The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics kicked off this week and we are so excited to watch! Did you know that out of the 224 athletes representing the United States, nearly 100 once played or are actively playing for NCAA teams in college?! In fact, some are still actively competing in the NCAA!
Ice Hockey, Speed Skating, Cross-Country Skiing, and Bobsledding are just a few of the sports being represented by former and current NCAA student-athletes. What’s most interesting, however, is that there are a number of NCAA athletes who are competing at the Winter Olympics in completely different sports than their NCAA sport! According to this list compiled by the NCAA, there are athletes who compete in Track & Field in college who are competing in Bobsled and Skeleton at the Winter Olympics! On top of the athletes representing the US, there are over 100 additional NCAA student-athletes who are representing 20 other countries and territories, like American Samoa, Switzerland, and Croatia.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student athletes from over 1,200 colleges/universities in the US. The NCAA supports student athletes and provides incentives to those who qualify and wish to compete in the Olympics. While student athletes competing in the Olympic Games will need to work with their respective institutions if the semester starts during competition time, the NCAA will cover the expenses for the athlete representing the country and allow them to receive prize money.
As stated on the NCAA website, “Reaching the Olympics is the ultimate accomplishment for many athletes. No two stories are alike. What binds them together is the world-class coaching they received as a college athlete and a love of competition that has propelled them to the top of their games. Many reach the Olympics in sports they competed in as a student-athlete. Others get to the Games in a completely different sport from their college careers.”
We’re looking forward to following the Winter Olympic Games -- especially all of the student athletes competing! Congratulations to Team USA and all NCAA Olympic student-athletes!