Five athletes from Long Island are among 242 members of Team USA going for the gold in the 2018 Winter Olympics, which runs Feb. 9 to 25 in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Hometown heroes competing on the world’s stage include ice hockey defenseman Matt Gilroy, Skeleton athlete John Daly, Luge athletes Justin Krewson and Matt Mortensen and freestyle skier Devin Logan, who’s also competing in the ski halfpipe competition.
“Qualifying for the Olympic team is pretty tricky and sometimes it even confuses me – throw in two disciplines and it is a complicated math equation,” said Logan. “I am still in a little bit of shock that something that I had worked so hard for the last eight years is now my reality!”
Of the five, Daly is the most tenured with three Olympic appearances under his belt, Mortensen and Logan are making their sophomore effort while Gilroy and Krewson are first timers. Freeskier Logan is the only one to have medaled, bringing home silver in the 2014 Sochi Olympics slopestyle competition.
The last winter Olympian from LI to take home gold was Great Neck-born figure skater Sarah Hughes in 2002.
Vying to be LI’s first gold medalist since then is 33-year-old Gilroy, who was born in Mineola and grew up in North Bellmore. He previously played for the New York Rangers before moving to Russia, where he is currently signed to the Kontinental Hockey League.
Huntington Station native Mortensen, 32, is aiming for a doubles luge medal with his partner, Jayson Terdiman. Mortensen finished 14th in the Sochi Olympics.
Olympic rookie Justin Krewson, 21, of Eastport, will be making his debut luge run in Seoul. He placed 6th in 2017 Lake Placid World Cup to secure Olympic berth.
Olympic veteran Daly, 33, originally from Smithtown, is hoping to continue to improve his showing in the Skeleton competition after placing 17th in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 15th in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“I went for 1 more Olympics because I never wanted to look back and say ‘what if,’” he tweeted. “I thought it was impossible to qualify with a year of training & a full time job. But I’m a dreamer, and I’m proof that you’re never too old to dream a new dream.”
A sixth Long Islander, Alex Gamelin, an ice dancer who grew up in North Merrick, will also be competing, but not for Team USA. He will be skating for South Korea with his partner, Yura Min, the Merrick Herald reported.