In the 16 years since Utah hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, a handful of Park City–born athletes have come of age and now have sights set on the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang. Here are the local men and women we’ll be rooting for during the Games, which run February 8 to 25 (olympic.org/pyeongchang-2018).
In the 2014 Games, Sarah Hendrickson became the first woman ever to jump in the Olympics, finishing 21st. After re-injuring her right knee in 2015, Hendrickson needed two top-five World Cup finishes last season to earn her spot on this year’s US team. Her best performances were eighth and ninth, meaning she’s now self-funded. “It seems a little harsh, especially in an Olympic year,” she says. “But since I didn’t meet the requirements, I shouldn’t get the funding.”
Alpine racer Ted Ligety burst into fans’ living rooms in 2006 with his dark-horse capture of Olympic gold in the combined at the Torino Games while just 21 years old. In 2014 in Sochi, he became the first American man to win gold in giant slalom, which also marked him as the only man in US history to win two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing. Off snow, Ligety is a husband, father, and owner of the helmet, goggle, and sunglasses company Shred Optics.
Slopestyle skier McRae Williams rocked the 2016–17 season: he won gold at the World Championships, captured silver at Winter X Games, and walked away with the FIS slopestyle Crystal Globe. Williams first caught the big-air bug as a kid while jumping on the trampoline at the Utah Olympic Park and eventually gravitated to freeskiing. “Instead of just hucking yourself down the course doing the hardest tricks possible,” Williams says, “I think it’s important to think about how you execute those tricks and paint the whole picture.”
Ski racing is still an uphill battle for two-time Olympian (2010 and 2014) Megan McJames. As an independent athlete since 2012, McJames funds her travel and training, thanks in part to the generosity of the Park City community. “Park City has been amazing,” McJames says. “I just found so many people who believed in the idea of going after your dreams, facing adversity, and persevering through that. A lot of those people have donated to me and have made everything possible.”