Boris Tsang/Sun File Photo

This winter, seven Cornellians are traveling to Beijing to compete or coach in the 2022 Olympics.

February 3, 2022

Skating into the New Olympic Season

Print More

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics rapidly approach, with the opening ceremony scheduled for Feb. 4. Like the rest of the world, Cornell students are looking forward to watching, especially with seven Cornellians competing or coaching.

Cornell junior Karen Chen ’23 is representing the United States in figure skating after winning a silver medal in the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The other five are alumni from the Women’s Hockey Team and an assistant coach for the Canadian women’s ice hockey team.

Alumni Rebecca Johnston ’12, Jillian Saulnier ’15, Brianne Jenner ’15, Doug Derraugh ’91 and Micah Zandee Hart ’20 will represent Team Canada; Lenka Serdar ’20 will represent the Czech Republic. Derraugh was a hockey player during his time at Cornell and has been the head coach for the women’s ice hockey team since 2005. These Big Red alumni have traveled to Beijing, China along with coach Doug Derraugh ’91 of Cornell Women’s Hockey. 

Johnston, Jenner and Saulnier previously competed at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. They secured a silver medal for Team Canada, losing only to Team USA.

10 teams have qualified for Beijing 2022, a decrease from the 12 teams who participated during 2018 PyeongChang. The women’s preliminary round will begin Feb. 3 at 11:10 p.m.

Current students expressed interest and excitement in this year’s Winter Olympics and are especially looking forward to tuning into their fellow Cornellians events. 

Nicole Losi ’24 enjoys watching figure skating and looks forward to seeing Chen compete. An Italian-American, she roots for the Italian and American contestants and has watched figure skating from a young age.

“It’s just so beautiful,” said Losi.“ I definitely want to watch her succeed and not only represent our country but our school.”

Brian Vicente ’24 expressed admiration for the dedication of Olympic athletes. 

“It’s something people devote their entire lives training for,” said Vicente.

Cornell football wide receiver Colton Kotecki ’22 views the Winter Olympics as a chance for sports with little airtime to get a spotlight.

“The Olympics are a good platform to showcase what they have been training so long to do,” Kotecki said.

Though Kotecki wishes the Olympic Committee would include football in the Olympics, he acknowledges that the sport will not likely be added in the near future due to its low popularity in other countries.

 Though students feel various degrees of attachment to the Olympics, Losi concluded that it is important in bringing together the people watching and participating. The

“It’s a bonding moment for the athletes,” she said. “All of the hard work and dedication that they put in actually amounts to something.”