Handful of Washington athletes compete in 2022 Winter Olympic Games
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games are underway, and will run through Feb. 20. With one week of competition down, there are still plenty of events to watch in the next week — and a few local athletes on Team USA to support.
With COVID-19 still a threat in China and across the world, the Olympics are again — like in the summer — a little different. In Beijing, the games are in a “bubble,” restricted to athletes, coaches, officials, and media, so no families were able to attend. There are, however, a small number of spectators from China.
On Team USA, four of the athletes competing in 2022 are from Washington state.
From Redmond, Washington, Hensien competes in alpine skiing. This is the 22-year-old’s first time at the Olympics, and she took 26th place in slalom earlier this week.
Hensien was the second-highest scoring American in the event behind Paula Moltzan in eighth. Fellow Team USA athlete AJ Hurt finished the run in 34th, and Mikaela Shiffrin did not finish the event and therefore did not place.
A 20-year-old cross-country skier from Winthrop, Washington, McCabe is also a first time Olympian.
In the women’s 10km individual event this week, she took 24th place, coming in behind USA teammates Jessie Diggins (8th) and Rosie Brennan (13th). Up next, McCabe will compete in the Women’s 4x5km Relay on Friday, Feb. 11, at 11:30 p.m. PST.
Baker, 28, calls Edmonds, Washington, his hometown, and he attended Kamiak High School in Mukilteo. He, too, is a first-time Olympian in 2022.
Baker is competing in ice dance with partner Kaitlin Hawayek. The rhythm dance competition will be Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 a.m. PST. Baker and Hawayek are among three U.S. teams in the event, set to compete against Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, and Madison Chock and Evan Bates.
Stoddard, who competes in speedskating, was born in Seattle and lists Tacoma as her hometown, though the Team USA bio says she now lives and trains in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In her Olympic debut, Stoddard failed to finish her 500m preliminary heat after a crash, which eliminated her from that competition. She broke her nose in the crash but was cleared to skate, and was involved in the mixed team relay later that day where Team USA did not make the finals. Stoddard did make the finals in the 1000m event, but did not medal.
Stoddard is set to compete 3000m relay event on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 3:35 a.m. PST.
A future Kraken?
One more athlete who has Washington ties is U.S. hockey center Matty Beniers. He was the first-ever draft selection in the Seattle Kraken’s franchise history after he was drafted second overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Beniers, 19, still plays for the University of Michigan. He has not yet signed a contract with the Kraken, but is expected to join the team after his college season is over.