The Carey family has many reasons to be in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
- Just after the 2008 Winter Games, Wendy and Dennis’ daughter, Reagan, was promoted to general manager and director of the U.S. women’s hockey team.
- Wendy’s father is former Olympic Nordic skier Wendell “Chummy” Bromholl.
- Their former foreign exchange student lives in Sochi half of the year.
Having never thought their daughter would be the organizer of such a large organization as the Olympic women’s hockey team, the family immediately started planning their trip to Russia. Their first step: contacting their old foreign exchange student to help translate.
The family has not seen Ivan Stepanoe since he’d lived with them starting in 1995, when he was a junior at Brown Mackie College. Then, the family lived in Louisville, Ky., and hockey was a big part of Reagan’s life.
“The Careys were kind enough to have me as their son for two years while I attended school there, and we’ve always been in touch since then,” he said.
Originally from Perm, Russia, Ivan and his father ventured to their summerhouse in Sochi, which they’ve owned since 1980, to spend the Games with Ivan’s “second family.”
Even though Ivan says he knows Reagan like a sister, he still can’t believe she got this job.
“I would never imagine her doing what she does,” said Ivan. “She’s just so crazy and outgoing. And this job probably makes her look so serious and focused on lists. But I’m very excited for her. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. She’s doing what she enjoys. Just very happy for her.”
Wendy says the Olympic Games are just in their blood.
Wendell Bromhall, known to the Olympic world as “Chummy,” is Wendy’s father. He was a member of the St. Moritz 1948 Winter Olympic Games and Norway’s 1952 Winter Games. He also is credited with organizing the 1951 N.I.S. World Nordic Championships and designing the cross-country trails for the Squaw Valley and Lake Placid Games.
Wendy says Chummy, now 94 years old, is thrilled to watch the hockey games from home.
“He was even up at 3 a.m. to watch that first game,” said Wendy. “My sister sent a picture, and he was holding an American flag and sitting in his chair,”
The Olympic spirit isn’t the only genetic coding Reagan received from her grandfather. Apparently, they’re both very competitive – at cribbage.
“One of the interesting things about the relationship between our daughter Reagan and Wendy’s dad is they play cards and are the fiercest competitors you’ve ever seen,” said Dennis. “They play cribbage. And they have tournaments and things and trash talk all the way through.”
It may be that sense of competition that got Reagan the job. Before, she was working for the NHL, specifically the Atlanta Thrashers.
“I’m proud,” said Dennis. “And pleased because she was so excited. She wasn’t sure exactly what she was getting herself into. It’s just non-stop work, but she loves it. She bought a home in Colorado Springs, but I think she’s only been there one weekend out of the whole year.”
And since being in Sochi since the start of the Games, Dennis says the busyness has not died down. The family has been there for three weeks, and has yet to see their daughter. Ivan ran into her at a concession stand for a quick chat. Wendy says they probably won’t see her until Feb. 12, after the US vs. Canada game.
“We’re hoping for the team to win the gold medal that she’s put everybody together for,” said Wendy. “Hopefully they could do it. It would be wonderful.”
Until they get to see their daughter, the family said they are going to about two events a day or traveling around with Ivan and his father.
BSU at the Games is a freelance news agency operated by 41 student journalists reporting from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games through an immersive-learning program at Ball State University.