(February 6, 2018) Four New York Army National Guard soldiers will compete in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games that start this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Sgt. Emily Sweeney and Sgt. Matthew Mortensen will be part of the luge team. Sgt. Justin Olsen and Sgt. Nick Cunningham will be part of the bobsled team.
A fifth soldier, Sgt. Jacob Hyrns, missed making the Olympic luge team by six-hundredths of a second during team qualifying competitions in December.
Sweeney, 24, has been competing in luge since 2008. In 2013, she was the luge Junior World Champion and holds one World Cup Gold Medal and three World Cup silver Medals. Sweeney just missed representing the United States in the 2014 Olympic Games.
Mortensen, 32, has been competing in luge since 2009 and currently competes as part of a doubles team in which two riders share the sled. The 2018 games will be his second Olympics. In 2014, he finished 14th at the games in Sochi, Russia.
Olsen, 30, will make his third Olympics appearance. In 2010, he was part of the four-man bobsled team which took the gold medal at the Vancouver Games. In 2014, he was on the Olympics team with Cunningham, which finished 12th. Olsen has been competing since 2007 and has taken gold and silver medals in a number of competitions. On Monday, Olsen underwent an appendectomy, but Olympic officials are hopeful the minimally invasive procedure used will allow him to be ready for the competition that begins Feb. 18.
Cunningham, 32, competed on two-man and four-man bobsled teams in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games and has been competing in bobsled since 2008. He has a number of gold and silver medals to his credit.