Gretchen Bleiler is one of the names you need to know when the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics gets going early next month. Gretchen Bleiler received a lot of publicity in October of 2011 when she appeared in ESPN the magazine’s “Body Issue.” Although the main star of that show was soccer star Hope Solo, pretty much naked almost on the cover.
32-year-old Gretchen Bleiler is an halfpipe snowboarder from Toledo who currently resides in Aspen.
Gretchen Bleiler became professional in 1996. She won more halfpipe competitions in 2003, 2005 and 2006 than any other female snowboarder. In the pre-Olympic season she won four of the five US Olympic halfpipe qualifiers and is also a four-time X Games gold medalist. Gretchen posed for the February 2004 issue of FHM, along with fellow snowboarder Tara Dakides and sportscaster Jamie Little.
Bleiler, who missed qualifying for the 2002 Winter Olympics due to a tiebreaker, won a silver medal in the women’s halfpipe at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
While competing in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, many considered Gretchen Bleiler a gold medal favorite. However, she fell on both of her final runs, and took 11th place.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments discussing: Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Bears and Bulls on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)