Mon February 17, 2014
How Many St. Louis-Born Athletes In The Winter Olympics, Ever? Just 11
176 St. Louis-area-born athletes have competed in the Olympic Games, according to a list at Sports-Reference.com, mostly in the Summer Games, and many in events that today's Olympians can no longer medal in like Tug-of-War or Golf. Just 11 of those 176 competed in the Winter Olympics before this year's Sochi games — and only one made the medal stand.
We searched for Olympians born in municipalities in the St. Louis area. The records don't show athletes who may be associated with St. Louis but weren't born here — such as U.S. Hockey star-of-the-weekend and St. Louis Blues player T.J. Oshie.
J.P. Kepka, who is 29, is the only medalist on the list; he earned a bronze in the Men’s 5,000 meter relay in the 2006 Torino, Italy, games. Also on that relay team: Apolo Ohno. Kepka also has the distinction of being the youngest St. Louis-born Winter Olympics athlete; he was 17 when he represented the U.S. as the alternate on the relay team.
Pat LaFontaine — born in St. Louis before moving to Detroit with his family as a child — was on the Men’s Ice Hockey team in Nagano, Japan, in 1998 when he was 32. That team tied for fifth. He also competed in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, 14 years prior at age 18, when the team finished seventh.
LaFontaine is one of four athletes on the list who were not speed skaters. The other two men are Jim Bridges who was on the four-man bobsled team in 1972, and Billy Taylor, who competed in the Men’s Slalom at Lake Placid in 1980.
The athlete with the most appearances is Dan Carroll, who skated in seven events over two Olympics, 1972 in Sapporo, Japan, and 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria. His best finish was in the 1,500 meters at Innsbruck, where he placed fifth. The same year he set a personal best in the 10,000 meters with a time of 15:19.29.
Three women from St. Louis, two speed skaters and a figure skater, have competed. Angela Zuckerman skated the 1,500 and 3,000 meters in Albertville, France, in 1992 and Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994. Peggy Crowe represented the U.S. at Innsbruck in the 1,000 meters. Lea Ann Miller, born in Kirkwood, skated pairs at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics.
See the full table below:
All data from Sports-Reference.com. Note: This doesn’t include Olympians who moved to St. Louis after they were born.