Bobsleds, curling, and downhill skiing are synonymous with the South, right? OK, maybe not, but we’ll still be tuning in to the Winter Olympics this Friday to cheer on our favorite Southerners. That’s right, among the throngs of Minnesotans, Wisconsinites, and Coloradans that will be competing for Team USA in Sochi this week, there is a small but dedicated batch of Southerners who are proving that you don’t have to be born and bred on snow to own the ice.
Eddy Alvarez, Miami, Florida
A Florida native and self-professed Miami Heat fan, Eddy Alvarez made a name for himself in short track speed skating as a member of the 2013 World Cup team. How, do you ask, does a warm-weather dweller like Eddie find himself competing in such an icy sport? According to his bio, Eddie got into skating by “cruising the streets of South Beach with some plastic 3 wheel skates.”
Dallas Robinson, Georgetown, Kentucky
A former track runner, Army World Class Athlete, and Eastern Kentucky University graduate, Dallas Robinson thought his shot at the Olympics was over after a hamstring injury in 2008. That is, until one of his track students convinced him to compete in bobsledding. Three years and three World Cups later, Dallas hasn’t looked back.
Nick Meyers, Mansfield, Texas
For most of us, the closest the South gets to curling is shuffleboard. Not so, for Olympian Nick Meyers. He brought a deep love for curling with him when he moved from Minnesota to Texas. Since then, he’s shared his enthusiasm for the sport with the curling clubs down South. (There are only three in Texas!)
Caitlin Carter, Carrollton, Texas
Texan Caitlin Carter didn’t even know what skeleton was when she first decided to try it out on a trip out to Lake Placid, N.Y. Back home in Texas, Caitlin proved herself a versatile athlete through everything from volleyball, to Olympic weightlifting, to women’s professional football. But everything changed when she climbed into the sled: “I crossed the finish line and I knew I wanted to do it again,” she said. “It was like nothing I had ever done before.”
Which Olympians are you rooting for? Tell us your hometown champions in the comments below! For the full list of American athletes, visit teamusa.org.