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00000179-c810-d4c2-a579-fdd2fe840003The 2018 Winter Olympics kick off Feb. 8 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and over a dozen Olympians have ties to Vermont, with many more having trained or gone to school here.In fact, Vermont is tied for sixth among states sending the most Olympic athletes in Team USA this year (Colorado takes first, in case you were curious!)Meet The 2018 Vermont OlympiansTo help you keep track of local athletes as they compete in Pyeongchang, we've gathered their bios by team:Alpine Skiing | Biathlon | Bobsleigh & Luge | Cross-Country Skiing | Freestyle Skiing | Ice Hockey | Snowboard We'll be keeping track of the results every weekday morning on the Sports Report and on VPR's Facebook and Twitter accounts.Vermonter Mikaela Shiffrin at last year's Alpine Skiing World Championships. Her first event in Pyeongchang is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12.

As Closing Ceremony Nears, We Tally Up The Results Of Our Vermont Olympians

Jessica Diggins, a Stratton Mountain School alum, immediately after winning the gold medal in women's team sprint freestyle cross-country skiing with teammate Kikkan Randall. It's the first U.S. medal in cross-country since 1976.
Matthias Schrader
/
AP
Jessica Diggins, a Stratton Mountain School alum, immediately after winning the gold medal in women's team sprint freestyle cross-country skiing with teammate Kikkan Randall. It's the first U.S. medal in cross-country since 1976.

With only handful of events remaining in the final weekend of the 23rd Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the United States has delivered a steady, if mildly disappointing performance.

After leading all countries with 37 medals in 2010 in Vancouver and still managing 28 against the doped-up Russians in 2014 in Sochi, the USA is sitting tied for fourth in Pyeongchang with 14 overall medals, six gold. Norway is the front-runner with 33 medals and almost as many golds (13) as the United States has combined.

The USA hoped to have breakout performances in two disciplines — cross-country and biathlon, both of which featured a number of Vermont-area Olympians.

Cross-country

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Credit Patrick Semansky / AP
Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins after winning the women's team sprint freestyle cross-country event Thursday.

That breakthrough finally came in cross-country when Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall teamed to win the gold medal in the women’s team sprint in the second week of competition.

The first U.S. medal since Bill Koch won silver in Innsbruck in 1976.

  • Diggins has finished fifth in three races and sixth in another.
  • Sophie Caldwell has a fifth and eighth.
  • Simi Hamilton and Erik Bjornsen finished sixth in the men’s team sprint.

More on Vermont's cross-country Olympians

Biathlon

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Credit Andrew Medichini / AP
Emily Dreissigacker during the women's 4x6-kilometer biathlon relay, Thursday.

Four-time biathlon Olympian Tim Burke was 17th in the men’s pursuit and teamed with Susan Dunklee to end 15th in the mixed relay. But Dunklee failed to qualify for the women’s mass start, an event in which she won the silver medal in last year’s World Championships.

Emily Dreissigacker, one of 12 first-time Olympians, was an admirable 47th and 51st in her initial races.

It has been a rough swan song for four-time biathlete Lowell Bailey, who became the USA’s first gold medalist in biathlon in last year’s World Championships. He could not crack the top 30 in three individual events.

Freestyle Skiing & Snowboard

In freestyle slopeside, Devin Logan was unable to duplicate her silver-medal performance from 2014, finishing 10th.

But she did make Olympic history, as she also qualified in the freestyle halfpipe, becoming the first athlete to compete in both events in the same Games, which demanded a grueling training regimen.

The Vermont snowboarders came so close to the podium:

The iconic Kelly Clark, a three-time halfpipe medalist, finished fourth by fewer than three points in her fifth and most likely final Olympics.

Lindsey Jacobellis, silver medalist in snowboardcross in 2006 in Torino, ended fourth in the finals, a heartbreaking three-hundredths of a second away from a bronze medal.

Alpine Skiing

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Credit Christophe Ena / AP
Mikaela Shiffrin after the Women's combined slalom in Jeongseon, South Korea, Thursday.

Mikaela Shiffrin now has two gold medals in two separate Olympics before the age of 23.

Her first-place performance in giant slalom to begin the women’s alpine competition paired nicely with the gold she copped in slalom in 2014.

Her fourth-place ending in these Games’ slalom event was more a case of nerves than talent and was more surprising than it was disheartening.

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Credit Christophe Ena / AP
Ryan Cochran-Siegle after men's giant slalom Sunday, Feb. 18.

The skiing legacy of the Cochran family continued with Ryan Cochran-Siegle’s solid performance, 46 years after his mother, Barbara, won slalom gold in 1972 in Sapporo, Japan. After failing to finish the downhill portion of the men’s combined, Cochran-Siegle placed 23rd in the downhill and 14th in Super-G.

Cochran-Siegle saved his best for the giant slalom. Sitting in the 21st position after the first run, he turned in the third-fastest second run to vault into a tie for 11th.

Ice Hockey

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Credit Bruce Bennett / Pool photo via AP
The view from inside the goal for the game-winning shot during the gold-medal game between the U.S. women's team and Canada Wednesday night.

In hockey, Montpelier native and University of Vermont standout Amanda Pelkey was an integral part of the USA women’s team that once again squared off against Canada for the gold medal.

She was a spark plug forward on the fourth line and tallied two assists en route to the championship.

On the men’s side, defenseman Ryan Gunderson was a central piece of the young and green men’s team that fought off a slow start to advance out of qualifying to the quarterfinals.

Luge
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Credit Rick Bowmer / AP
Chris Mazdzer at a Team USA event in September 2017.

But the far and away best feel-good story over the first half of the games was written by luger Chris Mazdzer.

The three-time Olympian from Saranac Lake, New York, was the surprise silver medalist in men’s singles, becoming the first USA athlete to medal in this event and the first non-European to reach the Olympic podium in luge.

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Credit Andy Wong / AP
Chris on a practice run in Pyeongchang.

Between Now And The Closing Ceremony

The majority of events involving area athletes are history but a handful of opportunities for Olympic memories.

The men’s and women’s relays offer a shot at redemption for the biathletes, as do the men’s and women’s team sprints in cross country. The two long-distance Nordic classical races are also still to run.

In alpine, Shiffrin can add to her medal total in the women’s combined while Nolan Kasper gets his first opportunity to compete in the men’s slalom.

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Credit Photo: Felipe Dana, AP; Illustration: Emily Alfin Johnson, VPR

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