The 2018 Winter Olympics are on and Rochester, NY has something to brag about. At this year’s winter games, the U.S. is sending a team of 29 skiers and snowboarders to the games. Out of the 29 people on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team, six of them are from right here in Rochester. All six members have competed in events across the globe and come back as champions.
Of the team, the “Bristol Super Six” as they call themselves, are competing in the same event. Freestyle Skiing. The “Bristol Super Six” representing the U.S. this year all from Rochester have worked their way up the mountain to get here (no pun intended):
John Lillis: Rochester, NY (Aerials)
Dylan Walczyk : Rochester, NY (Moguls)
Morgan Schild: Pittsford, NY (Moguls)
Harrison Smith: Rochester, NY (Aerials)
Patrick O ’Flynn: Rochester, NY (Aerials)
All of these athletes have been working hard from a very young age to get where they are today. Working under Coach John Kroetz each of the athletes have honed their craft and been successful on the world stage. Competing and having fun is what they love to do. Drew Broderick, Bristol Mountain marketing director encourages. “We recommend you start skiing for fun.” That’s not a bad idea. “And if you’re out there training and you love every minute of it, then that’s a recipe for success.” The Olympics is considered the grand stage for all international sports to compete against each other. The spotlight is very bright. However, for Morgan Schild and John Lillis of the “Bristol Super Six” it will be intensified. Schild has been chosen by NBC to be “the” face of all the Winter Olympic promotions. This can be a big load to carry and come with a lot of pressure. While Schild is carrying the pressure of being “the” face of the Olympic Games, Lillis is carrying a much different burden. He is traveling to the winter games with the death of his younger brother Michael Lillis, heavy on his heart. Passing away at the age of 17, John won’t be competing for just his country.
While these athletes are traveling to the games as the “Bristol Super Six” to represent the U.S. a lot of eyes will be on Morgan Schild to see how she handles the pressure, and Lillis to see how he honors his brother with his performance. Very seldom does Rochester NY, as a community get national attention let alone upstate New York. Let alone it being positive. At the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, the “Bristol Super Six” have a chance to not only make a name for themselves but for Rochester, NY. They’re ready to compete and we’re ready to cheer them on.
Despite these six individuals garnering the spotlight for the Rochester area at the Olympics, they are not the only ones. This year, there are five others who will also be representing the U.S. who are connected to Rochester. David Leggio is one of three goalies on the roster for the men’s hockey team. Leggio played for the Rochester Americans from 2011-2013 and has appeared in 118 games for the team, still holds a connection to the city. Another, and perhaps most famous and most decorated is Greece native Brian Gionta. Gionta will be captaining the 2018 U.S. men’s hockey team and carries a very impressive resumé. Having won an NCAA title, a Stanley Cup, having captained both the Montreal Canadians and Buffalo Sabers in his 1,006 games in the NHL, Gionta has very strong ties to the communities in Rochester and Buffalo. Dr. Ally Howe and Ron Rolston, both with strong ties to the Rochester area, will accompany the women’s and men’s hockey teams respectively, this winter Olympics as the head team physician and assistant coach. Howe is a graduate of Batavia high school and former All-American at Hobart and William Smith college. Rolston is the former head coach of both the Rochester Americans (2011-2013) and the Buffalo Sabers (2012-2013). Last on the list of Rochester representatives but certainly not least, is Pittsford native Paige Conners. Paige is a pairs figure skater who comes from a family of well-trained athletes. Paige’s brother Jared plays lacrosse at the University of Virginia and brother Jesse plays football at Syracuse.
Each member, very well trained in their respective area, bring something to the table and will represent their country proudly. Even though it is the winter Olympics and they’re on the world stage, each will have their community and their family rooting for them. They will represent the U.S. and Rochester and make them proud.
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