By Kevin O’Connor/VTDigger
Two Vermont-trained gold medalists will join almost two dozen other athletes with ties to the Green Mountain State at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
Mikaela Shiffrin, who learned alpine skiing at Burke Mountain Academy, and Jessie Diggins, who trains for cross-country in Stratton, are set to compete at the event Feb. 4-20.
The 26-year-old Shiffrin, who won gold in 2014 and 2018 as well as Killington’s World Cup in November, hopes to race in all five women’s alpine disciplines after testing positive for Covid-19 in December.
Diggins, for her part, is seeking to add to her own success at the 2018 games, where the now 30-year-old won the United States’ first-ever Olympic cross-country gold medal.
In addition to Shiffrin, alpine skiing will feature three other athletes with Vermont connections:
1. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, 29, of Starksboro, who’s returning to his second Olympics after breaking his neck a year ago. His mother, Barbara Ann Cochran of Richmond’s Cochran’s Ski Area, won slalom gold at the 1972 Winter Games.
2. Paula Moltzan, 27, a former UVM student and NCAA champion who’s set to become the oldest U.S. women’s alpine skier to make her Olympic debut in nearly 75 years.
3. Nina O’Brien, 24, who boasts schooling at Burke Mountain Academy and Dartmouth College.
In addition to Diggins, cross-country will feature five other athletes with Vermont ties:
1. Julia Kern, 24, a graduate of Stratton Mountain School and Dartmouth College who trains with Diggins.
2. Sophia Laukli, 21, a former Middlebury College student now at the University of Utah.
3. Ben Ogden, 21, a Stratton Mountain School graduate and University of Vermont student from Landgrove.
4. Caitlin Patterson, 31, of Craftsbury, who with her brother Scott (listed below) are graduates of UVM and competed in the 2018 Olympics.
5. Scott Patterson, 29, who unlike his sister Caitlin noted above, now lives in Anchorage, Alaska.
Biathlon features six athletes with state connections:
1. Jake Brown, 29, of Craftsbury, who’s making his Olympic debut.
2. Sean Doherty, 26, a Guard member and two-time Olympian in 2014, 2018.
3. Susan Dunklee, 35, of Craftsbury, a 2014 and 2018 competitor whose father, Stan Dunklee, cross-country skied in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics.
4. Clare Egan, 34, a 2018 Olympian and member of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project.
5. Deedra Irwin, 29, a Guard member from Jericho.
6. Leif Nordgren, 32, a Guard member from Hinesburg and Olympian in 2014 and 2018.
Freestyle skiing will feature five athletes with Vermont connections:
1. Caroline Claire, 21, of Manchester, a Stratton Mountain School graduate who was the youngest Vermonter on the 2018 U.S. Olympic team.
2. Mac Forehand, 20, a Stratton Mountain School graduate who at age 17 won the World Cup slopestyle title for the 2018-19 season.
3. Devin Logan, 28, of West Dover, a 2014 slopestyle silver medalist and 2018 Olympian.
4. Megan Nick, 25, of Shelburne, who grew up hoping to compete in Olympic gymnastics.
5. Hannah Soar, 22, of, a graduate of Killington Mountain School.
Snowboarding will feature two athletes with Vermont connections:
1. Alex Deibold, 35, a Stratton Mountain School graduate and 2014 Olympic snowboard-cross bronze medalist.
2. Lindsey Jacobellis, 36, a Stratton Mountain School graduate and 2006 snowboard-cross silver medalist who will be tying a U.S. women’s record by attending her fifth Olympics.
Several athletes with Vermont ties will compete for other nations.
In alpine skiing: Michel Macedo, a Middlebury College junior, will represent his home country of Brazil for a second straight Olympics. Ali Nullmeyer, a Middlebury College sophomore, will represent her home country of Canada. Laurence St. Germain, a UVMt graduate, will represent her home country of Canada for a second straight Olympics.
In ski cross: Kevin Drury, a University of Vermont graduate, will represent his home country of Canada for a second straight Olympics.
And in hockey, Natálie Mlnková and Tynka Pátková, current University of Vermont players, and Samantha Kolowrat, a UVM alumna, will play for the Czech Republic.