Posted 6 months ago
By Robert Lovell
Rosemont, Ill. — Eighteen current and former Big Ten student-athletes, coaches and university students earned 20 Olympic medals at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games held February 7-23 in Sochi, Russia. The conference brought home medals in both men’s and women’s ice hockey, bobsled and ice dancing, including five gold, 11 silver and four bronze. Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin each saw its Olympic competitors bring home medals. Minnesota led all schools with five participants and one coach medaling, while participants from Michigan and Wisconsin took home five medals each.
The Big Ten was well represented in the women’s ice hockey final, as the United States challenged Canada in the gold-medal game. The Canadians came out on top, 3-2, in an overtime contest for the gold behind the play of former Ohio State forward Natalie Spooner and former Wisconsin defenseman Meaghan Mikkelson. Fellow Badgers Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight and Jessie Vetter and former Gophers Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Anne Schleper took home the silver skating for the United States. Current student-athletes Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein and assistant coach Robb Stauber, all from Minnesota, also earned silver as members of Team USA.
On the men’s side, two Big Ten representatives took part in the final, with Canada defeating Sweden, 3-0. Former Michigan State student-athlete Duncan Keith helped Team Canada to the gold medal, while former Michigan standout Carl Hagelin took home the silver skating for Sweden.
In ice dancing, Meryl Davis and Charlie White added four medals to the Wolverines’ lot. The pair became the first American ice dancing duo to capture Olympic gold. They also helped Team USA to a bronze medal in the inaugural team figure skating competition.
Former Illinois track & field athlete Aja Evans and Nebraska football player Curtis Tomasevicz each earned bronze medals in bobsled. Evans placed third in the USA-2 sled, helping Team USA to two medals in women’s bobsledding for the first time. Tomasevicz was part of the USA-1 team that snagged the bronze medal in four-man bobsled with a time of 3:40.99, beating Russia-2 by 0.03 seconds.
Big Ten student-athletes and coaches have been a part of the Olympic experience on more than 1,370 occasions, including many taking multiple trips to the international event. That list of conference standouts has accumulated at least 480 medals, including 248 gold.