Four Texans will join the Team USA at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. And five others competing in PyeongChang, South Korea, have some Texas connection.
Jonathan Garcia, who grew up in Katy, will compete in speed skating. Garcia will take the ice in the 500 meter and team pursuit. Garcia started his skating career as an inline skater.
Sam McGuffie, of Houston is a push athlete, tasked with rocketing the heavy sled off the starting line. McGuffie joins Evan Weinstock and Steve Langton on the push crew. McGuffie was also selected to be Codie Bascue's brakeman in two-man.
28-year-old McGuffie started his athletic career as a football and track and field star at Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas. He also played football in college before spending time in both the National Football League and the Canadian Football League.
Justin Olsen, of San Antonio, was selected alongside Codie Bascue and Nick Cunningham to pilot the three Team USA sleds.
At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Olsen, 30, was a push athlete for Steven Holcomb’s Night Train four-man crew that won gold, the first for a U.S. men’s sled since 1948. He later lost 35 pounds after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, to be come a bobsled driver. Olsen was born in Lubbock and raised in San Antonio.
Katie Uhlaender, who hails from McGregor, will once again join Team USA in skeleton.
Uhlaender, a three-time Olympian, finished sixth at the 2006 Torino Games, 11th at the 2010 Vancouver Games and fourth at the 2014 Sochi Games.
TEXAS CONNECTS US
Ashley Caldwell is a freestyle skier who has become a force to be reckoned with in women's aerials. She became the first U.S. woman to perform a full, full, full and land herself a 10th place finish at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Caldwell has never lived in Texas but her family now lives in Houston.
Aimee Buchanan moved to North Texas from Massachusetts to train with Peter and Darlene Cain at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Euless. She has dual citizenship and skates for Israel where she was the 2016 Israeli National Champion.
Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere will represent Nigeria after becoming the first-ever African bobsled team to qualify for the Olympics.
Formerly a track athlete, Adigun decided to create the Nigerian bobsled program from scratch right here in Texas. She first saw the movie 'Cool Runnings' as a child and first saw bobsled on TV during the 2014 Winter Olympics. When she saw all three push athletes came from the summer sport of track and field, she decided to try bobsled.
With a makeshift wooden bobsled, she recruited fellow track and field stars, Omeoga and Onwumere, to join her in Houston to train. Until now, Nigeria did not have an active bobsled program and never sent an athlete to the Winter Olympics.
2018 Winter Olympics begin Feb. 9 and run through Feb. 25.