With less than 100 days until the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, many Team USA hopefuls have begun their season and are hard at work with a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in their sights. For several of these hopefuls, their Olympic journey went through college, competing in sports other than what they hope to achieve Olympic glory in this February.
Here’s a look at five former student-athletes contending for spots on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team:
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Brittany Bowe, Long Track Speedskating, Florida Atlantic University
Coming from sunny Florida, Brittany Bowe credits her experience playing basketball at Florida Atlantic University as one of the reasons for her success on the ice.
"My experience at Florida Atlantic University, playing basketball, taught me so many lessons,” Bowe said at the Team USA Media Summit. “It was being a student-athlete, learning how to juggle your time, while being good in the workplace and being good on the court. Now, it's being good outside of the rink and inside of the rink. Hard work, for sure."
A three-year starter at FAU, Bowe is ingrained in the Owls’ record book with career assists and free throws made in a single game (15). The Florida native also earned Sun Belt All-Conference honors during her senior season.
As a long track speedskater, Bowe is a 2014 Olympian and four-time world champion (1,000-meter, 1,500-meter and two sprint titles). On the world cup stage, Bowe was crowned grand world cup champion in 2015 and has earned 45 world cup medals.
Nick Cunningham, Bobsled, Boise State University
Nick Cunningham transitioned to bobsled after graduating from Boise State in 2008, but not before making his mark on the Broncos’ track and field team as a student-athlete. The California native was a sprinter for Boise State, qualifying for the NCAA West Regionals in the 200-meter, and helped lead the Broncos to a sweep of the indoor and outdoor Western Athletic Conference Championships in 2006.
Cunningham credits his time at Boise State for helping prepare him for his bobsled success, which includes two Olympic appearances – first as a push athlete in 2010 and then as a driver in 2014 – and five world cup medals.
"It's the greatest school on the planet,” Cunningham said. “The second I got off that airplane [on my recruiting visit], I knew it was a place that I needed to be. Everything that I wanted in a university, they had. From a good athletic program to good academics. They really let me excel as a student-athlete. It was definitely a great experience for me."
Susan Dunklee, Biathlon, Dartmouth College
A dual-sport collegiate athlete, Susan Dunklee represented the Big Green in both track and skiing. Dunklee graduated from Dartmouth in 2008, after amassing two NCAA All-America honors in cross-country skiing and earning All-Ivy League honors in cross-country running as a freshman.
To Dunklee, Dartmouth helped mentally prepare her to continue her athletic career.
"Dartmouth was a wonderful place,” Dunklee said. “The ski team had so much depth. There was an amazing number of athletes that were training on a day-to-day basis, who are still skiing or continued skiing afterwards. The level was really high. It was a very professional approach to sport and it taught me a lot.”
Dunklee made her Olympic debut in 2014 before going on to win mass start silver at the 2017 world championships, becoming the first U.S. woman to win an individual medal at worlds. She has also earned four world cup medals.
Hilary Knight, Ice Hockey, University of Wisconsin
One of the most decorated women’s hockey student-athletes in Badger history, Hilary Knight still owns Wisconsin’s all-time points and goals record five years after graduating in 2012. A two-time NCAA champion, the Idaho native tallied a Wisconsin-record 47 goals during her junior year and was named an AHCA Division I All-American multiple times during her illustrious collegiate career.
Knight attributes her success at the international level to her experience playing hockey at the University of Wisconsin, with the high-level competition preparing her for her success on the Olympic stage.
"My time at the University of Wisconsin changed my life athletically in so many ways. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had my experience as a Badger,” Knight said. “Personally, the relationships that I made both on and off campus, in the community, are still ones that I keep today."
In international play, Knight has earned two Olympic silver medals, nine world championship medals – including seven golds – and five Four Nations Cup titles.
Evan Weinstock, Bobsled, Brown University
Evan Weinstock got his start as a stand-out track star at Brown University, where he set school records in the decathlon and won the Ivy League heptagonal championship his junior and senior years. The Nevada native also picked up an NCAA All-America honorable mention his senior, year as well.
Having multiple scholarship offers coming out of high school in both football and track, Weinstock felt Brown could offer him the best of both worlds when it came to athletic and academic opportunities.
"I chose Brown University because it gave me a balance between great academics and athletics,” Weinstock said. “I was able to compete Division I in track and field, but also get a top-notch Ivy League degree."
Since entering the international bobsled world in 2015, Weinstock has earned seven North American Cup podium finishes and four top-10 world cup finishes as a brakeman.