The cauldron inside the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium will be set ablaze in two weeks.
That’s how close we are.
And if you want to watch Team USA march in the Opening Ceremony, you’ll have plenty of time.
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) made its 2018 squad for the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea official Friday. The 242 athletes who earned a spot — and a right to compete for medals — on the U.S. Olympic team were unveiled during a live online announcement from USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. The contingent is the largest Winter Olympic team of any country in the history of the Winter Games.
“We are primed and ready for another strong showing from our athletes, who have made a long-time commitment to represent us as the best in the U.S. at these Games,” USOC chief of sport Alan Ashley said in a release, “and we look forward to cheering for each member of Team USA on the world’s greatest stage.”
Many of the same headliners return for another potential date with glory. U.S. alpine megastar duo Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn once again will charge down the steep slopes in Pyeongchang. Shiffrin is the current World Cup overall leader, while Vonn makes her first return to the Olympics in eight years. The 2010 downhill gold medalist missed the 2014 Games in Sochi due to a knee injury.
“I’ve definitely been waiting a very long time,” Vonn said during the team announcement Friday. “Eight years has been pretty brutal to wait for another Olympics. … I’m so excited. It’s probably my last Olympics, so I’m going to soak up every second that I have and really enjoy it.”
Two-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White, now 31, returns for another go and fresh off a perfect 100-point run in Olympic qualification.
Ted Ligety, the two-time Olympic gold medalist alpine skier from Park City, overcame years of knee and back injuries after the 2014 Olympics to get back to the world’s stage in hopes of adding to his medal count at 33.
This U.S. team also has no shortage of newcomers destined to break out.
Highlighted by Salt Lake City figure skater Nathan Chen, along with his revolutionary set of quad jumps on the ice, Team USA should have several young emerging names dominate the prime-time nightly coverage on NBC. Chloe Kim, a 17-year-old snowboarder from California, has been dominating the sport the last four years and is a clear front-runner for gold.
Maame Biney, a short-track speedskater originally from Ghana who recently moved to Utah from Virginia to live and train, is a 17-year-old sensation who made history by becoming the first-ever African-American woman to make the U.S. speedskating Olympic team.
While the teams have been announced officially, rosters may be adjusted to due injury, illness or “exceptional circumstances up to the technical meetings for each sport.” Utah will have roughly 50 athlete representatives who either were born and raised in the Beehive State or who have moved to live, train and go to various colleges over the years.
Salt Lake City’s Westminster College once again has a flurry of student-athlete representatives. Five medals were brought home by Westminster student-athletes at the 2014 Games. The 2018 team is highlighted by freeskiers Maddie Bowman and Devin Logan and Nordic combined athlete Bryan Fletcher.
The U.S. long-track speedskating team out for redemption after the struggles in Sochi features many of the same contenders, including Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Joey Mantia and 35-year-old four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis, who makes his fifth Olympic team.
USA bobsled will take to the track in South Korea without the most-decorated driver in American history. Park City’s Steven Holcomb died last May at the age of 37. Holcomb won three Olympic medals, including a gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Alpine’s Chris Fogt, who was part of Holcomb’s bronze-medal push in 2014, returns to his second straight Olympics.
The 2018 U.S. team is the most diverse Winter Olympic team in history. Ten African-Americans, 11 Asian-Americans and the first two openly gay athletes in Gus Kenworthy (freeskiing) and Adam Rippon (figure skating) are on the team. Biney and Erin Jackson (long-track speedskating) will be the first African-American women to represent U.S. speedskating.
“I get to inspire young African-American athletes or any other race,” Biney said Friday. “Maybe even males, too, to just try the sport or try any other sport that they think they can’t do.”
UTAHNS REPRESENTING TEAM USA IN PYEONGCHANG
Jared Goldberg • Alpine, Salt Lake City, second Olympics
Ted Ligety • Alpine, Park City, fourth Olympics
Megan McJames • Alpine, Park City, third Olympics
Steven Nyman • Alpine, Sundance, fourth Olympics
Chris Fogt • Bobsled, Alpine, third Olympics
Rosie Brennan • Cross-country skiing, Park City, first Olympics
Nathan Chen • Figure skating, Salt Lake City, first Olympics
Madison Olsen • Freestyle aerials, Park City, first Olympics
McRae Williams • Freeskiing, Park City, first Olympics
Jerica Tandiman • Long-track speedskating, Kearns, first Olympics
Taylor Morris • Luge, Salt Lake City, first Olympics
Sarah Hendrickson • Ski jumping, Park City, second Olympics
Will Rhoads • Ski jumping, Park City, first Olympics
Abby Ringquist • Ski jumping, Park City, first Olympics
Faye Gulini • Snowboardcross, Salt Lake City, third Olympics
TEAM USA BREAKDOWN
Alpine • 22 athletes
Biathlon • 10 athletes
Bobsled • 16 athletes
Cross-country skiing • 20 athletes
Curling • 10 athletes
Figure skating • 14 athletes
Freestyle skiing • 29 athletes
Ice hockey • 48 athletes
Long-track speedskating • 13 athletes
Luge • 10 athletes
Nordic combined • 5 athletes
Short-track speedskating • 8 athletes
Skeleton • 4 athletes
Ski jumping • 7 athletes
Snowboarding • 26 athletes