Here are my selections for the top 5 performances that came from these connections at the 21st Winter Olympic Games. Let me know if I missed anyone on the list:
5. Mark Ladwig
At 29, the Moorhead High Grad competed in his first Olympics after he and skate partner Amanda Evora had medaled at the U.S Nationals for the first time, finishing third this year. From 2007-09, the two had finished in the top five in the Nationals, but the pair of eight years earned the trip to Vancouver via lauded persistence. While Ladwig and Evora finished the Games far out of the medal race, their 10th place standing in pairs figure skating was the highest finish for the American contingent.
Women's Silver medal effort.
4. Jenny Potter & Natalie Darwitz
Potter of Edina, a mother of two and in her fourth Olympic Games (dubbed "Mom" by her teammates), earned her fourth Olympic medal in Vancouver. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher and UMD Bulldog who led her team in scoring in 2006 (Torino) concluded these Games as the team leader in goals (6) and tied for the team lead in points (11) in the
Tied with Potter for the team points lead was Eagan's Darwitz. The former Gopher and USA team Captain, in her third Olympics, also led the team in assists, recording seven for the tournament.
3. Erik Johnson
As just one of five current #1 overall NHL draft picks to hail from the States, the Bloomington-native and former U of M skater Johnson, 21, has a rep as an offensive-defenseman for his day job with the St. Louis Blues. But the kid proved his versatility in these, his first Olympic Games. The budding star was a key element in USA's inspired Silver medal run, seeing the fourth-most ice time for his squad and notching a goal versus Finland in the tournament semifinal. More importantly, Johnson's plus/minus time on the rink tallied a final +3, with just one even strength or power play goal allowed on his watch. He should be an Olympic participant for years to come.
2. Lindsey Vonn
Views on Vonn -- both nationally and from a local vantage -- are polarized after the hype-machine exits Vancouver (her third Olympics) with two medals in her five events (Gold in
1. Zach Parise
The Prior Lake-native and Shattuck-St. Mary's product began these Games with little juice to show for the squeeze. Expected to be a scoring machine for Team USA, the diminutive New Jersey Devil who came to Vancouver tied for ninth in NHL goals (28) and 17th in points (61) netted nary a goal for the first three games. But come the Olympic quarterfinal, the 25-year-old Parise found his celebrated scoring groove and netted four goals in the team's last three