CALIFORNIA, USA — The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics officially starts on Feb. 3. There are more than a dozen athletes on Team USA from California, many of which are from Northern California and the Bay Area.
In addition, a record-breaking 8 Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy alumni, including 6 alpine skiers and 2 Nordic skiers, will be representing their respective nations at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Here's some background information to help get to know our Northern California athletes competing in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Jamie Anderson, 31, is a two-time Olympian, who competed in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, winning gold for slopestyle and silver for big air, and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, where he won gold for slopestyle. This year's Winter Olympics will be her third time competing as a snowboarder for Team USA.
Anderson began snowboarding at the age of 9 and started competing at the age of 10. Her hobbies include mountain biking, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, yoga, cooking and spending time outdoors. She is newly engaged to Tyler Nicholson, a Canadian snowboarder that competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Bryce Bennett, 29, is a downhill Alpine skier born in Truckee, Calif. and raised in Tahoe City, Calif. Bennett began skiing at the age of two and has competed in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in the alpine combined category and the downhill category.
Bennett's mother worked at Alpine Meadows Resort, and his father was a former telemark racer, according to Team USA, so skiing is instilled in his veins.
Also skiing down the slopes is Nina O'Brien, 24. Born and raised in San Francisco, Calif., O'Brien has competed in the American World Cup as an alpine skier, and she specializes in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. This is her first time competing in the Olympics.
Growing up, O'Brien loved watching the Olympics and World Cup Skiing.
"I think I would feel incredibly proud and honored to represent the U.S. on one of the greatest sporting stages, if not the greatest sporting stage," said O'Brien. "It's something I've dreamed about since I was young, and it's always been a goal of mine."
Robert Burns, 31, is a professional snowboarder and usually snowboards in the Men's Parallel Giant Slalom. He's competed in the 2019 FIS World Championships, the U.S. National Championships, and the U.S. Collegiate National Championships.
Burns was born and raised in Mount Shasta and found his passion for snowboarding on the slopes of Mount Shasta Ski Park at a young age. This will be his first time representing Team USA at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
According to Team USA, Keely Cashman, 22, is an Alpine skier born in Sonora, Calif., and raised in Strawberry, Calif. Cashman is currently on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team and has claimed both national and junior championships in 2018 and 2019. She competed in the North American Cup and captured first place in giant slalom at the National Championships last year.
Cashman's hobbies include road biking, paddle boarding, playing basketball, hiking, camping, hunting, playing guitar, drawing and baking.
Fremont, Calif. figure skater Karen Chen, 22, will be competing in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, representing Team USA. Chen won bronze twice in 2016 and in 2017, competing in the Challenger Series U.S. Classic. She won silver for the 2022 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Chen began ice skating at the age of four and started competing at the age of 6. She competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics, placing in 11th, and she'll be competing in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
From Sacramento to Park City, Utah, Ashley Farquharson, 22, is making moves to luge for Team USA for the first time at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. She already has a "Farquaad Starsquad" fanbase.
Checking off almost every competition one could compete in, Farquharson was a gold medalist in the 2013 Norton Youth B Seeding Races 1 and 2. She won a bronze medal for competing at the 2015 Norton Junior National Championships and a bronze medal for competing in the 2021 AFC U-23 World Championship singles race.
Born in Truckee, Calif. and raised in Alpine Meadows, Calif., Travis Ganong, 34, is a downhill Alpine skier for Team USA. The last time he competed in the Olympics was in 2014, and his most recent World Championship experience was in 2017 when he got 14th place in a super giant slalom and 25th place for downhill skiing.
Ganong is involved with American Downhiller, an organization dedicated to giving back by coaching the next generation of American Downhillers and his goal is to continue being one of the top-ranked skiers in the world while inspiring the next generation of American Downhillers.
Hannah Halvorsen ,23, is a cross-country skier for Team USA and was born and raised in Truckee, Calif. Halvorsen now lives in Alaska, and she competes in the cross-country cross freestyle, the sprint classic, the 5-kilometer freestyle, and the Nordic mixed team.
She is a twice-qualified Junior World Champion prior to making her Youth Olympic Games debut in Lillehammer, Norway. Two years ago, Halvorsen was crossing a street in downtown Anchorage and was hit by a Jeep, suffering a traumatic brain injury, breaking a tibia, and tearing her left MCL and PCL completely off of the bone. Although she still has no memory of the accident, Halvorsen recovered and is now headed to the Olympic Winter Games for the first time.
Dusty Henricksen is the second youngest of all Northern California competitors. He was born in San Bernardino, Calif. and raised in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Henricksen leaves no trail behind at the age of 18, winning 4th place in the Men's Snowboard Big Air and gold in the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games as well as winning gold in Slopestyle and Knuckle Huck in the 2021 Winter X Games. Shortly after, Henricksen became known as the first U.S. male snowboarder to win the Winter X Games slopestyle snowboarding competition since Shaun White in 2009.
Born in Truckee, Calif. and raised in Carnelian Bay, Calif., Amelia Josephine “AJ" Hurt, 21, is an alpine skier for Team USA. She made her World Cup debut in October of 2018 and competed in the World Championships in 2021.
Hurt initially started skiing because her dad was a ski patrol at Squaw Valley (formerly known as Palisades Tahoe), and she was a team member of their Ski Team. Hurt will be representing Team USA for the first time at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Maureen "Mo" Lebel, 23, is an alpine skier for Team USA, born and raised in Truckee, Calif.
Her mother Lori Lebel was a ski instructor at NorthStar Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, so skiing is already part of her family. Lebel's goal is to "one day leave the sport of ski racing feeling 110% fulfilled knowing that I have worked as hard as I possibly could in every situation both on and off the hill."
Alysa Liu began making a legacy for herself at a young age, now competing as a figure skater and securing that third and final spot in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games for the first time at the age of 16.
Born in Clovis, Calif. and raised in Richmond, Calif., Liu began skating at the age of five. You might know her from a triple axel she gracefully landed at the 2018 Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy, a feat accomplished while she was just 12 at the time. She became the first woman in the world to land a quad and triple axel in the same program at a competition at the USA 2019 Junior Grand Prix, and she became the youngest figure skater to win back-to-back U.S. titles in 2019 and 2020.
Carly Margulies, 24, is a freestyle skier, specializing in the Women's Freeski Halfpipe. Born in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., Margulies has competed in several AFP World Tours, U.S. Grand Prix, U.S. Revolution Tours, and USASA Revolution Tour Qualifiers. Carly has had a few medical setbacks, but now she's back and ready to advance her career even more.
"No matter how hard these setbacks have been, I have always had a dream ever since I was a little girl that I would one day represent the U.S. in the Olympics," Margulies said. "I persevered through so much pain and struggle because I knew it would one day pay off. and now we’re here and I just can’t believe it."
Joanne Reid, 28, is on Team USA's Biathlon team. Born in Madison, Wisc., and raised in Palo Alto, Calif., Reid competed in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games getting 86th in sprint, 22nd in individual, 15th in mixed relay, and 13th in relay.
Reid is also the daughter of 1980 Olympic speedskating bronze medalist Beth (Heiden) Reid, and the niece of Eric Heiden, a five-time Olympic gold medalist in speedskating. Reid continues the legacy by competing in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games, representing Team USA for the 2nd time as an Olympian.
James Clinton "JC" Schoonmaker, 21, is a Men's Cross-Country Skiier from Tahoe City, Calif. He had his World Cup debut in January of 2020, coming in 21st place in the Teamsprint Finals. He placed 76th in the 2020 Overall World Cup, and he placed 35th in the 2020 Sprint World Cup.
As of lately, Schoonmaker's been warming up to be part of Team USA in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, competing in various events and taking ski trips with his friends.
Brita Sigourney, 32, is a freestyle skier, specializing in halfpipe and representing Team USA at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Sigourney was born in Monterey, Calif., raised in Carmel, Calif., and attended the University of California, Davis where she studied graphic design. She began skiing at the age of two and joined a ski team at the age of eight.
Sigourney is a two-time Olympian, winning bronze in halfpipe at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and coming in sixth place at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Sigourney is beyond happy to have secured her Olympic spot at her team's last qualifier.
Tyler Wallasch is a 27-year-old skicross athlete from Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Wallasch is a jet setter, traveling the world to compete in various World Cup and World Championship competitions. When he's not out skiing down the snow in another country, he's back home at Mammoth Mountain.
Wallasch will be representing Team USA by competing in the 2022 U.S. Olympic Freeski Team, hoping to bring home the gold!
David Wise, 31, is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and a four-time X Games Gold Medalist, competing as a halfpipe freestyle skier. Born and raised in Reno, NV, he skis and trains in Tahoe, Calif. and he went to Truckee Meadows Community College, so he's always making moves across that California-Nevada border.
Wise began skiing at the age of three and was skiing professionally at the age of 18. He was initially following in his father’s footsteps as a ski racer, but then he turned to freestyle skiing when he was 11 years old. Now, Wise is a father and husband and is ready to continue making his family proud.
Vincent Zhou, 21, is a figure skater for Team USA's men's singles. Born in San Jose, Calif. and raised in Palo Alto, Calif., Zhou began skating at the age of five at a friend's birthday party.
Zhou competed in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, coming in sixth place in the individual category. He is also a 2019 World bronze medalist, a 2017 World Junior champion, and a U.S. silver medalist in 2017, 2019, and 2021.
HERE are the rest of the 221 athletes representing Team USA at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
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