CHICAGO – February 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today declared “Illinois 2010 Winter Olympics Athletes Day” in honor of the athletes with Illinois ties who will be representing our country at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. (Proclamation)
“I salute the athletes who will be representing our state and nation in the 2010 Winter Olympics,” said Governor Quinn. “Their dedication and determination shows that the Olympic spirit is alive and well in Illinois, and I wish them the best of luck.”
Ten athletes with Illinois ties will be competing in the 2010 Olympic Games. They include:
- Chicago native Ben Agosto will be a favorite in ice dancing with his partner Tanith Belbin;
- Former Plainfield Central High School Female Athlete of the Year Lisa Chesson will play defense for the U.S. Hockey Team;
- Chicagoan Shani Davis, the first black athlete to win a gold medal in an individual Winter Games sport in 2006, will return to defend his title in speedskating;
- 2009 Glenbrook South High School graduate Lana Gehring is one of the youngest athletes on the U.S. team and will compete on the 3,000 meter relay skating team;
- Speedskater Brian Hansen of Glenview is the Junior American record holder in the 1,500 meters and youngest member of the U.S. long-track speedskating team;
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign physics major and speedskater Jonathan Kuck will compete in the 10,000 meters and team pursuit races;
- Naperville's Evan Lysacek is the best hope for U.S. gold in figure skating;
- Bobsledder Jamie Moriarty of Winnetka is former arena football player won two gold medals in four-man bobsled in the 2009 America’s Cup;
- Speedskater Katherine Reutter of Champaign gained her inspiration from the great Bonnie Blair and won four silver medals at the 2009 Short Track Speedskating World Cup;
- Nancy Swider-Pelz Jr. of Wheaton made the speedskating long track team by winning the 3,000 meters at the U.S. Championships in Utah.
The 2010 Winter Olympics will be held on February 12 - 28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It will be the third Olympics hosted by Canada, and the first by the province of British Columbia. More than 5,500 athletes representing over 80 countries are expected to compete in 86 event categories.