Michigan the Olympics
2010 - Vancouver
Michigan sent five Olympians to represent the U.S. in Vancouver, a hockey player and four ice dancers. They won three silver medals, the largest total ever for U-M athletes at the winter games and the first-ever medals in ice dancing.
Jack Johnson, who plays for the Los Angeles Kings, won two varsity letters at Michigan, 2005-06 and 2006-07. He was a 2007 first team West All-American and was the CCHA Offensive Defenseman of the Year. Johnson had previously represented the U.S. in international competition, winning a gold medal in the 2005 under 18 World Championships and was named to the all-star team at the 2006 World Junior Championships.
In contrast to many NHL payers, Johnson, was determined to savor the full Olympic experience. He chartered a plane from Los Angeles to Bellingham, Washington after the Kings Thursday night game and then rented a car for the four-hour drive -- all to make it to Vancouver by Friday for opening ceremonies. He was the first American NHL player to walk in the opening ceremony.
Johnson saw significant playing time in each of the U.S. team six games, including 23:27 minute in the overtime loss to Canada in the gold medal game. He is the first UM hockey medallist for the U.S. since Willard Ikola and John Matchefts won silver medals in 1956.
The Detroit area has long been a hotbed of ice dancing, with several world class training facilities. All six of the the U.S. skaters trained in Michigan and four were UM students. Juniors Meryl Davis and Charlie White trained at Arctic Edge in Canton while sophom0res Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates skated at the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor. All lived on campus and worked class schedules around hectic training and competition regimens. Both pairs took Winter semester off to prepare for Olympic competition
Davis and White earned their place on the U.S. team by winning the U.S. National Championships in Spokane, Wash. Samuelson and Bates were not favorites to make the U.S. team, but turned in strong performance to claim third placeat the nationals. Olympic veterans Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, who got their start training at Arctic Edge, rounded out the U.S. team.
At Vancouver Davis and White took the lead in the final phase of competition with the highest scoring free-dance routine of the year. The Canadian pair of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (the Americans' training partners at Arctic Edge) turned in an even better dance to claim the gold medal. Samuelson and Bates finished in eleventh place.
For more on the ice dancers see:
The Olympians next door (Michigan Today)
Wolverine ice dancers reflect on 'incredible' run at Olympics (Michigan Daily)
Mike Komisarek, played two seasons for U-M, 2000/01 and 2001/02. He was named 2002 CCHA Defenseman of the Year and a first team West All-America. After being named to the U.S. team, Komisarek (Toronto Maple Leafs) suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of NHL games from January 2nd to February 3rd when it was decided that he would need to undergo season-ending surgery.
The U-M Results - 2010
|Meryl Davis and Charlie White|
|Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates|