Twenty-three members of Team USA have ties to Minnesota; state has third-highest number of hometown athletes  

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) introduced a Senate resolution commending the Minnesotans who competed on Team USA in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Klobuchar and Smith said that there are 23 members of Team USA that have ties to communities across Minnesota and that together, those athletes collected three gold medals and a bronze medal. Minnesota boasts the third-highest number of hometown athletes in the country, including Jessie Diggins of Afton, Minnesota, who took home the U.S.’s first ever gold medal in cross-country skiing and was chosen by the members of Team USA as the United States flagbearer for the Olympic closing ceremony.

“We have always known that our state produces some of the most talented winter Olympians, and we proved that to the world in PyeongChang,” Klobuchar said. “This year, Minnesotans led the way for Team USA, making history in hockey, curling, and cross-country skiing, and with 14 individual athletes winning medals. I want to congratulate all the members of Team USA who competed at the Olympic Games, but especially those from Minnesota, who kept us up late glued to the TV, and made us all so proud.” 

“Once a Minnesotan can walk, you can bet his or her parents will try to get them on skis, skates, or on the curling rink. That early start, and not to mention the fact that Minnesotans are the hardest working and most resilient people I know, helps explain why 23 of our athletes took part in this year’s Winter Games,” Smith said. “I’m amazed, but not at all that surprised, by the accomplishments of Minnesotans. And I’m glad that the world had the chance to witness what I see every day in my job as Senator—Minnesotans doing amazing things.”

Other athletes with Minnesota ties include eight members of the women’s Olympic hockey team, who beat Canada to win the first Olympic gold medal for the team since 1998. Those Olympians are Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Amanda Kessel, Gigi Marvin, Sidney Morin, Kelly Pannek, Maddie Rooney, and Lee Stecklein. The men’s curling team also defeated Sweden to win the first ever gold medal for Team USA in curling; the team featured Minnesotans John Shuster, Tyler George, John Landsteiner, and Joe Polo. St. Paul, Minnesota native Lindsey Vonn, a member of the Buck Hill Ski Team, won a bronze medal in downhill skiing, making her a three-time Olympic medalist. Olympians Will Borgen, Cory Christensen, Rosie Frankowski, Aileen Geving, Annie Hart, Leif Nordgren, Tabitha Peterson, Ryan Stoa, and David Chodounsky also all have ties to Minnesota.