The Green Mountain State ranks first by far in the number of Olympians per capita

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Vermont may have the nation's second-smallest population, but it's set to play an outsized role at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Nearly 30 athletes with ties to the Green Mountain State will compete for Team USA at this month's games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Vermont has the sixth-highest number of Olympians, after Colorado, California, Minnesota, New York and Utah. But with one qualifier for every 48,000 residents, the state boasts the most participants per capita, And, throughout history, the fifth-highest number of winter gold medalists.

Vermonters will be able to watch live online streaming of all events if they are cable television subscribers or have paid access to NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Sports app. Those who forget the fact South Korea is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time can tune in for highlights during nightly NBC coverage at 8 p.m. EST (which is 10 a.m. the following day in Pyeongchang).

Freestyle skiing, scheduled to start Friday with women's moguls qualifiers and conclude Feb. 23 with the women's ski cross, will feature four athletes with Vermont connections: Mac Bohonnon, 22, a graduate of Stratton Mountain School; Caroline Claire, 17, of Manchester Center, a senior at Stratton Mountain School; Devin Logan, 24, of West Dover, a 2014 slopestyle silver medalist; AND Emerson Smith, 20, of Dover, a first-time moguls competitor.

Cross-country skiing, scheduled to start Saturday with the women's 7.5km+7.5km skiathlon and conclude Feb. 25 with the women's 30km mass start classic, will feature 10 athletes with Vermont connections: Patrick Caldwell, 26, a Stratton Mountain School graduate whose father, Tim Caldwell, competed in the sport in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984; Sophie Caldwell, 27, of Peru, a 2014 Olympian whose grandfather, John Caldwell, cross-country skied at the 1952 Winter Games; Jessie Diggins, 26, a fellow 2014 Olympian who spends her summers training in Stratton; Simi Hamilton, 30, a Middlebury College graduate who also competed in 2010 and 2014; Kaitlynn Miller, 26, of Elmore, a member of the Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club; Andy Newell, 34, of Shaftsbury, an Olympian in 2006, 2010 and 2014; Caitlin Patterson, 28, and Scott Patterson, 26, sister-and-brother graduates of the University of Vermont; Ida Sargent, 29, of Craftsbury, a 2014 Olympian; AND Liz Stephen, 31, of East Montpelier, an Olympian in 2010 and 2014.

Biathlon, scheduled to start Saturday with the women's 7.5km sprint and conclude Feb. 23 with the men's 4x7.5km relay, will feature three athletes with Vermont connections: Lowell Bailey, 36, a University of Vermont graduate who participated in 2006, 2010 and 2014; Emily Dreissigacker, 29, of Morrisville, sister of 2014 Olympic biathlete Hannah Dreissigacker and daughter of Judy Geer, rower at the 1976 and 1984 Summer Games, and Dick Dreissigacker, rower at the 1972 Olympics; and Susan Dunklee, 31, of Barton, a 2014 competitor whose father, Stan Dunklee, cross-country skied in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics.

Ice hockey, scheduled to start Saturday with the women's preliminaries and conclude Feb. 25 with the men's gold medal game, will feature two athletes with Vermont connections: Ryan Gunderson, 32, a University of Vermont graduate who holds the school record for most games played in a career at 148; and Amanda Pelkey, 25, of Montpelier, the University of Vermont's all-time leader in goals, 49, assists, 56, and points, 105.

Snowboarding, scheduled to start Saturday with the men's slopestyle qualifiers and conclude Feb. 24 with the men's parallel giant slalom, will feature two athletes with Vermont connections: Kelly Clark, 34, who grew up in West Dover, is the only American snowboarder to qualify for five Olympics and won gold in 2002 and bronze in 2010 and 2014; and Lindsey Jacobellis, 32, a Stratton Mountain School graduate and 2006 snowboard-cross silver medalist.

And Alpine skiing, scheduled to start Feb. 11 with the men's downhill and conclude Feb. 24 with the team event, will feature five athletes with Vermont connections: Tommy Biesemeyer, 29, a graduate of the University of Vermont; Ryan Cochran-Siegle, 25, of Starksboro, whose mother, Barbara Ann Cochran of Richmond's Cochran's Ski Area, won slalom gold at the 1972 Olympics; Jared Goldberg, 26, a Boston native who learned to ski at Killington before moving to Utah; Nolan Kasper, 28, of Warren, who also competed in 2010 and 2014; and Mikaela Shiffrin, 22, a Burke Mountain Academy graduate who, four years ago at age 18, became the youngest ever to win an Olympic slalom gold medal.

In addition, at least four Olympians with University of Vermont ties will compete for other countries: Kevin Drury, 29, will represent Canada in ski cross; Jonathan Nordbotten, 28, will represent Norway in alpine skiing; Viktor Stalberg, 32, will represent Sweden in hockey; and Laurence St. Germain, 23, will represent Canada in alpine skiing.

Kevin O'Connor is a Reformer and VTDigger.org correspondent who can be contacted at kevinoconnorvt@gmail.com.




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