Feb 4, 2022 - Sports

Minnesotans go for the gold at the Winter Olympic Games

Photo illustration of a collage featuring, from left, curler John Shuster, skier Jessie Diggins and hockey player Hannah Brandt.

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photos: Stacy Revere, Vianney Thibaut and Kevin Light/Getty Images

Minnesota is well represented as the Winter Olympic Games officially get underway in Beijing Friday.

State of play: At least 23 athletes competing for Team USA list a Minnesota hometown on the roster β€” even more have ties to the state.

Why it matters: Remember how fun it was to cheer Suni Lee and our other home-state Olympians last summer? We get to do it all over again β€” with snow and ice!

Who to watch: Plenty of Minnesotans are considered in a position to make the podium.

  • Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins, an Afton resident who grew up in St. Paul, is defending her stunning 2018 gold medal win.
  • Curler John Shuster, a Chisholm native, is hoping to lead the men's team to another gold.
  • And 13 Minnesotans β€” seven men and six women β€” fill the rosters of the USA's top-ranked hockey teams.

The Omicron effect: Unfortunately, these aren't your typical Winter Games. The pandemic prompted strict COVID-19 testing protocols and no fans from abroad are allowed in the stands. That means even family members of athletes had to stay home.

What they're saying: Curler Tara Peterson told Torey it's a "bit of a bummer" that American fans, including her husband, have to cheer for afar. But the Eagan dentist is determined to not let that damper her first Olympics.

  • "We're definitely capable of being on the podium," she said of the team, which also includes her sister Tabitha. "It's just a matter of playing as best as we can. And also having luck go a little bit our way."

The bottom line: Let's go for the gold, Minnesota!

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