Dreams come true
Bucks Olympians make trek to Sochi
It is more than 5,300 miles from Central Bucks County to Sochi, Russia. Yet the XXII Winter Olympic Games have a strong Bucks presence.
Five Olympians with area ties made the trek to Russia, with four competing in the games.
Washington Crossing native Nathan Bartholomay was one of the first athletes to compete. A pairs figure skater, he and partner Felicia Zhang finished 14th in the short program on Feb. 6 and 12th in the long program on Feb. 18. The pair ended up 12th overall in the games.
Bartholomay, 24, and Zhang, 20, claimed the silver medal in the January U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston after an outstanding long program that catapulted them from third. The pair, who have been skating together for 3½ years, claimed the bronze medal at U.S. Nationals the year before.
Some Olympic pairs teams have skated together for nearly a decade; Bartholomay and Zhang are still considered a new pairing. That is a bullish trend for the 2018 games.
One town over from Washington Crossing, Newtown, is the hometown of Hun School graduate Jamie Greubel. Always an elite athlete, Greubel competed in the heptathlon and pentathlon while at Cornell. She set several school records and an Ivy League outdoor meet record in 2006.
Greubel, 30, started bobsled in 2007. She switched from brakewoman to pilot during the 2010-11 winter. Nicknamed “Dragon,” Greubel’s team currently ranks third on the 2013-14 Women’s Bobsled World Cup team.
The pilot of the USA-2 bobsled, Greubel and her partner, Aja Evans, won bronze on Wednesday. Only the Canadian team of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse (gold) and the United States’ Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams (silver) finished ahead of them.
Doylestown native and South Hunterdon graduate Kyle Tress competed in the men’s skeleton heats on Feb. 14 and 15. Tress finished in 21st place.
Skeleton, re-added back to the Winter Games in 2002 after a 54-year absence, is similar to luge. In skeleton, sliders sled down on their stomach face first; lugers sled down on their back feet first.
Tress, 32, started skeleton in 2002. He is a long-time member of the U.S. National team. In 2011, Tress claimed a bronze medal at the 2011 national championships. A resident of Ewing, N.J., Tress is a self-taught software and web developer who has also appeared as an extra in several films and TV shows.
Thursday, Feb. 6 was Chris Creveling Day at Palisades High School, and for good reason. Short track speed skater Creveling, a Pirate, Class of 2005, competed in multiple events in Sochi.
Competition for Creveling, 27, started on Feb. 10 when he finished fourth in his six-man heat in the 1,500 meters. Three days later, Creveling finished second in his six-man heat in the 1,000 meters, guaranteeing an advancement to the 1,000-meter quarterfinals on Feb. 15. Creveling ultimately finished 10th, barely .6 seconds behind gold medalist Viktor Ahn.
Also on Feb. 13, Creveling and his 5,000-meter U.S. teammates went through the longest two minutes of their skating lives. South Korean skater Ho-Suk Lee interfered with American Eddy Alvarez, and Creveling’s teammate, during the relay. The U.S. finished fourth in its heat, one spot behind the South Koreans.
But because the judges ruled interference, the U.S. team was bumped to third and given a chance to skate in the 5,000-meter finals on Feb. 21.
Creveling first gained notice as an in-line skater, training in Frenchtown, N.J. His family owned the Frenchtown Roller Rink, which became a mecca for elite in-line skaters. Creveling won a gold medal at the 2004 World Championships, but switched to short track in order to qualify for the Olympics.
The Palisades product set the U.S. 1,000-meter record this past January. He currently lives and trains full time in Utah.
Another Frenchtown trainee, Flemington’s Kyle Carr, also made the trek to Sochi. Like his long-time friend Creveling, Carr is a member of the U.S. 5,000-meter relay short track speed skating team. Carr had yet to compete as of press time.
Carr, 27, left Governor Mifflin High School at the end of his junior year and moved to the U.S. speed skating development program at Northern Michigan University.
Sochi is the end of a great redemption story for Carr. In 2005, he won a gold medal in the 5,000-meter relay and then suffered a horrible ankle break shortly before the U.S. Olympic Trials. In 2010, he missed making the Olympic team by a fraction of a second.
Other than Greubel, no one else had brought back a medal as of press time, but as Creveling tweeted on Feb. 6, “Sochi, we’re here!” In the end, that may be victory enough.
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