San Diegans to watch in the Winter Olympics

Shaun White

Shaun White is perhaps the most famous snowboarder in the world, and the 31-year-old has had to go through a lot to get back to the Olympic stage. In October, White slammed his face off the rim of a 22-foot Olympic superpipe while training in New Zealand. Immediately following the injury, he was taken via helicopter to a hospital for surgery and 62 stitches. Almost miraculously, the San Diego native was able to recover quickly. He qualified for the Olympics three months later with a perfect score of 100 at U.S. Olympic qualifiers in Colorado.

It certainly has not been the easiest path for White to get back to the Olympics, but he is searching for revenge following a subpar 2014 games in Sochi. Four years ago, he failed to win a medal at the Olympics and was highly scrutinized by his snowboarding peers.

White will participate in the halfpipe qualifiers on February 12 with eyes on the gold. The Men’s gold medal final is scheduled for February 13.

Lindsey Jacobellis

Lindsey Jacobellis lives in Encinitas and is a 5-time world champion in snowboard cross. However, she has yet to win an Olympic gold. The 32-year-old only has one Olympic medal (silver), and it was an infamous one at that. In her first Olympics (2006), Jacobellis was on pace to win gold, but she crashed late in the race and was passed by. In both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, she was eliminated in the semifinals.

Jacobellis is the only American woman to have won an Olympic medal in snowboard cross, and she still is a strong contender to win gold in South Korea. She won her fifth world championship in 2017 and is looking to finally break through with a gold medal.

Women’s snowboard cross will be held on February 15.

Chris Knierim 

Chris Knierim was raised in Ramona and is participating in his first ever Olympic games in Pairs figure skating. His skating partner is his wife, Alexa Scimeca Knierim. The two has had to go through a lot to make the Olympics as the only American pairs duo (the latest being an emergency room visit following a training mishap, in which Knierim needed stitches above his left eye). They had a solid Olympic debut last night, helping the U.S. finish fourth in the first round of the team event.

Knierim will be competing up until the final competition of pairs free skating on February 14.

Elana Meyers Taylor

Taylor was born in Oceanside and is a bobsledder. She recently made headlines as being one of three Olympians to pledge their brains for CTE and concussion research; a move that was motivated by a concussion that nearly ended her career in 2015. The 33-year-old is missing only a gold medal from her trophy case, and she won bronze in 2010 and silver in 2014. She pilots the two-person sled and made history in 2015 as being the first American female bobsled driver to win a world championship. She won another world championship in 2017.

Taylor will compete on Tuesday, February 20.

Seamus O’Connor

Seamus O’Connor is a snowboarder who grew up in Ramona. However, he competes internationally for Ireland. O’Connor was Ireland’s flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the games and will represent the country in the halfpipe competition. This will be his second Olympic games. The 20-year-old competed in the 2014 games in both the slopestyle and halfpipe competitions.

Like Shaun White, O’Connor will participate in qualifications on February 12 with hopes of competing for gold on February 13.