The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Local Athletes Spotlight for 2018 Winter Olympics

By Staff Writers Rishi Chillara & Shreya Sridhar

 With the 2018 Winter Olympic Games quickly approaching, US fans eagerly wait to watch their country take home the gold. The Bay Area is well-represented, with four athletes you can look out for in the upcoming games.

Karen Chen 

   Karen Chen, now 18 years old,  has been selected to be a part of Team USA for women’s figure skating. Born and raised in Fremont, CA, Chen attended Chadbourne Elementary School before transferring to online classes at Connections Academy. Chen had an illustrious amateur career, winning multiple gold medals at the US Championships at different levels and representing the US at several junior-level international competitions starting in 2013. In 2015, 15-year-old Chen won bronze, placing just after greats like Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner in her first year of competing at the senior division in US Championships. Chen has also represented Team North America in 2017, and is the defending 2017 US national champion. Because she placed third at the 2018 US Figure Skating Championships, Chen will represent the US at the Winter Olympics as well as the 2018 World Championships.

Vincent Zhou 

    Vincent Zhou will represent Team USA in Men’s figure skating at the age of 17 and has been skating for more than 11 years. He was born in San Jose, CA to Chinese-American parents. After moving to Palo Alto, he switched to being homeschooled in middle school so as to focus on skating. Zhou trained in Riverside, CA up until 2015 when he transferred to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Zhou has been a Junior US champion from 2011-13. In 2016, Zhou won silver in one of the competitions at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Series. In 2017, he was named the 2017 World Junior Champion as well as the Bavarian Open Champion. In the 2018 US Figure Skating Championships, Zhou performed seven quadruple jumps and placed third in the free skate category, taking home the bronze.

Brita Sigourney

    Brita Sigourney, 28, a three time X Game finalist, will travel to Pyeongchang this winter to compete in Pro Halfpipe. A resident of Carmel, CA, Sigourney attended UC Davis, earning a degree in Graphic Design. While in college, Sigourney juggled playing  water polo, skiing, and schoolwork before focusing on the halfpipe after placing first in New Zealand for freeski halfpipe at the Junior World Championships in 2010. She went on to win back-to-back X Game titles before breaking her collarbone and injuring her shoulder. After undergoing multiple surgeries, she returned for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics where she placed sixth for halfpipe in the finals. Sigourney moved past her injuries, later earning a bronze medal in her third X Games and in 2017, placing ninth in the World Championship.

Kendall Wesenberg

    Kendall Lorraine Wesenberg, 27, born in Modesto, CA, has been chosen to represent the US in Skeleton, a single rider sliding sport, at the 2018 Winter Olympics. In her hometown of Modesto, she played almost every sport. While in college at the University of Colorado, Boulder, she discovered Skeleton while watching bobsledding in the 2010 Olympics. With her interest piqued, Wesenberg decided to learn more by watching YouTube videos and contacting the head coach of the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USABS). She enrolled in classes and quickly picked up the sport. After graduating in 2012, Wesenberg moved to Utah to continue her training at the Utah Olympic Park. Wesenberg placed 13th in the 2017 World Championship and became one of two women to compete in Skeleton in Pyeongchang this year.

Graphic by Graphics Editors Evangeline Chang & Victor Zhou

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