The women of Team USA made their mark at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Of the 108 women representing the U.S in South Korea, 45 competed collegiately at 25 different schools.
American women who also competed as collegiate student-athletes made history in bobsled, cross-country skiing, ice hockey and long track speedskating last month. Learn more about their notable performances:
Cross-Country Skiers Rewrite History
Jessie Diggins and Alaska Pacific’s Kikkan Randall made history after winning Team USA’s first women’s cross-country medal, a gold, with a victory in the team sprint. The duo crossed the finish in 15:56.47 to reach the top of the podium. It also marked the first gold medal for the U.S. and the country’s first cross-country medal since 1976.
Randall, a five-time Olympian, relished the chance to win an Olympic medal in a team race.
“In 2013, when we won the world championships, I saw that a team gold is worth far more than any individual accolade,” Randall said. “What really kept me going over the last four years was trying to contribute to a team medal.”
Women’s Ice Hockey Brings Home First Gold In Two Decades
For the first time since 1998, the U.S. women’s ice hockey team took home the gold medal with a dramatic 3-2 shootout victory over Canada. All 23 U.S. athletes skated collegiately at nine NCAA institutions, with 13 athletes lacing up for their first Olympic Winter Games.
The U.S. was led in goal by current Minnesota-Duluth student-athlete Maddie Rooney, who recorded 87 saves during the tournament and yielded only a 1.16 goals against average. On the offensive end, Minnesota’s Dani Cameranesi and North Dakota’s Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson led the team in total points with five. Lamoureux-Davidson scored the most goals with four each and Wisconsin’s Brianna Decker tallied the most assists with three.
As for what the win will do for women’s hockey in the U.S., Wisconsin’s Hilary Knight noted, “I hope the growth of it explodes. I hope we can go back and share this success, and I hope the young girls that are watching get inspired and want to do essentially what we did 20 years later after watching the 1998 Olympics.”
Long Track Speedskaters Return To The Podium
Florida Atlantic’s Brittany Bowe made history in South Korea after winning a bronze medal in the team pursuit alongside teammates Heather Bergsma, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens. The medal marks Team USA’s first Olympic medal in women’s long track speedskating since 2002, and the first team pursuit medal since the event debuted in 2006.
"I’m feeling blessed to be here. Couldn't have done it without the team, and happy to do it with these fine ladies,” Bowe said of the medal-winning performance. “It has taken an army to get me here, it's taken an army to get these three other ladies here. We couldn't have done it without each other. It's great to be a part of Team USA."
During her stint in PyeongChang, Bowe also racked up top-five finishes in all three of her individual events.
Bobsledders Win Third-Consecutive Olympic Medal
Following her silver-medal performance in PyeongChang, George Washington’s Elana Meyers Taylor found herself on the podium for the third-straight Games. The former softball student-athlete and Brown’s Lauren Gibbs finished with a time of 3:22.52, just 0.07 seconds behind Germany.
"The women's team has been so successful, and it's an honor to live up to the legacy,” said Meyers Taylor. “We've won a medal at every single Olympics, so that's what we knew we had to come out and do."
The speed and power forged in their college days helped propel the U.S. women bobsled athletes to success in PyeongChang. The U.S. remains the only nation to medal at every Games since women’s bobsled made its Olympic debut in 2002.
Second-Chance Success For Nagasu And Sigourney
Former California Davis club water polo athlete Brita Sigourney took home bronze in halfpipe skiing after posting a score of 91.60 in her third and final run. Sigourney finished sixth in Sochi, where her event made its first Olympic appearance.
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs student Mirai Nagasu helped Team USA to a team figure skating bronze, skating for the U.S. in the women’s short program, where she became the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympic Winter Games (and only the third woman from any nation). Nagasu had finished fourth in the individual women’s competition eight years prior in Vancouver.