Sports

4 Texans To Root For at Sochi This Year

Winter sport athletes? From Texas? It's true, and here they are.


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It should be no surprise that within the entire Team USA competing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russis this year, there isn't a large delegation representing Texas. The Lone Star State doesn't really have the topography or climate suited to produce the world's best speed skaters or curlers. That doesn't mean there aren't any, however. While there are no athletes from here in Austin, there are four athletes from our great state plying their trade at this year's games.


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Johnathan Garcia - Speed Skating, Long Track - 1,000m
From - Houston, TX

Despite taking up residence in Salt Lake City, Garcia is a native of Katy, Texas. Attending his first Olympic games, the 27-year old nearly didn't qualify for the games at all, due to a fairly ridiculous mistake.

During the 2013 trials, Garcia ran the 500m track with a time of 34.85 seconds, not only beating his personal best, but placing him in fourth and qualifying him for the Russia-bound team. However, it was later revealed that he had not been wearing a transponder, a device that serves as an additional timer. This caused him to be disqualified and, presumably off the team.

Rather than give up, Garcia competed in the 1,000m race- a race no one gave him a chance to do well in. Instead, Garcia ran a time that, once again, qualified him for fourth place an another spot on the Olympic team. Garcia celebrated with a victory lap around the track, transponder raised above his head. 

Jordan Malone - Speed Skating, Short Track - 500m, 1,500m and 5,000m relay
From - Denton, TX

This native of Denton, TX won't find the travel to Russia to be all that unfamiliar. Not is he already an Olympic medalist - part of the Bronze meal winning team of the 5,000m relay team at the 2010 games in Vancouver - but, he's spent his entire life moving around the world. Malone has resided in France, Holland, California, Colorado and Utah during his 29 years. All in all, he's been to 154 cities in 18 countries.

While currently dedicated to speed skating, Malone says he intends to return to college and get an engineering degree. 

Justin Olson - 2-man and 4-man Boblsed
From - San Antonio, TX
Johnny Quinn - 2-man and 4-man Bobsled
From - McKinney, TX

The U.S. Bobsled team at the Olympics has two Texas natives racing with them this year. One already knows the taste of Olympic gold while the other is a legend of North Texas football.

Olson, a resident of San Antonio, can claim a gold medal as part of the U.S. Bobsled team in 2010 as merely one of his accomplishments. He also has both gold and bronze medals in the Bobsledding World Championships in 2009 and 2012. The 26 year old is also a graduate of Sandra Day O'Connor High School.

Quinn was a standout wide receiver at McKinney High School. As a senior, he led the state in receptions and scored a touchdown in the Oil Bowl, a game where Texas beat Oklahoma 28-7. He then would go on to attend the University of North Texas where broke records in both football and track. After graduating in 2006 with a degree in Criminal Justice, he played on the practice squads of both the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills before playing a full season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League on 2009. A torn ACL put an end to his football career.

In 2011, Quinn's accomplishments were great enough to earn him a spot in the North Texas Hall of Fame.

Quinn sent a training video to the USA national bobsled team and eventually made him way to the team in 2010. Four years later, he was name as part of the team for the 2014 U.S. Olympic team.

Photos

Tags: texas, sports, olympics, speed skating, bobsled

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