SOCHI, RUSSIA (LEARFIELD-WSAU) The Sochi Olympics begin in earnest today with the Opening Ceremony. Several events kicked off 18 days of competition yesterday in Russia.
Wisconsin athletes will not make their first appearances until tomorrow. Speed-skaters Jonathan Kuck and Emery Lehman -- both of whom train in Milwaukee -- will compete in the five-thousand-meter event.
Five women's hockey players with Wisconsin ties will help the U-S in its opening contest against Finland. Their first face-off is at two a-m tomorrow. The Wisconsin competitors are ex-Badgers Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan, and Jessie Vetter -- along with Madison area native Amanda Kessel.
Ex-Badger Meaghan Mikkelson Reid will play for her native Canada in a women's hockey contest against Switzerland tomorrow morning.
There are 16 Olympic athletes who were born and-or raised in the Badger State. The others have shirt-tail ties to Wisconsin -- like being former Badger or Milwaukee Admiral hockey players.
And there is a former Packer in the group. Jonny Quinn was a receiver in Green Bay's training camp in 2008, but he didn't make the team. Quinn did, however, make the U-S bobsled team for the Sochi Games.