Feb 3, 2010 6:56 PM by Greg Boyce

More than 200 U.S. athletes head for Olympic Games

The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Thursday its team members for competition at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. Team USA consists of 216 athletes, including 123 men and 93 women.

"America's finest athletes are ready to captivate our country once again in anticipation of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver," said USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun. "The 216 athletes we have officially entered into competition will provide inspiration for Americans young and old, and our athletes will do so with the pride and honor that is inherent in representing the United States of America."

Highlighting the list are three Olympians heading to their fifth Winter Games. Luge athlete Mark Grimmette (Muskegon, Mich.) and Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) have been named to five consecutive U.S. Olympic Teams (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010). Casey Puckett (Aspen, Colo.) competed in four straight Winter Games as an alpine skier (1992, 1994, 1998, 2002). He retired from the U.S. Alpine Ski Team in 2002 before returning to the slopes to try out ski cross, which makes its Olympic debut in Vancouver. Grimmette, Lodwick and Puckett join former bobsledder and current men's bobsled head coach Brian Shimer as the only five-time U.S. Olympians to compete in a Winter Games in history.

Including Grimmette, Lodwick and Puckett, Team USA features 87 returning Olympians. The 2010 U.S. Olympic Team boasts 12 four-time Olympians, 22 three-time Olympians and 50 two-time Olympians. Eighty Olympians return from the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, where the U.S. finished second in the overall medal count with 25. Included in the 87 returning Olympians is luge athlete Bengt Walden (Northbridge, Mass.) who qualified for his fourth Winter Games, but only his first with Team USA. Walden competed for Sweden in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

Among the 216 members of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team, 31 have won Olympic medals in previous Winter Games, with a total of 48 Olympic medals among them (12 gold, 20 silver and 16 bronze). Team USA features one five-time Olympic medalist, three three-time medalists and seven two-time medalists. Short track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno (Seattle, Wash.) leads the way as the most decorated returning Olympian. The two-time Olympic athlete has earned five medals: two gold, one silver and two bronze. Ohno is currently tied with long track speedskater Eric Heiden for the most medals won by a male U.S. athlete at a Winter Games (five), and Ohno is one medal away from tying the record for the most medals won by any U.S. athlete in a Winter Games, a record held by long track speedskater Bonnie Blair (six).

Twenty-four years separate the oldest and youngest 2010 U.S. Olympians. Curlers Tracy Sachtjen (Lodi, Wis.) and John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) were named to their first Olympic team at 40 years young. Also first-time Olympians are the youngest members of Team USA at 16 years of age: freestyle aerialist Ashley Caldwell (Hamilton, Va.), and figure skaters Mirai Nagasu (Arcadia, Calif.) and Caydee Denney (Wesley Chapel, Fla.).

The Olympics begin on February 12 and run through the 28th with extensive coverage planned on News First 5.


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