Olympic cheat sheet: Meet Steamboat’s 2018 Olympians and find out when they’re on TV | SteamboatToday.com

Olympic cheat sheet: Meet Steamboat’s 2018 Olympians and find out when they’re on TV

Jaelin Kauf skis down the Voodoo moguls run in Steamboat Springs.

*All times and dates are mountain time.

Arielle Gold

Halfpipe snowboarding

Feb. 11: Qualifications, 10:30 p.m. to midnight

Feb. 12: Finals, 6 to 7:40 p.m.

Get to know her: Gold will be heading to the Olympics for the second time but stands to compete in the Olympics for the first time. She made the team in 2014, but going through a final training run moments before the start of the event, she hit a clump of snow in the soggy, wet halfpipe and fell hard dislocating her shoulder. Her brother Taylor Gold also made the 2014 team, competing in men's snowboard halfpipe, but had to sit out the 2017-18 season while he had surgery on two different injuries. Arielle — that's R-E-L, not Air-E-L, in case you were wondering — is passionate about several things besides snowboarding, including the Denver Broncos, her horse, Sparky, and advocating for animals. She's currently studying psychology at University of Colorado-Boulder and hopes to become a veterinarian.

Ties to Steamboat: She was born in Steamboat and learned to snowboard there, though she now spends most of her winters in Summit County to be closer to a 22-foot halfpipe for training.

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A good result would be: A medal. Gold has made the podium at most of the major events in the world, including X Games and the World Championships, and, most recently, Dew Tour in December. The field at the Olympics won't be any tougher than those events, and in fact, may not be as deep.

To medal, she needs to: Land her best trick, the 1080, three full rotations, in a clean run. Others will throw it, and U.S. teammate Chloe Kim has done two in the same run, but even she struggles with the trick at times. If Kim lands two in a clean run, that's likely to bring the gold medal, but she isn't always clean, and if she does leave the door open even a little, Gold is plenty capable of taking advantage.

Jaelin Kauf

Freestyle skiing moguls

Feb. 8: Qualifications, 7 to 7:45 p.m.

Feb. 11: Finals, 4:30 to 7:40 a.m.

Get to know her: Kauf is the daughter of two of the world's best moguls skiers from the 1980s and 1990s. Her father Scott Kauf won the World Pro Moguls tour five times, and her mother Patti Kauf-Melehes won it twice. Her mother competed in events while pregnant with both Jaelin and her older brother Skyler. Still, Jaelin’s first reaction to moguls: "I actually hated moguls when I was really young. I think I just liked going inside and coloring more than being out skiing." She came around, to say the least, but focused on maintaining a regular life through high school, even if it meant postponing climbing the competitive ladder in moguls.

Ties to Steamboat Springs: She was born in Vail, grew up in Alta, Wyoming, attended high school entirely in Steamboat Springs and lives in Park City, Utah.

A good result would be: A gold medal. OK, any medal would be great in a somewhat unpredictable sport like moguls skiing, but gold is definitely within Kauf's grasp. She's in the best stretch of her career and has won two of this season's seven World Cup events.

To medal, she needs to: Maintain control on the lower jump of the moguls course. Turns account for 60 percent of a skier's score, and time down the course accounts for another 20 percent. Kauf rarely struggles there. She almost always stays in control and is regularly the fastest skier on the women's World Cup. She doesn't have that daredevil jumping gene, however, and has been slower to adapt to that part of the sport, which accounts for the final 20 percent of a score. Her tricks aren't as hard as some of her opponents, so she needs to do what she does well, so her scores for speed and turns can carry her to victory.

Nita Englund

Ski jumping

Feb. 12: Women's normal hill individual final, 6:50 to 8:20 a.m.

Get to know her: Englund followed her brothers into ski jumping at a hill in Iron Mountain, Michigan, near the family's home in Wisconsin. She leapt into the sport before it was even offered for women at the Olympic level. She soon established herself as a force, however, and made the U.S. team after training with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Ties to Steamboat: Born in Florence, Wisconsin, Englund lived in Steamboat and trained with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for several seasons.

A good result would be: Top 15. That may be demanding a lot considering her recent World Cup results. Her best finish this season is 30th. But, she's been in the top 10 before, including last year at the Olympic test events in Pyeongchang, where she placed seventh one day and eighth the next.

To medal, she needs to: Bring back that lovin' feeling. She hasn't had a great start to the season, but last year consistently leapt into the top 20. If she can catch that wave again and a few things fall her way, she could be on the podium.

Mick Dierdorff

Snowboard cross

Feb. 14: Qualifications and finals, 7 to 11 p.m.

Get to know him: Dierdorff, 26 years old, had plenty of Steamboat hobbies outside snowboarding. Even as heis career was starting to take off in high school, he joined the football team. He hunts elk in the mountains around town and until the last few years, when he truly buckled down to focus completely on offseason training, spent his summer framing houses. Becoming an Olympic-caliber rider didn't happen overnight for him. He got his first World Cup start in 2009 but didn't have a top-30 finish for three more years. It took two more years after that to record a top-10 finish and still two more seasons to land his first podium finish. Now, however, he's arrived.

Ties to Steamboat: He was born and raised in Steamboat before moving to Park City, Utah, two years ago to train.

A good result would be: Top five. Dierdorff is on the best run of his career, landing in the top 10 in five consecutive World Cup events this season. That's after he entered the season with just three to his name. So, finishing in the top 10 would continue that trend but making the top five would be at the high-end of his previous marks.

To medal, he needs to: Have it come together. He's better this season than he's ever been in his career, but small mistakes at the worst moments have kept him mostly to top-10 finishes rather than podium finishes. Maintain the momentum he has and tighten up his riding just a little, and he can definitely bring home a medal.

Jarryd Hughes

Snowboard cross

Feb. 14: Qualifications and finals, 7  to 11 p.m.

Getting to know him: Hughes will be back for his second Olympics after his first ended in very frustrating fashion. Another racer crashed into him during a heat, sending both to the snow and ending their chance of advancing. That’s not been his only hurdles. He’s endured five knee surgeries but is back and ready to ride in South Korea.

Ties to Steamboat: The Sydney snowboarder, competing for Australia, trained for several years in Steamboat Springs.

A good result would be: A medal. Hughes has big-time results. He won X Games, though that can be a shallow field and a flukey event. He’s won two World Cups, however, and made the podium of another.

To medal, he needs to: Avoid the terrible luck of having another rider take him out. Seriously, he needs to stay healthy and on his board, and he should be in the conversation.

Belle Brockhoff

Snowboard cross

Feb. 15: Qualifications and finals, 6 to 9:15 p.m.

Getting to know her: Brockhoff, another Aussie snowboarder, is rushing to return from a serious injury. She blew her anterior cruciate ligament midway through last month during training. That's bad enough, but it wasn't even her first time. She had the same knee reconstructed twice. Nevertheless, she’s still determined to compete.

Ties to Steamboat: Lived and trained in Steamboat for several seasons.

A good result would be: Finishing healthy. Brockhoff has been a fixture in the top 10 since 2014, finishing there 14 times in 16 races. She won three of those events, too. But, this knee rebuild is her second in less than a year. That can’t be good.

To medal, she needs to: If she can somehow regain enough strength in her knee to ride and somehow shake off the cobwebs to regain her form, she’ll be right in the hunt for the medals. She was before she got injured for the first time last season. Seriously, though, just making it to snow will be a serious victory.

Bryan Fletcher

Nordic combined

Feb. 14: Individual normal hill event, Midnight to 3:45 a.m.

Feb. 20: Individual large hill event, 4 to 7:45 a.m.

Feb. 22: Four-man team large hill event, 4:30 to 5:20 a.m.

Get to know him: Fletcher will compete in his second Olympics. He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was 3 years old and took up skiing, in part, as a response. He's more recently helped co-found a charity, ccThrive, which helps young cancer survivors realize their potential after recovery. He's been a member of the U.S. team since 2006 and is married to wife, Nikki Fletcher. They have an 18-month-old daughter Ellery.

Ties to Steamboat Springs: He was born, grew up and learned to ski and ski jump in Steamboat. He moved to Park City, Utah, to train with the U.S. Ski Team.

A good result would be: Fletcher's made the top-10 at a World Cup 26 times in his career but wasn't able to do that in his previous Olympic starts. It would be a job well done if he could do that in South Korea.

To medal, he needs to: Jump well. Jumping was initially Fletcher's strength in the sport, but his marks there have receded in recent seasons. He's been able to make up for that by turning his cross-country skiing into an elite skill. Remove one rotten result, and he's averaged the fifth-fastest time in his races this season. He's been in medal contention late in individual events at each of the last two World Championships, but both of those opportunities came after strong showings on the jump hill.

Taylor Fletcher

Nordic combined

Feb. 14: Individual normal hill event, Midnight to 3:45 a.m.

Feb. 20: Individual large hill event, 4 to 7:45 a.m.

Feb. 22: Four-man team large hill event, 4:30 to 5:20 a.m.

Getting to know him: Fletcher is competing in his third Winter Olympics. He was a bit of a surprise to make the team in 2010 but had solidified his place as one of the nation's best by 2014. Still, it wasn't easy to make the squad this year. He's always been one of the fastest skiers on the World Cup, capable of making up major ground in the second part of Nordic combined. But, he's had to make up so much ground because his jumping has been so poor. It nearly cost him the chance to compete in a third Olympics. On a lighter note, he's dating aerials World Champion Kiley McKinnon. One major downside to a relationship with a winter athlete in another sport: they're always competing in different corners of the world and rarely  get to see each other compete.

Ties to Steamboat Springs: He was born, grew up and learned to ski and ski jump in Steamboat. He moved to Park City, Utah, to train with the U.S. Ski Team.

A good result would be: Top 20. Fletcher's problems jumping have limited his results this season, but in the past, he's been able to ski from further back in the pack to strong results.

To medal, he needs to: Jump. It's pretty simple. If he can put out one decent jump, he could be very competitive in a race. He's shown time and again he's capable of blowing by competition on his skis. But, he needs that jump first.

Ben Berend

Nordic combined

Feb. 14: Individual normal hill event, Midnight to 3:45 a.m.

Feb. 20: Individual large hill event, 4 to 7:45 a.m.

Feb. 22: Four-man team large hill event, 4:30 to 5:20 a.m.

 Getting to know him: Berend grew up around the corner from teammate and now fellow Olympian Jasper Good and the two remain close friends. He was on the wrong side of the Olympic qualification bubble early in the season, but gave himself a chance with a series of strong results on the Continental Cup late in the process.

 Ties to Steamboat Springs: He was born, grew up and learned to ski and ski jump in Steamboat. He now lives in Park City, Utah to train with the U.S. Ski Team.

 A good result would be: Top 30. Berend has shown elite jumping ability. He leapt to second place in a World Cup a year ago. He said he made a mistake in trying to hold that position rather than ski more strategically in the ensuing race, but learned from that and has another year of training under his belt.

 To medal, he needs to: Prove he learned from that World Cup race last year. He's shown he can jump with the best in the world. If he uncorks another similar flight in Pyeongchang, he could be sitting near the top heading into the ski race. 

Jasper Good

Nordic combined

Feb. 14: Individual normal hill event, Midnight to 3:45 a.m.

Feb. 20: Individual large hill event, 4 to 7:45 a.m.

Feb. 22: Four-man team large hill event, 4:30 to 5:20 a.m.

Getting to know him: Good is a strong all-around skier and a part of a young wave of athletes who are looking to carry the U.S. Nordic combined efforts forward. He grew up in downtown Steamboat right around the corner from fellow U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team member and close friend Ben Berend.

Ties to Steamboat: Good was born in and grew up in Steamboat Springs. He now lives in Park City, Utah, to train with the team.

A good result would be: Top 30. About 45 athletes will start at the Olympics, so the field is slightly more compact than at your average World Cup, plus the field won't be as deep seeing as only four athletes can participate from the best nations. Good's best individual World Cup result is 34th.

To medal, he needs to: Jump really well and have an inspired race. Making the 2018 Winter Olympic team isn't really about finishing high for a young athlete like Good. It's more about the experience and using that to pave the way for strong results in 2022 and beyond. But, if Good were to medal, it'd probably take a huge jump, into the top five perhaps, then racing a very smart race.

Aaron Muss

Alpine snowboarding

Feb. 21: Parallel giant slalom qualifying, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: Parallel giant slalom finals, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Get to know him: Muss, 23, moved to Steamboat Springs six years ago to focus his training and work with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Alpine snowboarding racing coach Thedo Remmelink. It hasn't always been an easy path, and his career, even his life, nearly ended because of complications stemming from a routine 2014 shoulder surgery. Instead that brush with death focused his mind. He was soon regularly starting World Cup events, and this season has pushed beyond "showing up" to being competitive every weekend

Ties to Steamboat: A New Jersey native, Muss has been training in Steamboat Springs for about six years.

A good result would be: Top 10. Muss is on fire at the moment, so where a finish as high as top 10 even two months ago may have seemed a long shot, it seems very reasonable now after he's finished there in three of his last four events.

To medal, he needs to: Maintain his momentum and handle the big stage well. Muss was seventh a year ago in the Olympic test event in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That was the start of a great year of riding. Before that, he'd never placed in the top 10 at a World Cup. Since then, he's raced in seven World Cups and made top 10 in three.

Rosie Mancari

Snowboard cross

Feb. 15: Qualifications and finals, 6 to 9:15 p.m.

Getting to know her: Mancari grew up in Alaska but opted to graduate high school early to move to Steamboat Springs to focus on her snowboard training.

Ties to Steamboat: An Alaska native, Mancari graduated high school early in Anchorage to move to Steamboat Springs and train.

A good result would be: A top-10 finish. Mancari finished 15th on the World Cup last season and is currently 14th this winter. She has two World Cup top-10 finishes in just 16 starts on the circuit.

To medal, she needs to: Race smart. Snowboard cross can be brutal, and everything in a race can change in an instant. Mancari doesn't have the results to show she can be on the podium, but if there's ever a place for something unexpected to happen, it's the Olympics. If she can take advantage of the opportunities, she will see on the course, she can find her way through the bracket.

Michael Trapp

Alpine snowboarding

Feb. 21: Parallel giant slalom qualifying, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: Parallel giant slalom finals, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Get to know him: Trapp grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has spent many of his competitive years returning there, working on cars and working out on the beach. He fell in love with racing at a young age and has been striving to make the U.S. Olympic Team ever since. He's now coached by long-time Steamboat Springs Alpine snowboard racer Justin Reiter.

Ties to Steamboat: Trapp grew up in Massachusetts, learned to snowboard in Maine, learned to race in New Hampshire and, in 2006, moved to Steamboat Springs to work with Thedo Remmelink and the Winter Sports Club. He worked with the club until 2015.

A good result would be: Making the bracket, so top 16. Trapp didn't so much make the team off his recent results as much as he did his results from last winter, when he had two top-10 World Cup finishes. Things haven't been so hot this season, and he's cracked the top 30 just once. The Olympic field is loaded at the top, but it's not as deep as most World Cups, featuring roughly half as many riders. Trapp doesn't have to be other worldly to make the bracketed finals. He just needs a good day in qualifying.

To medal, he needs to: Find his 2016-17 form. After his strong finish to last season, Trapp seemed on track to be the top American in the sport. It's not like he forgot how to snowboard.

Ester Ledecka

Alpine skiing, Alpine snowboarding

Feb. 21: Parallel giant slalom qualifying, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: Parallel giant slalom finals, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

It's not clear which Alpine ski events Ledecka will race.

Getting to know her: Ledecka is on the verge of pulling off a truly unique and incredible feat: competing at the Olympics in both skiing and snowboarding. It goes without saying that's never been done before. Back home in the Czech Republic, Ledecka comes from a famous family. Her grandfather was a star playing hockey, and her father is a pop music icon in the country.

Ties to Steamboat: Ledecka, who will compete for Czech Republic, trained with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and Alpine snowboard coach Thedo Remmelink. She now trains with Steamboat Olympian Justin Reiter.

A good result would be: Top 30 in skiing and gold in snowboarding. Ledecka is a good skier, obviously. She’s placed as high as 20th at the World Championships and as high as seventh in a World Cup downhill. That’s legit. But she truly shines in snowboarding. She was seventh at the last Olympics and has won two World Championships. She’s won 13 times on the World Cup, including four times this season and in seven of her last 10 events.

To medal, she needs to: It’d be a stretch in skiing, but to medal in snowboarding she needs to have a typical good day. She’s been to the Olympics before, and she's reigned as the favorite on the World Cup for at least a season, so the spotlight and pressure shouldn’t be a shock.

Vic Wild

Alpine snowboarding

Feb. 21: Parallel giant slalom qualifying, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: Parallel giant slalom finals, 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Getting to know him: Wild has lived an amazing story in snowboarding. A native of Washington, he trained in Steamboat Springs but, after marrying a Russian citizen, opted for Russian citizenship in an effort to secure funding for his sport that the United States was not providing. He found that support and a country eager to have him, especially after he won two gold medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics on his newly home snow.

Ties to Steamboat: Wild lived and trained in Steamboat before moving to Russia.

A good result would be: A medal. He can’t pull another double gold feat like he did in 2014. There’s only one Alpine snowboard event this year, compared to two in 2014. But, he certainly is a threat to win another medal.

To medal, he needs to: Find that old form. He’s been solid on the World Cup for the last four years, but not as spectacular as he was for two magical days at the 2014 Olympics. He’s won just one World Cup since but has plenty of top-10 finishes in that span.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.