Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

David Ramsey: A Colorado-centric guide to 2018 South Korea Olympics

February 8, 2018 Updated: February 11, 2018 at 10:29 pm
Caption +
FILE - Colorado College's Mike Testwuide, right, sprawls on the ice as he and Minnesota's Sam Lofquist, left, go after the puck in the second period of an NCAA college hockey game at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Sunday, Dec, 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Janet Hostetter)

If you’re looking for Colorado connections in these South Korea Olympics, start here. A look at four of the most fascinating stories from our state in these Games:

Mike Testwuide, hockey

Colorado College hockey fans once called a 6-foot-3 forward Mike Testwuide.

Fans in South Korea call the same player, Kang Tae-san, or “strong big mountain.”

In a strange twist, Testwuide will compete for South Korea. He grew up in Vail. He played four seasons for the Tigers.

But, yes, he will be competing for the host country.

Late in the summer of 2013, Testwuide departed his faltering pro career in North America and purchased a ticket to South Korea, where he would play for Anyang, a city on the edge of Seoul’s massive urban sprawl.

Against all odds, he found a hockey home.

“I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” Testwuide told The Independent of London. “I just wanted to revive my career and my love for the game. But I loved it right away, the people were so nice to me and I just fitted right in. It was a little bit of culture shock at the beginning but it’s a great city, a great place to live.”

Testwuide, after his application was fast-tracked, quickly became a Korean citizen, although he’s been able to retain his U.S. citizenship, too. He might soon be playing for the Koreans, his adopted home, against the his fellow Americans.

Katie Uhlaender: Skeleton

2017 Olympic Media Summit
United States Olympic Winter Games skeleton hopeful Katie Uhlaender poses for a portrait at the 2017 Team USA Media Summit Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) 

As a child in Breckenridge, Katie Uhlaender grew up under the direction of her father Ted, who preached the importance of toughness, self-reliance and never-ending improvement.

Ted demanded much of Katie, who still lives in Breckenridge.

“I don’t remember him ever complimenting me,” Uhlaender told me in 2013. “Or him ever putting me down. He always told me how to get better. He never gave me anything. He made me work for it.”

Ted, an outfielder for the Twins, Indians and Reds, played in the 1965 and 1972 World Series. He was a tough guy intent on raising a tough daughter. Ted died in 2009.

It’s easy to see Ted’s influence when Katie rides on her sled in skeleton competition. She savors her face-first rides on an ice missile that travels 75 miles per hour.

Skeleton was invented by English tourists in Switzerland in the 1880s. It’s a simple yet ruthlessly difficult endeavor. A competitor hops on a sled and speeds down the same courses used by bobsled racers.

Mikaela Shiffrin: Skiing

Alpine Preview Skiing
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2017, file photo, Mikaela Shiffrin, of the U.S., celebrates her gold medal in the women's slalom at the alpine skiing World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Shiffrin continues to race as well as she has been, she is setting herself up to be the biggest start of the Pyeongchang Olympics. Not just of Alpine skiing, but the entire Winter Games. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati, File) 

Bill Russell won two NCAA titles with the University of San Francisco and 11 NBA titles (in 13 seasons) with the Boston Celtics. His secret? He watched a private highlight reel in his mind before games. In these videos, a tall center named Bill always led his team to victory.

Mikaela Shiffrin, who lives in the Vail Valley, follows a similar approach to ski dominance. She watches, over and over, as she races to impressive victory. These viewings are intensely private. They take place in her mind.

In her mind, Shiffrin runs through all the possibilities, good and bad. She sees fantastic runs to the finish line. And she watches, in her mind, horrendous crashes and the mistakes that caused the crash.

“I’ve envisioned myself crashing because I know what mistake I made in my head to cause that crash,” she said at Sochi in 2014. “And I know I’m not going to do that. It takes a lot of courage to see yourself at every position and then brush it aside on race day.”

On the day Shiffrin arrived in Sochi, she was asked about the course. She liked what she saw, but found no surprises as she examined the run.

“I’ve been here before in my head,” she said.

Lindsey Vonn: Skiing

Pyeongchang Olympics Downhill Courses
FILE - In this March 4, 2017, file photo, United States' Lindsey Vonn competes during the women's World Cup downhill at the Jeongseon Alpine Center in Jeongseon, South Korea. The most prized Olympic titles in Alpine skiing will be won this month on downhill courses raced only once before. “I think it's very unique,” said Vonn, who was runner-up in the women’s test race. “There are a lot of elements on the Olympic track that aren't on any World Cup (course).” (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File) 

Lindsey Vonn is a native of Minnesota, but she’s based her training and her life in Vail since she was a teen-ager. She’s now 33, ancient by the demanding standards of ski racing.

She’s in the final stretch of a highly successful, highly visible and highly painful career. She’s posed for Sports Illustrated. She’s dated Tiger Woods. She’s claimed an astounding 80 World Cup victories, including one this month.

She’s shown herself as one of the toughest athletes to compete in any sport. She’s endured nine major injuries in her career and five major surgeries since 2006. Her right knee is a mess and has hobbled her for most of this decade.

She remains, despite everything, blindingly fast.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
articles remaining
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.