobey Baker Award in 1988.
Current Gopher goalie coach Andy Kent will serve in the same role for the Finland
women's ice hockey squad.
Big Ten student-athletes and coaches have been a part of the Olympic experience on
more than 1,370 occasions, including many making multiple trips to the international
event. That list of conference standouts has accumulated at least 460 medals,
including at least 243 of the gold variety. Some of the medalists include former
Ohio State track standout Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic
Games in Berlin. Former Indiana swimmer Mark Spitz won four medals, including two
golds, in the 1968 Games before claiming an unprecedented seven gold medals during
the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Former Michigan volunteer coach Michael Phelps
surpassed Spitz' performance with eight gold medals in the 2008 Games in Beijing and
has won 22 overall medals in his career, including 18 gold, the most by any
Olympian. The winter games have also been rewarding, as 12 members of the 1980
"Miracle on Ice" United States men's ice hockey team were from Minnesota and
Wisconsin, including head coach Herb Brooks. Overall, 77 men's and women's ice
hockey players from Big Ten schools have won an Olympic medal, including 24 gold.