Last February, fans around the world watched as the 2018 Winter Olympics took place in PyeongChang. We won’t be cheering on Team USA until the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, but as we head to the ski slope or ice rink this month, here’s a look at some of the top-performing winter sports athletes from the Buckeye State.
Brothers Hayes and David Jenkins of Akron made major impact on the world of figure skating. Hayes competed in four consecutive United States and world championships from 1953 to 1956 and won the gold medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy. Four years later, David won the 1960 Winter Olympics gold medal in Squaw Valley, California, making them back-to-back figure skating champions.
David, left, and Hayes pose together on the ice. Credit: Getty Images
Scott Hamilton of Bowling Green was born at the height of the Jenkins’ dominance, in 1958, and was diagnosed with an unknown medical illness at the age of 2 that stunted his growth. Doctors suggested exercise as a potential treatment, and Hamilton began skating as a way to improve his condition. He went on to win both the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship and the World Figure Skating Championship four years in a row and the men’s figure skating gold medal in the 1984 Winter Olympics.
Hamilton skates at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo.
Cuyahoga Heights High School graduate Kelli Stack is talented at many sports but is most known for her hockey skills. Stack joined the U.S. Women’s National team in 2009, and since became a two-time Olympic medalist, winning silver medals at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C., and the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia. In addition to the Olympics, Stack has also competed in six International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships, seven Four Nations Cups, and one IIHF Twelve Nations Invitational Tournament Series.
Stack celebrates after a goal in the second period against Canada during on day five of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Credit: Getty Images
Lea Ann Parsley is regarded as much more than just a talented athlete. Prior to becoming an Olympic athlete, Parsley was a firefighter and an EMT in her hometown of Granville and was named the 1999 State of Ohio Firefighter of the Year. Though she suffered a devastating injury that prevented her from competing in the 2006 games as a skeleton athlete, she went to the games as a coach and currently supports the skeleton team as a jury member for the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation.
Parsley shows off her silver medal after her win at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Credit: Getty Images
Bellefontaine native Louie Vito is a gifted snowboarder. He took fifth place in the men’s halfpipe competition in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, and has continued on to hold annual fundraisers for young snowboarders. His charm and athletic ability landed him a spot as a competitor on the 10th season of Dancing with the Stars.
Louie Vito stands with his snowboard after competing in the Snowboard Men’s Halfpipe on day six of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Credit: Getty Images
Being the sixth of seven children, Redmond “Red” Gerard of Rocky River learned quickly that he had to keep up with his siblings or be left behind. He picked up snowboarding at the age of two with his siblings and worked his way up from there to the pro circuit. In 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea, Gerard won the slopestyle which earned the 17-year-old the title of youngest snowboard Olympic gold medalist in history.
Gerard celebrates his gold medal win in the men’s slopestyle.