South Dakota’s Winter Olympics Drought Continues
When the 24th Winter Olympics begin in Beijing, China one week from tonight (February 3), a long streak involving South Dakota athletes will remain intact.
These winter games will once again see the Mount Rushmore State come up empty on the medal stand.
According to BeenVerified.com, no South Dakota-born athlete had ever placed in the top three in any of the previous 23 winter games.
That streak has now reached nearly 100 years, dating back to the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France in 1924.
So how can we be so sure, no South Dakota-born athlete will break through in 2022?
According to the official Team USA website, none of the 222 American athletes competing in 16 different sports in Beijing, was born here.
South Dakota isn't alone, 19 other states have no representation on the Team USA roster.
The states most represented in these games are California (29 athletes), our neighbors to the east Minnesota (23 athletes), and Colorado (23 athletes).
Over the years, only a trio of local athletes has qualified for the Winter Olympics.
To find the last time, you'll have to go back a dozen years when Black Hawk native and Rapid City Central graduate Jana Lindsey was making her second straight appearance in Freestyle Skiing.
She finished 16th in Turin, Italy in 2006 and 17th in Vancouver in 2010.
Her appearance on the Team USA roster broke a drought of more than 30 years for South Dakota-born athletes in the winter games.
In 1972, Deadwood native Scott Berry finished 47th and 52nd in the large hill and normal hill Ski Jumping events in Sapporo, Japan.
South Dakota's first athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics came in 1948 when Watertown's William Johnson made the Alpine Skiing team in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The medal numbers have been much better for local athletes in the Summer Olympics.
In all, South Dakota-born athletes have won a total of 18 Olympic medals - nine gold, three silver, and six bronze medals:
SOUTH DAKOTA-BORN OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALISTS
1920: Ivan Dresser (Flandreau): Track & Field/3,000 Meter Team Race
1920 & 1924:John O'Neil (Faulkton): Rugby
1932: Jim Bausch (Marion Junction): Track & Field/Decathlon
1948: Wilbur Thompson (Frankfort): Track & Field/Shot Put
1964: Billy Mills (Pine Ridge): Track & Field/10,000 Meters
1984: Randy Lewis (Milbank): Wrestling
1992: Crissy Ahmann-Leighton (Yankton): Swimming/4x100 Meter Medley Relay & 4x100 Meter Freestyle Relay
SOUTH DAKOTA-BORN OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALISTS
1924: Glenn Hartranft (Aberdeen): Track & Field/Shot Put
1992: Dennis Koslowski (Watertown): Wrestling
1992: Crissy Ahmann-Leighton (Yankton): Swimming/100 Meter Butterfly
SOUTH DAKOTA-BORN OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALISTS
1908: Clare Jacobs (Madison): Track & Field/Pole Vault
1932: Larry Knapp (Garden City): Field Hockey
1932: Harold McCallister (Madison): Water Polo
1988: Dennis Koslowski (Watertown): Wrestling
1988: Bill Scherr (Eureka): Wrestling
2000: Lincoln McIlravy (Rapid City): Wrestling
In all, 23 South Dakota-born athletes have competed at the Summer Olympics over the years. In addition to the above-mentioned medal winners, nine others have represented the Mount Rushmore State on the Team USA roster:
1920: Gene Vidal (Madison): Track & Field/Decathlon
1976: Darrell Vreugdenhil (Mitchell): Rowing
1988: Duane Koslowski (Watertown): Wrestling
1988: Jim Scherr (Eureka): Wrestling
1992: Chad McConnell (Sioux Falls): Baseball
1996: Orly Fuentes (Ellsworth Air Force Base): Judo
2000: Ryan Bolton (Rapid City): Triathlon
2008: Brian Beaman (Mobridge): Shooting
2008 & 2012: Brad Walker (Aberdeen): Track & Field/Pole Vault
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