The following article is from the 2014 Winter Olympics. For a current, 2018 list of Florida athletes competing in this year’s games taking place in South Korea, please click HERE.
As the Winter Olympics open in Russia, Florida sports fans will see a most unlikely sight: Fellow Floridians in Sochi, Russia, as part of the U.S. Olympic Team. That’s Floridians … in the Winter Olympics.
The Florida High School Athletic Association encourages residents from Pensacola to Key West to pull for the state’s athletes, several of whom competed at the high school level for FHSAA member schools.
“We’re used to seeing Floridians compete in a wide range of summer sports, from swimming and diving to track and field, but you don’t usually associate the Sunshine State with events like bobsledding and speedskating,” noted Dr. Roger Dearing, FHSAA executive director. “Whether the sports are common in our state or not, we can all take pride in the incredible accomplishments of these Florida athletes.”
Floridians on the 230-member U.S. Olympic Team in Sochi include three speedskaters who attended FHSAA member schools, as well as a member of the bobsled team who attended the University of Miami. In addition, the head coach of the U.S. men’s bobsled team now calls the Sunshine State home.
Florida has a rich tradition of sending champion athletes to compete in the Olympics, but it’s more typically the Summer Games. Two years ago, FHSAA saluted 29 Olympians who attended FHSAA member schools before earning spots in the London games. Several of Florida’s current Winter Olympians grew up competing in non-winter sports whose skills translated to winter sports
“These outstanding athletes highlight the value of athletic competition for young boys and girls. This is the same value we try to instill in every high school student-athlete competing at FHSAA member schools. You never know where it might lead you – even to a place in the Winter Olympics,” said Dearing.
Floridians participating in Sochi as members of the U.S. Olympic Team include:
- Eddy Alvarez, 24, of Miami, a speedskater who played baseball at Christopher Columbus High School
- Brittany Bowe, 25, of Ocala, a speedskater who played girls basketball at Trinity Catholic
- Joey Mantia, 28, of Ocala, a speedskater who was a world record holder in inline speed skating and attended Ocala Vanguard High School
- Lauryn Williams, 30, a former University of Miami track star who is a member of the two-woman bobsled team
- Brian Shimer, of Naples, head coach of the U.S. men’s bobsled team
About the FHSAA
The Florida High School Athletic Association supervises and regulates interscholastic athletic programs for high school students at member public and private schools. The organization also recognizes and honors academic achievement among student‐athletes at almost 800 middle, junior and senior high schools statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, it is the official governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida.