Not many people can relate to the dedication and sacrifice it takes to become an Olympic athlete – that is, unless you are one. So it’s easy to see why elite athletes form relationships with other athletes, even if the flag they compete for is different than their own.
In honor of Canadian Thanksgiving on Oct. 14, we take a look at 8 U.S. Olympians who are dating, engaged or married to Canada’s best.
1) Lindsey Vonn and P.K. Subban
Sports: Vonn is a 34-year-old alpine ski racer who retired after claiming her eighth world championships medal, making her the oldest woman to win a world medal and one of only three skiers to collect a medal at six worlds. Subban is a 30-year-old Canadian defenseman for the New Jersey Devils hockey team.
Olympic experience: At the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 Subban won gold; meanwhile Vonn was unable to make that team due to a knee injury. The four-time Olympian won her hardware in Vancouver 2010 — a gold (downhill) and a bronze (super-G), making her the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the downhill. At the PyeongChang 2018 Games, she took home downhill bronze as the oldest woman to win an alpine skiing Olympic medal.
How long they’ve been together: The couple — who made their relationship public at the CMT Music Awards in June of 2018 — has been dating for two years, and at the end of August 2019 announced their engagement.
How they met: The two athletes met at the ESPYs in 2017 after Subban’s NHL team won the Stanley Cup. It was his first time at the ESPYs and he admitted to being distracted on the red carpet after seeing Vonn. When he was asked in an interview how he was handling the heat in a three-piece suit, he responded with, “It’s hot out here, but it’s not as hot as Lindsey Vonn looks.”
2) Meghan Duggan and Gillian Apps
Sports: Both are women’s ice hockey players: Duggan, 32, is a former team captain for the U.S., while Apps, 35, retired from playing for Canada in 2015.
Olympic experience: Each has three Olympic medals: Duggan earned silvers from Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, and the gold at PyeongChang 2018, the United States’ first gold since the sport debuted in the Olympics 20 years earlier; Apps has three golds from the three Games in which she played: Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.
How long they’ve been together: Duggan and Apps were married last September in Pownal, Maine, and less than a year later announced that they were expecting their first child. In August they posted on Instagram, “Baby Apps-Duggan is on its way! Coming February 2020” and the hashtag #MegsIsPregs.
How they met: The two have been facing off on the ice for years, playing against one another at two Winter Olympics and five world championships.
3) Jamie Anderson and Tyler Nicholson
Sports: Anderson is a 29-year-old snowboarder who competes for Team USA, while boyfriend Nicholson, 24, is a snowboarder from Canada.
Olympic experience: She has a gold medal in slopestyle snowboarding’s Olympic debut in Sochi 2014, and repeated the feat at the following Winter Games, where she also took silver in big air’s debut. He made his Olympic debut in 2018, coming in seventh in slopestyle and 13th in big air.
How long they’ve been together: The snowboarders have been together for three and a half years.
How they met: Despite years running in the same circles and competing at the same events, they didn’t know one another when they met at a bar in Whistler, British Columbia. “He might have known who I was,” she wondered, “but I was definitely crushing on him for a while before we started dating.” Regardless of how they met, she admitted she is “so thankful for him! Makes life so much more fun!”
4) Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette
Sports: Chu, 37, competed for USA Hockey while her partner, Ouellette, 40, played the same sport but for the colder country to the north.
Olympic experience: Both women are four-time Olympic medalists, and faced off against one another at the same Winter Games: Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014. While Ouellette won gold in all four, Chu took home silver in all but 2006 where Team USA was awarded bronze.
How long they’ve been together: The couple began dating in 2005 and on Nov. 5, 2017, they announced the arrival of their first child, daughter Liv Chu-Ouellette.
How they met: Despite spending most of their competitive careers playing against one another — four Olympic Games and half a dozen world championships — the two were teammates for Les Canadiennes de Montreal and served together as assistant coaches for the University of Minnesota Duluth and the Concordia Stingers.
Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton attend "Gold Meets Golden" on Jan. 7, 2017 in Los Angeles.
5) Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton
Sports: Eaton is a 31-year-old decathlete who competed for Team USA. Theisen-Eaton is a 30-year-old heptathlete who competed for Team Canada.
Olympic experience: He holds the gold medal from the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in decathlon, as well as the world record in both decathlon and indoor heptathlon events. She made her Olympic debut in London 2012, coming in 11th, and in 2016 won bronze in Rio for Canada’s first-ever Olympic medal in the heptathlon.
How long they’ve been together: The couple — who were engaged for two years before getting married — has been together since 2007. They were married in 2013 and last month announced they are expecting their first child in February 2020.
How they met: The two met while attending the University of Oregon. During their four years there they both ran track and field and trained together.
6) Justin Olsen and Mirela Rahneva
Sports: Olsen, 32, is a bobsledder for Team USA while Rahneva, 31, is a Canadian skeleton racer.
Olympic experience: Olsen won four-man Olympic gold in Vancouver 2010 – the country’s first in 62 years and placed 12th in four-man in 2014, both times as a brakeman. Switching to the pilot’s seat, he competed at the 2018 Winter Games just 10 days after having his appendix out. At those Games he placed 14th in two-man and 20th in four-man. Rahneva also competed in PyeongChang (and was by his side when he was recovering from his laparoscopic appendectomy), and placed 12th.
How long they’ve been together: The couple — who been dating for a couple of years — first started appearing in one another’s Instagram accounts in September 2017.
How they met: Even though Olsen and Rahneva compete for different countries, they have been traveling to the same cities to compete at the same world cups for years.
7) Kathleen Kauth and Jayna Hefford
Sports: Both athletes in this power couple played ice hockey: Kauth, 40, for Team USA and Hefford, 42, for Team Canada.
Olympic experience: After getting cut from the 2002 Olympic team, Kauth played in her first and only Olympic Winter Games in 2006 in Torino and took home the bronze medal. Her partner won silver at her first Games in Nagano in 1998 and followed that up with golds at her next four Olympic Winter Games.
How long they’ve been together: The two have been together for more than a decade, and have two daughters and a son together.
How they met: They have played against each other at the Olympics and in various other international competitions.
8) Dede Demet Barry and Michael Barry
Sports: Deirdre “Dede” Demet Barry is a U.S. Olympic cyclist who started as a figure skater that wanted to race, so her coach suggested speedskating. She was a member of the U.S. speedskating team for three years and was selected for world championships in 1988-1991 before switching to cycling full-time. Her husband Michael also competed in cycling, but for Team Canada.
Olympic experience: Demet Barry won silver in Athens 2004 in the individual time trial after failing to qualify for the Olympic team in 1996 and 2000. Barry competed in three Olympic Games (Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008), and took ninth in Beijing in the road race for Canada’s best finish since 1984.
How long they’ve been together: The couple met in 1997 in Boulder, Colorado, and currently live in Toronto with their two sons.
How they met: She was living in Boulder while racing for Saturn when he came to town to train with a French team. The two were married a little more than a year after meeting.