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00000179-c810-d4c2-a579-fdd2fe840003The 2018 Winter Olympics kick off Feb. 8 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and over a dozen Olympians have ties to Vermont, with many more having trained or gone to school here.In fact, Vermont is tied for sixth among states sending the most Olympic athletes in Team USA this year (Colorado takes first, in case you were curious!)Meet The 2018 Vermont OlympiansTo help you keep track of local athletes as they compete in Pyeongchang, we've gathered their bios by team:Alpine Skiing | Biathlon | Bobsleigh & Luge | Cross-Country Skiing | Freestyle Skiing | Ice Hockey | Snowboard We'll be keeping track of the results every weekday morning on the Sports Report and on VPR's Facebook and Twitter accounts.Vermonter Mikaela Shiffrin at last year's Alpine Skiing World Championships. Her first event in Pyeongchang is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12.

A Vermont Guide To The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Jonathan Hayward
Snowboarders practice in Pyeongchang, South Korea in advance of the Winter Olympics.

Our region has 28 athletes in the mix: Vermont is in the upper echelon of representation with 13 athletes, and another 15 with ties to the area.

That puts us tied for sixth with Massachusetts:

  1. Colorado: 31;
  2.  California: 22;
  3. Minnesota: 19;
  4.  New York: 18;
  5. Utah: 16;
  6. Vermont and Massachusetts: 13

But who are these 28 athletes? What are the events to watch? Who are the familiar faces? The rising stars? And who might you share an alma mater or hometown with?
Here's a quick rundown on this year's games and the Vermont Olympians.

As snowboarding moves west, we're dominating cross-country

Over the past two Winter Olympics, Vermont has become a bigger factor in cross-country skiing and biathlon while dropping back in alpine and snowboarding.

A third of our Olympians are Nordic skiers while biathlon (4) now almost as many competitors as alpine (4).

Meet The 2018 Vermont Olympians: Alpine Skiing | Biathlon | Bobsleigh & Luge| Cross-Country Skiing| Freestyle Skiing | Ice Hockey | Snowboard

Vermont was once the epicenter for snowboarding but that has shifted to California and Colorado. This year only two members of the US snowboarding team — Kelly Clark and Lindsey Jacobellis— have ties to Vermont.

Credit Morry Gash / AP/File
Kelly Clark, left, on the podium at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Both are among those who are returning medalists to the games. In total, there are five out of the 28 from our region that have previously won a medal at a past Winter Olympics:

  • Kelly Clark — 2002 gold in snowboard halfpipe; bronze in 2010 and 2014
  • Lindsey Jacobellis — 2006 silver in snowboard cross
  • Mikaela Shiffrin — 2014 gold in slalom
  • Andrew Weibrecht — 2010 bronze in Super G; 2014 silver in Super G
  • Devin Logan — 2014 silver in freestyle slopestyle

Credit Rick Bowmer / AP/File
Cross-country skiier Jessie Diggins, seen here during a Team USA event in September, is expected to do well in Pyeongchang after a successful run a last year's World Championships.

Then there are those who seem  to be poised to join their ranks, including:

  • Jessie Diggins, Stratton Mountain — who won silver and bronze at last year’s cross-country World Championships, giving her four medals at the World Championships. She won a test race for the 2019 World Championships coming into Pyeongchang and is ranked third in overall World Cup standings. She could be the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal in cross-country. (Bill Koch won silver for the men in 1976).
  • Lowell Bailey, Lake Placid — Last year he became the first American to win gold at the Biathlon World Championships. He teamed with Vermonter Susan Dunklee to finish third in the single-mixed relay in the recent European championships. No U.S. athlete has medaled in biathlon before.
  • Susan Dunklee, Barton, Vermont — became first American woman to medal in the biathlon World Championships when she won silver in 2017.
  • Sophie Caldwell, Peru, Vermont — comes into Pyeongchang having tied for first in a 2019 test event for the cross-country World Championships in freestyle sprint.

College connections

Among the 28, Dartmouth College has six of its athletes included, while the University of Vermont has five. Simi Hamilton is Middlebury College’s lone Olympian.

But the Panthers have two alums on the USA coaching staff: Matt Whitcomb is the women’s Nordic head coach and Forest Carey is the men’s alpine head technical coach.

In addition, four UVM athletes are competing for other countries:

  • Viktor Stalberg in hockey for Sweden
  • Laurence St. Germain in alpine skiing for Canada
  • Kevin Drury in freestyle skiing for Canada
  • Jonathan Nordbotten in alpine skiing for Norway

Explore More Olympics 2018 Coverage

Andy Gardiner is a former sports writer for USA Today and the Burlington Free Press, who lives in Burlington.
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