TSB’s Guide to the Vancouver Olympics



By: Melissa S. Wollering

As the Midwest’s premiere sports website, we wouldn’t leave you hanging by one of five multi-colored rings prior to Opening Ceremonies.  We know you want to watch Olympians from the Great Lakes region and sports you’ve only dreamed of trying, like the luge.  No wait; the bobsled.  No, definitely the luge.

You might start to make excuses as to why you’re not available for the next month or so, while in reality, you’re just spending copious amounts of time watching hot alpine ski chicks and the snowboarder who resembles Carrot Top but is called the Flying Tomato. Welcome to your Guide to the Vancouver Olympics!

We’ll break this GIANT preview down into three digestible parts over the next three days to get you excited.

Wednesday: Athletes Worth Watching from Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin

Thursday: TV Channel Breakdown and Day-by-Day Previews for Ultimate Couch Potatoes

Friday: Name That Flag, A Guide to the Coolest Countries’ Sky Bling

Today, we give you reasons to watch regardless of where you live in the Midwest. Minnesota is sending 21 athletes to the Olympics, more than any other state in the U.S.

Minneosta rocks in Curling.  Competing for the men are John Shuster and Jason Smith from Chisholm, Jeff Isaacson and Chris Plys from Duluth and John Benton from St. Michael. For the women, Natalie Nicholson and Allison Pottinger join three Wisconsinites listed below to create ultimate Midwest domination.

Minnesota also boasts five men and three women representing Team USA in Hockey. David Backes, Erik Jonson, Jamie Langenbrunner, Zach Parise and Paul Martin play for the guys. Natalie Darwitz, Jenny Potter and Gigi Marvin round out the ladies.

In the luge, cheer for Tony Benshoof from White Bear Lake, competing in Men’s Singles. In Speedskating, watch for Rebekah Bradford from Apple Valley, competing in the 500m and 1000m. If you catch the Ladies’ Super Combined and the Ladies’ Slalom events, wait to see Kaylin Richardson from Edina.

From Snowy Wisconsin…

If you’ve read our feature stories on Janesville, Wisconsin native Tucker Fredricks, you know he’s one of the favorites for Team USA gold in the 500m in Speedskating. Mark your calendars for primetime starting at 5 p.m. CST Monday, February 15th to cheer Tucker on!

We’ve also introduced you to Wisconsin’s Deb McCormick—skip of Team USA Women’s Curling—along with her fellow teammates from the Badger State Nicole Joraanstad and Tracy Sachtjen. These women have the experience of a gold medal team and they are certainly capable of taking one home this month. Mark your calendars for February 16th, at 4 p.m. on CNBC.

You could literally create a co-ed hockey team, with multiples lines of players, out of the Olympic athletes from Wisconsin. Seven former UW Women’s Hockey team members and their coach Mark Johnson are representing Team USA. Four UW Men’s Hockey alumns (including Dany Heatley and Joe Pavelski) and another Wisconsinite Phil Kessel will all represent Team USA as well.

Alpine Skiing’s Lindsay Vonn is not from the Midwest, but her grandparents are.  Her status is being monitored after she suffered a deep muscle bruise during a training run last week. If she’s able to compete, it could severely hurt her chances for medaling. If she skis, her first opportunity is Valentine’s Day.  So that could perk up your Sunday.

And Illinois represents as well…

Finally a member of the bobsled team!  Kiss my lucky egg, Sanka! Dang, that’s Jamaica.  Jamie Moriarty from Glencoe is a member of Team USA Bobsled. Meantime, the infamous Blackhawk Patrick Kane, along with two women from Illinois, will play for Men’s and Women’s Team USA Hockey. 

In figure skating, Ben Agosto from Chicago and Evan Lysacek from Naperville will dominate their sport.  Lysacek  has the best chance to medal for Team USA in this sport and he’ll compete in primetime February 16th.

And not one but SIX speedskaters from Illinois will make Stephen Colbert proud, including Shani Davis, Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck, Nancy Swider-Peltz, Katherine Reutter and Lana Gehring. Between the six, they call four Illinois cities home including Wheaton, Champaign, Glenview and Chicago.

Check back again this week for:

Thursday: TV Channel Breakdown and Day-by-Day Previews for Ultimate Couch Potatoes

Friday: Name That Flag, A Guide to the Coolest Countries’ Sky Bling


  1. Do we really need to claim Shani Davis in the Chi? Can’t someone else have him?

  2. mswollering says

    Heard he’s a jerk, is that true? Who says anything ill of Colbert anyway? We can send Davis to Rhode Island or something to give them more Olympians per capita…haha.

  3. he does seem to be a bit of a douche. Hails from Evanston specifically btw

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