Pyeongchang Sendoff: Members of Congress Honor Olympians

Lawmakers celebrate skating Floridians, LGBT athletes and a brother-sister duo

Long track speed skater Erin Jackson is a constituent of Rep. Ted Yoho. (Courtesy Erin Jackson/Twitter)
Long track speed skater Erin Jackson is a constituent of Rep. Ted Yoho. (Courtesy Erin Jackson/Twitter)
Posted February 8, 2018 at 5:01am

A sunny town in Florida is sending three speedskaters to the Olympics — and it doesn’t even have an ice rink.

Erin Jackson, who trained on inline roller skates, grew up in Ocala. She is the first African-American woman to make the U.S. long track team.

Among those celebrating is Rep. Ted Yoho, who represents Florida’s 3rd District. As the 2018 Games begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea, members of Congress are honoring those on Team USA who broke barriers to be there.

From skating Floridians, to LGBT athletes, to a brother-sister duo, members are proud to call them constituents.

Here’s what lawmakers had to say as the opening ceremony nears:

Brittany Bowe, Erin Jackson and Joey Mantia, Ocala, Fla., long track speedskating: “Some Members of Congress are happy to have one person from their district in the Olympics; we are fortunate to have three! Brittany Bowe, Erin Jackson, and Joey Mantia, congratulations on earning the honor of representing your country for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Who knew three kids from Ocala, Florida, with no ice rink, will be tearing up the Winter Olympics in speed skating. Know that your family, friends, community, and country are praying and rooting for you. I know you’ll make us proud, and we can’t wait to see you do what you do best. Good luck, and let’s go Team USA!” said Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.

Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, Vail, Colo., alpine skiing; Gus Kenworthy, Telluride, Colo., freestyle skiing; Brittany Bowe, Ocala, Fla., long track speedskating; Adam Rippon, Los Angeles, Calif., figure skating: “We have a lot to cheer for as Coloradans during the Winter Olympics!  Athletes from all over train here in Colorado, and many are from here. The skill and dedication exhibited by athletes including Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin is unparalleled and truly makes us all proud, as do our courageous and groundbreaking LGBT athletes Gus Kenworthy, Brittany Bowe, and Adam Rippon. I’ll be tuning in and rooting for the home team and USA!  USA!  USA!” said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.

Lowell Bailey, Lake Placid, N.Y., biathlon; Codie Bascue, Whitehall, N.Y., bobsled; Tommy Biesemeyer, Keene, N.Y., alpine skiing; Tim Burke, Lake Placid, N.Y., biathlon; Jordan Greenway, Canton, N.Y., hockey;  Chris Mazdzer, Saranac Lake, N.Y., luge; Maddie Phaneuf, Old Forge, N.Y., biathlon; Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, N.Y., alpine skiing: “From the moment then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the 1932 games in Lake Placid to the excitement of 1980’s ‘Miracle on Ice,’ our Olympic history is an important part of what defines us in the North Country,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. “NY-21 will continue to lead the way in Pyeongchang as our athletes compete in events including the Bobsled, Hockey, Luge, Biathlon, and Alpine skiing. Our Olympians truly represent the best of our nation in sportsmanship, commitment, and fair play, and we are all inspired by your athletic achievements. Bring home the gold!”

Chris Bourque, North Reading, Mass., hockey; Jonathan Cheever, Saugus, Mass., snowboarding; Meghan Duggan, Danvers, Mass., hockey; Kali Flanagan, Burlington, Mass., hockey: “Chris, Jonathan, Meghan and Kali, from the North Shore to South Korea, good luck, make us proud, and go team USA!” said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass.

Sadie and Erik Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash., cross-country skiing: “Everyone in Central Washington can be proud and cheer on sister and brother, Sadie and Erik Bjornsen, from Okanogan County! Sadie and Erik will compete as members of Team U.S.A. in cross-country skiing at the Winter Olympics. We’re rooting for you, Sadie and Erik!” said Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.

See other congressional congratulations here and here.