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Kristi Yamaguchi, Jonny Moseley, and Seven More Bay Area Ex-Olympians on What to Watch at the Winter Games

Hint: anything but curling.



With the competition set to begin February 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, we surveyed a few of the Bay Area’s most tuned-in Olympics fans—the ones who’ve competed themselves—to find out what they’re looking forward to.

Jonny Moseley
Then: Men’s Moguls (’98, ’02)
Now: Marin native, now “chief mountain host” at Squaw Valley
“Outside of the ski world, I like figure skating and the Nordic combined, where you have to cross-country ski and then also do the traditional ski jumping. It has balls and endurance—like, jumping is an anaerobic, adrenaline-junkie sport, and then to have the endurance part of it, too? Usually those are two different types of person. That’s pretty cool.”

Yvonne Gómez
Then: Women's Figure Skating (’88)
Now: Television director and sports psychologist for USF and other universities
“I’m really into the men’s figure skating right now. We have a skater, Nathan Chen, who’s doing four and five quads in his routine. That’s incredible. A quad is four turns in the air; it takes unbelievable balance and athleticism and timing, and he has the ability to do quads of several different kinds of jumps. Very few people are doing quads of more than one. He’s amazing.”

Brian Richardson
Then: Men's Two-Man Bobsled (’92)
Now: CEO of Imagine TF, a Campbell-based technology company
“My favorite to watch is the biathlon. Normally with cross-country skiing, they take off and you only see them at the finish. But with the biathlon, they come around a number of times and do the shooting, and if they miss, there’s a penalty lap. So there’s some crazy drama going on. I really enjoy that, strangely enough.”

Bret Hedican
Then: Men's Ice Hockey (’92, ’06)
Now: Lives with wife Kristi Yamaguchi in Alamo and does radio and TV broadcasts for the Sharks
“I’m really interested in the women’s hockey team. I know all the women—I worked with the team for a year and a half after I retired from the NHL. We won a gold medal at the world championships, which was a lot of fun. So I’ll be interested to see how they do against Canada.”

Kristi Yamaguchi
Then: Women's Figure Skating (’92)
Now:
Founder of the Always Dream Foundation, an East Bay childhood literacy program
“In the men’s figure skating, particularly, the sport has taken a pretty big leap forward, going from one or two quads in the long program to now people doing three or even five quads—which almost seems inhuman. It’s pretty new—like, just in the last year. Nathan Chen, the U.S. skater, he’s really pushed the sport and pushed everyone in the sport.”

Yorgo Alexandrou
Then: Men's Two-Man Bobsled (’02)
Now:
Owner of H2O Craft, a boat-and Jet Ski–rental company in Tracy
“My DVR is completely full during the Olympic season. I’m also a snowboarder, so I love to watch that—snowboarding, half-pipe, downhill skiing. The only thing that doesn’t really interest me is curling. With any type of sport, when you know the backstory of the athletes and what they’ve had to go through to get to where they’re at, that’s what really makes it special.”

Nick Cunningham
Then: Two-Man Bobsled (’10, ’14, ’18)
Now:
Monterey native, now a sergeant in the New York National Guard and competing in 2018
“If I had to go back and do it all over again, I’d be a short-track speed skater. It’s like Bristol Speedway—it’s NASCAR on ice. It’s a fun kind of combination of strategy and just moving people out of the way. Whenever there’s a winter sport where you have to wear a helmet, it’s going to be a good time.”

Valerie Fleming
Then: Women's Bobsled (’06)
Now: Foster City native, now program manager for the bobsled and skeleton teams in Park City, Utah
“I actually don’t know how to ski, but I enjoy watching the alpine skiing. People talk about how fast we go in a bobsled, but then I think about how fast these men and women go down the slopes, and there’s no walls around them. It’s so fast and so under control. But they take some pretty good crashes, too.”

Bonny (Warner) Simi
Then: Singles Luge (’84, ’88, ’92)
Now:
President of JetBlue Technology Ventures in San Carlos
“My favorite sport besides luge is bobsled. It’s a sister sport, and one I competed in for many years. I just missed the 2002 Olympics in it. But I’m definitely watching the U.S. luge team, too. They’re sending one of their strongest teams ever. The most exciting race will be the team relay. The U.S. has a solid chance for a medal.”



Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco

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