My first memories of triumph and greatness come from the Olympics. As a kid I loved gymnastics, so naturally I idolized Olga Korbut, Nadia Comaneci, Bart Conner, Kurt Thomas and Julianne McNamara. Even then I could understand just how much talent they had to possess, how hard they had to work, how many hours of training and how much sacrifice was involved in making it all the way to the Olympics, let alone walking away with a medal.
Since then I have always loved watching the Olympics and reading the stories of the athletes – from how they train to what they have had to overcome. After all, for every Olympian there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who once pursued they dream they are living.
That is why I am excited to tell you about the Team Kellogg’s USA for 2014. Kellogg’s has a long history of sponsoring athletes through its support of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. Team Kellogg’s is an elite group of 9 Olympic legends and Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The co-captains of Team Kellogg’s are Olympic greats Kristi Yamaguchi and Jim Craig. Kristi Yamaguchi has been an inspiration to millions since she won an Olympic gold medal in figure skating in 1992. As goalie of the 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medal hockey team, Jim Craig has been called the backbone group that famously beat Russia in what is unquestionably one of the most memorable sports victories of all time. Follow them on Twitter at @KristiYamaguchi and @JimCraigUSA.
Here are the athletes on Team Kellogg’s:
Amy Purdy lost both of her legs, her kidney and her spleen at age 19 after contracting meningitis. The very first time she put on her new prosthetic legs, Amy stood up and danced with her father. She placed third in a snowboarding competition just one year after losing both of her legs. She went on to become the world’s top ranked adaptive snowboarder and now hopes to compete in the Sochi 2014 Olympic games. How is that for determination and overcoming adversity? Can you think of anything more inspiring? Me neither. @AmyPurdyGurl
Gretchen Bleiler is a fabulous example of a healthy life lived well. She first began snowboarding at the age of 10 to keep up with her older brothers. She was a 2006 Olympic Silver medalist in snowboarding and is going for gold in 2014. She is an environmental advocate, heavily involved in a non-profit organization called Protect Our Winters and becoming a founder of ALEX, a brand of BPA-free, stainless steel water bottles. Gretchen begins every day with 30 minutes of mediation, a practice which sure seems to be helping her stay grounded in her success. @GretchenBleiler
Heath Calhoun is a dedicated father of three, and a retired Staff Sargent who lost his legs during combat in Iraq. With a personal motto of “never give up”, Heat surely has followed his own advice. Today he is an accomplished alpine skier, who won a gold medal in sitting slalom at the Para-Ski National Championships. Retired Staff Sgt. Heath Calhoun has gone from the battlefield to the ski slopes, all in the name of representing his country. @LeglessHeath
Meryl Davis and Charlie White are accomplished ice dancers who were born and raised in Michigan and now attend the University of Michigan. They were the 2010 Olympic Silver Medalists in ice dancing and together won 6 medals during the 2012/2013 season. These four-time American Ice Dance Champions are now focusing on the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. @Meryl_Davis / @CharlieaWhite
Ever since Ted Ligety started competing in ski racing at the age of 10 has pushed the sport’s boundaries. During the 2012-2013 ski season he became the first American to win three gold medals at one world championship, in the giant slalom, slalom and the super combined. With a tremendous work ethic, Ted has earned 37 world cup medals and won 6 U.S. championships. Not too shabby, right? @tligety
Sarah Hendrickson is one of the best female ski jumpers in the world at just 18 years old. She hopes to make history as women’s ski jumping makes its debut at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. She grew up on the snow, having a father who was a collegiate ski jumper, a mother who was a cross country and downhill ski racer, and a brother who is on the Nordic Combined B team. Yes, she is just an “ordinary teenager” – who can fly in the air at 60 mph. @schendrickson
Noelle Pikus-Pace was the gold medal favorite heading into the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, before she was tragically hit by a runaway bobsled and missed the Games. She returned to the Olympics in 2010, finishing fourth by 1/10 of a second. During the 2012/2013 season she won six gold medals, four silver medals and two bronze medals. Not a bad season for this doting mother of two! She’s coming back in 2014 for another shot at gold in Sochi. @NoellePikusPace
Torin Yater-Wallace has excelled in both Halfpipe and Slopestyle Freeskiing. Freeskiing will be making its Olympic debut in 2014 and plans to be there as well. He has won the Sochi World Cup, the X Games, the US Open Championships as well as the FIS Norway Worlds. Even with all of those accomplishments to date, perhaps his most endearing quality is that he considers his mom his biggest inspiration. @TorinWallace
Join me in rooting for Team Kellogg’s in 2014. Won’t you?