Texas athletes who’ve punched their ticket to PyeongChang

Sam McGuffie, heading to PyeongChang to compete for the USA Bobsled Team
Sam McGuffie, heading to PyeongChang to compete for the USA Bobsled Team

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Have no fear, Texans already have several athletes to cheer on in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. A handful of athletes with ties to the Lone Star State have qualified in the last couple of weeks for the 2018 Games in South Korea.

JONATHAN GARCIA | U.S.A. SPEED SKATING | HOUSTON, Texas

Houston-native Jonathan Garcia, 31, is heading to his second Olympics games. He secured his spot at the U.S. Olympic Long Track Speed Skating Trials in Milwaukee. Garcia will be competing in the 500m race, which is one time around the track, plus a straight-away. He moved to Salt Lake City, Utah 10 years ago to start training for his first Olympics, and competed in Sochi in 2014. His mom, brother and girlfriend will be making the trip to South Korea to cheer him on.

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 05: Jonathan Garcia competes in the Men's 500 meter event during the Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials at the Pettit National Ice Center on January 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – JANUARY 05: Jonathan Garcia competes in the Men’s 500 meter event during the Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials at the Pettit National Ice Center on January 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

SAM MCGUFFIE | U.S.A. BOBSLED | CYPRESS, Texas

Sam McGuffie, 28, got his start on the Cy-Fair High School football field in Cypress, Texas. He went on to play for the University of Michigan, Rice University and the NFL before making the transition to bobsled  He says being in a bobsled is like being put in a dumpster, and then pushed off a double-black ski slope.

Sam McGuffie, heading to PyeongChang to compete for the USA Bobsled Team
Sam McGuffie, heading to PyeongChang to compete for the USA Bobsled Team

JUSTIN OLSEN | U.S.A. BOBSLED | SAN ANTONIO, Texas

Former college football player Justin Olsen, 30, is going to his third straight Olympic games. He won a Gold Medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in the 4-man Bobsled with driver Steve Holcomb. He attended the Air Force Academy and is in the Army National Guard.

PARK CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 26: Bobsledder Justin Olsen poses for a portrait during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on September 26, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT – SEPTEMBER 26: Bobsledder Justin Olsen poses for a portrait during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on September 26, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

NIGERIAN WOMEN’S BOBSLED TEAM | HOUSTON, Texas

There’s one more Olympic bobsled team with a Texas connection making history. The driver of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team, Seun Adigun, ran track for the University of Houston. She also represented her home country as a hurdler at the 2012 London Olympics. She and her two other teammates, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, will be the first Nigerian athletes to ever compete in the Winter Olympics. They raised $75,000 on a GoFundme page to help pay for their road to the Olympics.

Nigeria's Seun Adigun prior to the Women's 100m Hurdles Semi Final (Photo by Adam Davy - EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)
Nigeria’s Seun Adigun prior to the Women’s 100m Hurdles Semi Final (Photo by Adam Davy – EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)

 

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