COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, today announced the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Team that will compete in the upcoming Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, March 9-18, in South Korea. The 74-member team, which includes six guides for visually impaired athletes, is comprised of 20 women and 54 men.
“It is an honor to announce the athletes who will represent Team USA at the Paralympic Winter Games,” said Julie Dussliere, U.S. chef de mission and vice president of U.S. Paralympics. “From returning Paralympic champions, to our younger generation of eight teenage athletes making their Paralympic debuts, we are excited to cheer on our team as they compete on the world’s largest stage. These athletes are not only going to make our country proud, but also inspire more people than ever before through increased television coverage provided in partnership with NBC and Toyota.”
Team USA’s 74 athletes will compete throughout the nine days of Paralympic competition in five sports: alpine skiing, Nordic skiing (which includes biathlon and cross-country), snowboarding, sled hockey and wheelchair curling.
The 2018 U.S. Paralympic Team features 41 returning Paralympians who have won a combined haul of 39 Paralympic medals. The roster includes three Paralympians who have competed at every Winter Games since 2006: Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Massachusetts), Tyler Walker (Bethlehem, New Hampshire) and Steve Cash (Overland, Missouri).
Eighteen athletes who will represent Team USA in PyeongChang will have also represented the U.S. as military veterans and active duty service members. Eight athletes served in the Marine Corps, seven in the Army, two in the Navy and one in the Air Force. The sled hockey team has the most veteran members, with six athletes previously serving in the Armed Forces.
The 2018 U.S. Paralympic Team roster may still be adjusted due to injury, illness or exceptional circumstances up to the technical meetings for each sport.
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Fans can follow the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Team at Team USA’s PyeongChang 2018 microsite and across U.S. Paralympics social channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The U.S. Paralympic Team microsite will offer Team USA results from the Paralympic Winter Games, as well as athlete biographies, sport previews, competition schedules, and facts and figures about the U.S. delegation.
2018 U.S. Paralympic Team notes
- Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Massachusetts) is the most decorated athlete on the team with six Paralympic medals in alpine skiing: two gold, two silver and two bronze.
- Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) and Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota) have been on every U.S. Paralympic Team roster, summer and winter, since 2012 to make them four-time Paralympians. Masters competed in rowing, cycling and Nordic skiing, while Pike competed in track and field and Nordic skiing.
- Two athletes have changed sports since the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. Travis Dodson (Deming, New Mexico) and Kevin Burton (Erie, Colorado) both competed in Nordic skiing in Sochi; however, Dodson will compete in sled hockey and Burton will compete in alpine skiing in PyeongChang.
- Thirty states are represented, with Colorado home to the most athletes with the tally at 14.
- Alpine skiing’s Ally Kunkel (Steamboat Springs, Colorado) is the youngest athlete on the team at 16 years old, and she is the only athlete born after 2000. Alpine skier Mark Bathum (Seattle, Washington) is the most senior member of the team at 59 years old.
- Seventeen athletes balance training and competition schedules with raising a family; four athletes are mothers and 13 are fathers.
- Alpine skiers Danelle Umstead (Park City, Utah) and Rob Umstead (Park City, Utah) are the only married couple on Team USA. Rob has served as Danelle’s guide at the Winter Games since 2010.
- Eighteen athletes served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including eight athletes served in the Marine Corps, seven in the Army, two in the Navy and one in the Air Force. Sled hockey player Ralph DeQuebec (Denver, Colorado) and snowboarder Jimmy Sides (Silverthorne, Colorado) served in the same platoon in the Marines and will both be competing in their first Winter Games.
- Five athletes were born in other countries, including Canada, Ukraine, China, Serbia, Spain and Taiwan.
- Six athletes are multi-lingual, with eight languages spoken by members of Team USA, including Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian and Italian.