LDS Olympic Speedskater Shares How Her Faith Led to Success (+ Where Other LDS Olympians Have Placed)

by | Feb. 15, 2018

Mormon Life

The Olympics are a time of unity and sportsmanship as the top athletes in the world compete against each other in demonstrations of skill, endurance, and strength. A few Mormons have already shown their talent as they've competed in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Two LDS athletes have yet to compete: 2014 bronze medalist Chris Fogt on the USA bobsled team (events begin Feb. 17) and Brendan Newby, freestyle skier representing Ireland (events begin Feb. 20).

Here is a brief update on the events LDS Olympians have already competed in and their placement:

1. Jerica Tandiman—1,000-M Speedskating 

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Image from Deseret News

Before competing on Valentine's Day, Tandiman told the Deseret News her faith is "definitely part of who I am. . . . It reminds me to be a good person and keeps that balance in my life. It keeps me humble.”

She noted how the Word of Wisdom has helped her as an athlete and the ways she strives to be an example no matter where she is at.

“I think no matter what I do, it’s just a big part of who I am,” she continues. “I think because it’s a big part of our beliefs that family is at the center of pretty much everything. That helps me a lot. I know that no matter what happens, no matter what I do, that my family is there for me, and that helps a lot when you’re in a sport, no matter what happens, there are people who love you and support you.”

On February 14, Tandiman finished 28th in the 1,000-meter long track race, and she told the Deseret News she could not stop smiling that evening. After all she has experienced at the Olympics, Tandiman recognizes her faith helped her obtain this dream.

“It’s helped me through a lot of hard times in training and skating,” she said. “Being an elite-level athlete, there are a lot more lows than highs, there are a lot of disappointments, setbacks and hard training. And having that religious background helped me to get through those hard times."

2. Taylor Morris—Men's Singles Luge

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Image from USA Luge Facebook

Taylor Morris made his Olympic debut in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics men's singles luge competition, placing 18th overall. The 26-year-old from South Jordan, Utah, was one of the three men to represent the U.S. in the Olympics in the men's singles luge during the most historic year for the team so far. 

For the first time in Olympic history, a member of the U.S. men's luge single team won silver. And Morris was one of the very first to offer his congratulations. 

“I was up in the stands, and then I actually (went) back down onto the finish dock because I knew if Chris did succeed that I was going to be able to give him a hug,” Morris says. "It’s such an incredible feeling. I’m so happy for him. I train with this kid every single day, and day in and day out, he’s an animal. And it’s paying off."

Morris, who broke his own personal goal of placing in the top 20 of the event, was not disappointed with his own ranking at the Olympics. 

"I can hold my head up high knowing I went out there on the edge and didn’t have any regrets. I put it together today on the third and fourth run heads, and I’m really happy with the way that it went," Morris said, according to the Deseret News

Watch his interview below:

3. Jessika Jenson—Slopestyle, Big Air

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Image from Jessika Jenson's Facebook

Battling powerful winds that delayed the start of the slopestyle competition, Idaho native Jessika Jenson pulled off an impressive 72.26 score, putting her on top of the scoreboard for a moment. 

In the end, however, Jessika placed fifth with her teammate Jamie Anderson taking home gold for a second time at the Winter Olympics. 

But Jessika is still set to compete in the big air competition, with qualifying rounds taking place Feb. 18, 5:30 p.m. MDT. Watch the Bigslope event below:

Lead images from Image from USA Luge Facebook and Jessika Jenson's Facebook
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