LAKE PLACID, New York — There has never been an Olympic Winter Games in which at least one Lake Placid, N.Y. area athletes hasn’t competed. As a mater a fact, the very first winter Olympic medal ever awarded, gold, was to Lake Placid native and speedskater Charles Jewtraw, during the 1924 games in Chamonix, France. This February, there will be a dozen area athletes competing in Vancouver/Whistler, Canada for American pride and Lake Placid legacy, all of whom honed their skills on the Lake Placid Olympic venues.
Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.) will be a first-time Olympian in Vancouver, Canada. Weibrecht’s career-highlights include a 2008 10th place World Cup downhill finish in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) will be heading off to Vancouver to compete in his second Olympic Winter Games. Bailey also raced in the 2006 winter games in Torino, Italy, where he helped lead the U.S. team to a ninth place finish in the relay competition.
Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) is also on his way to his second Olympics. Burke, who competed four years ago in Torino, made history earlier this season, becoming the first American to claim the World Cup biathlon’s Yellow Bib, as its overall series leader.
Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, N.Y.), is looking forward to her first Olympic Winter Games. Haley enjoyed a strong performance last season at the world championships, held in Pyeong Chang, Korea, where she helped anchor the U.S. women’s squad to a 10th place finish in the relay event.
John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) is eying his first Olympic Winter Games after winning a two-man World Cup gold medal on his home track in Lake Placid, N.Y., this season. Napier also won two, four-man World Cup medals in 2009-10, silver in Lake Placid and bronze in Koenigssee, Germany.
Ashley Caldwell (Lake Placid, N.Y.) is only 16-years-old and is making her first U.S. Olympic freestyle team. This year, Caldwell finished a career-best 10th in a World Cup event held in Deer Valley, Utah.
Mark Grimmette (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Brian Martin (Lake Placid, N.Y.), are looking forward to their fourth Olympics together. The two have won a pair of Olympic medals, bronze in 1998 and silver in 2002. They are also USA Luge’s all-time leaders in international medals won. This is Grimmette’s fifth Olympics and Martin’s fourth.
Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), is making his Olympic debut in Vancouver. Mazdzer is five-time Junior World Cup medalist and three-time U.S. junior national champion.
Bengt Walden (Lake Placid, N.Y.), is looking forward to his second Olympic Winter Games. In 2002, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Walden slid for team Sweden. He is the reigning U.S. men’s national champion.
Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.) is eying his fourth Olympics after having competed in Torino (2006), Salt Lake City (2002) and Nagano, Japan (1998). Demong is a reigning 2009 World champion.
Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) will make the jumping from competing on the Continental Cup tour to the Olympic Winter Games. The 17-year-old grabbed a spot on the U.S. Olympic squad with a top-20 Continental Cup finish in Sapporo, Japan earlier this month.
Many local and area athletes have their sights set on competing in Olympic games someday. The road to the games is not only physically challenging, but monetarily challenging, as well. The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) would like to remind state taxpayers that they can aid our Olympians in attaining their goals in two ways. One may utilize the tax check-off located on line 54 of the New York State income tax return, as well as, purchase license plates featuring the distinctive Olympic rings that proclaim “Olympic Spirit” and “USA”.
Sign up for athlete updates and Whiteface Lake Placid promotions. Throughout this Olympic year we will be watching our athletes closely and when they perform well, everybody wins. For more information, log on to http://www.whiteface.com/athletes.php. For more information on Whiteface and the Olympic Regional Development Authority’s (ORDA) Olympic venues, log on to www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.