Going for Gold
Texas isn't exactly a winter sports powerhouse, but there'll still be some star athletes at the 2022 Winter Olympics with big cheering sections back home in the Lone Star State.
The XXIV Olympic Winter Games (or "Beijing 2022") officially runs February 4-20, with some preliminary competitions starting as early as February 2. It will feature 15 sports and 109 medal events contested, including seven all-new events, like "women's monobob."
All coverage will be carried by NBC and its affiliate networks, websites, and apps, such as Peacock — and even with Beijing 14 hours ahead of Texas, watching much of the action live is possible. (Here's a primer on how to watch.)
Of the roughly 3,000 athletes competing, 222 will be wearing the red, white, and blue of Team USA. Here are the athletes with Texas ties — and when to cheer them on (local time) for gold.
Ashley Cain-Gribble, 26 and Timothy LeDuc, 31
Sport: Pairs figure skating
Texas tie: Ashley was born in Carrollton, and she and Timothy (who hails from Cedar Rapids, Iowa) train with their coaches — Ashley's parents, Darlene and Peter Cain — in Euless.
The road to Beijing: The pair just won their second U.S. national championship in Nashville last month, and this is their first Olympic Games.
Fun facts: Ashley's dad was an Australian pairs skater, and her mom was a Canadian ice dancer; she has an aunt and a cousin who were competitive skaters from Australia, as well. Timothy (they/them) have made headlines as the first openly nonbinary athlete to compete in an Olympic Winter Games.
When to watch: The figure skating "team event" starts at 7:55 pm Thursday, February 3 and includes the pairs short program; pairs "team event" free skate will be 7:30 pm Saturday, February 5. The pairs competition takes place February 18-19.
Mariah Bell, 25
Sport: Figure skating
Texas tie: Her parents live in the Dallas area, and her sister is a skating coach in North Richland Hills.
The road to Beijing: She just won the U.S. National Championships in Nashville last month. This is her first Olympics.
Fun fact: Mariah says her earliest memory of figure skating is watching Tara Lipinski win gold in the 1998 Nagano Olympics. During the early months of the pandemic, when ice rinks were shuttered, she lived with her family in an RV and stayed fit with outdoor activities, such as paddleboard and swimming.
When to watch: As of press time, the women's selections for team event haven't been announced, but she could be picked for the free skate February 6. The women's singles competition gets under way February 15.
Sylvia Hoffman, 32
Texas tie: She is an Arlington native.
The road to Beijing: She is making her Olympics debut, competing with two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries as a two-woman bobsled team.
Fun fact: Sylvia played basketball for Louisiana State University, then took up weightlifting and competed internationally, but her athletic dreams "really rocketed," NBC says, after participating in reality TV show Scouting Camp: Next Olympic Hopeful.
When to watch: The two-woman event kicks off February 18.
Katie Uhlaender, 37
Texas tie: She was raised in Central Texas and has family in the Austin, Waco, and Hill Country areas. Her dad, Ted Uhleander, was a Major League Baseball outfielder who played for Baylor University.
The road to Beijing: She is headed to a record-breaking fifth Olympics, becoming the only U.S. woman in any sliding sport to make that many Olympic appearances, says NBC5. She placed sixth at Torino 2006 and fourth at Sochi 2014.
Fun fact: She once worked on a ranch, tagging cattle. She also worked on the reality TV show Survivor, first testing the challenges, then as a camera assistant.
When to watch: The first women's skeleton event takes place February 10.
Ashley Caldwell, 28
Sport: Freestyle skiing (Aerials)
Texas tie: While she calls Park City, Utah home, her parents reportedly live in Houston.
The road to Beijing: She's making her fourth Olympic appearance in the Aerials event.
Fun fact: Ashley started practicing gymnastics at age 4; after watching the freestyle competitions at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, her mother suggested she try combining her love of skiing with gymnastics, NBC says. She isthe only woman to ever land a quadruple-twisting triple backflip in competition.
When to watch: Qualification rounds begin February 13.