7 Medals for Olympians with Texas Ties

Texas isn't known as a Winter Olympic state; with 100-degree summers and minimal snow --- not counting this winter --- it's not hard to understand why.

So going into the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, finding athletes with Texas ties took a little work, but NBCDFW identified 10 athletes to watch.

By the time the torch was extinguished on Sunday night, athletes with Texas ties took home seven medals in all.

The hometown "one to watch" was no doubt Jordan Malone. Malone brings home the bronze medal to Denton. Malone was part of the medal-winning team in the 5000m relay on the last Friday of the Olympics.

"It's surreal," Malone said of winning the bronze medal. "Having the support of my town has been everything for me."

Another Texan to watch was Spring's Chad Hedrick, the two-time Olympian skated in his last Olympics in Vancouver.

Hedrick took the bronze medal in the 1000m during the first week of the Olympics, while Shani Davis took gold.

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Hedrick's biggest win came in the team pursuit. Hedrick and the rookie Olympians weren't favored going into the quarterfinals, when they out-skated Japan. Then in the semifinals, Hedrick and Team USA upset the top-seeded team from the Netherlands led by Dutch superstar Sven Kramer.

Hedrick and Team USA skated to a silver medal in the finals on Saturday, one day before the closing ceremony.

With Saturday's silver, Hedrick finishes his Olympic career with five medals, tying Eric Heiden for most medals by a male U.S. long track speed skater. Heiden's five gold medals were all won at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. Hedrick takes home one gold, two silver and two bronze medals won in Vancouver and Torino.

Hedrick plans to come home to Texas with his wife Lynsey and daughter Hadley. Hedrick said he doesn't know what's ahead for him in retirement but he hopes it is sports-related and hinted at a career in broadcasting.

"I hope that I'll have the same passion for what I do after skating for what I did for my sport," Hedrick said of the next chapter of his life. "I know I'm going to have a lot of energy, a lot of determination, and be very motivated to be the best I can be at whatever it is that I choose, just like I do in speed skating."

San Antonio's Justin Olsen and the team known as "Night Train" shared in Olympic glory with a gold medal performance in four-man bobsled. The win was historic, it had been 62 years since the Americans had won Olympic gold in the four-man bobsled. Olsen along with pilot Steve Holcomb, Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Mesler navigated the treacherous track and the dreaded 50-50 curve and even set new track records on their way to gold.

Olsen hopes his Texas ties inspire young athletes to look to winter sports like bobsled.

"I think it could.  The fact that we’re from all over the country is good," Olsen said. "I got into this sport because one of the drivers was just touring around Texas and said ‘We’re having a tryout’ so not very many people know about it, but if you take a chance, maybe you’ll win a gold medal!"

University of Texas graduate Helen Upperton was able to grab silver in women's bobsled for Canada. Upperton and teammate Shelley-Ann Brown who was a track athlete at Nebraska had the second fastest time on the track, Team Canada took gold and silver in the event.

Hockey delivered the last two medals for Dallas Stars playing for their home countries. Stars forward Jere Lehtinen and Team Finland beat Slovakia in the bronze medal round on Saturday.

The big medal win came for Brenden Morrow and Team Canada against Team USA in a dramatic overtime victory just hours before the closing ceremony. It was the most-watched U.S. hockey match in 30 years. The Dallas Stars left winger and team captain is expected to be back on the ice as the Stars take on the Los Angeles Kings on home ice March 2.

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