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Olympic notebook: Alaska is No. 2! (And No. 13)

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: February 15
  • Published February 14

Kikkan Randall of Anchorage competes Wednesday. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The U.S. Census Bureau has crunched the numbers to determine which state boasts the most athletes in Pyeongchang, and Alaska ranks No. 13.

And No. 2.

Also: the Census Bureau doesn't know that Scott Patterson lives in Anchorage.

Based on athlete information at, the Census Bureau came up with two sets of rankings, one for athletes per state, and another for per-capita athletes per state.

For the first set of rankings, Alaska ranks 13th with seven. Colorado leads the way with 31, followed by California with 22 and Minnesota with 20.

For the second set of rankings, Alaska ranks second behind Vermont. Vermont has 15 Olympians (including Patterson, according to the data being used by the census bureau), which works out to 24 athletes per million population. Alaska has nine per million population.

Among the factoids presented by the Census Bureau: The nation's nine most populous states, which account for more than half of the U.S. population, produce 30 percent of 2018 Winter Olympians.

The Census Bureau report doesn't deal with U.S. athletes who have dual citizenship and are competing for a country other than the one in which they reside. Alaska has two of those — figure skater Keegan Messing, who is competing for Canada, and cross-country skier Jessica Yeaton, who is competing for Australia.

Other states have them too. According to Cap Relo, a global mobility company, 37 U.S. athletes are competing for 21 other countries in Pyeongchang. Of those, six are competing for Canada and four for South Korea.

Our list of Alaskans in Pyeongchang is 14 deep. It includes the seven athletes identified as Alaskans by the Census Bureau report (Kikkan Randall, Ryan Stassel, Reese Hanneman, Logan Hanneman, Rosie Mancari, Tyler Kornfield and Rosie Brennan), Messing and Yeaton, plus five others who appear on other state's lists — Scott Patterson and Caitlin Patterson (Vermont), Sadie Bjornsen and Erik Bjornsen (Washington) and Rosie Frankowski (Minnesota).

Scott Patterson is one of two athletes in Pyeongchang with two impressive items on their resumes: Olympian, and Mount Marathon champion. (Soobum Im / USA TODAY Sports)

King of the mountain

Speaking of Scott Patterson, he is one of two Mount Marathon champions competing in Pyeonchang. The other is Kikkan Randall.

With two champs in the field, Mount Marathon boasts more 2018 Winter Olympians than numerous countries. Take that, Luxembourg (one of 19 nations with one athlete).

In a way, Mount Marathon is an Alaska version of Mount Olympus. Some of our very best athletes find glory there — and many of those are also Olympians.

Leading the way are the two athletes who have won Mount Marathon more times than anyone else — nine-time women's champion and four-time Olympian Nina Kemppel and eight-time men's champion and 1988 Olympian Bill Spencer.

Other Mount Marathon champions who doubled as Olympians:

Men — Todd Boonstra, William Spencer (the "other" Bill Spencer, the one who competed in Olympic biathlon in 1964), Gene Morgan, Jonathan Chaffee and Sven Johanson.

Women — Holly Brooks, Lynn Spencer, Betsy Haines, Margie Mahoney and Barbara Britch.

American Brian O’Neill (right) tries to keep the puck away from Slovenia’s Luka Vidmar, a former UAA skater, in a preliminary round hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, at the Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea. (David W Cerny / Reuters)

Seawolves 1, Team USA 0

In Slovenia's stunning 3-2 overtime victory over the U.S. men's hockey team, former UAA player Luka Vidmar provided an assist.

Vidmar, who played for UAA from 2007-11, helped set up the first of two third-period goals that allowed Slovenia to tie the game.

A peek at the future?

If you've never seen ski jumping in person, here's your chance.

The best junior-level ski jumpers and Nordic combined athletes are headed to Alaska this month for the Junior National Championships.

The competition is Feb. 20-24 at the Karl Eid Ski Jumps and Kincaid Park. There will be jumping each day on the ski jumps next to Hilltop Ski Area — two days of practice on Feb. 20-21 and three days of competition on Feb. 22-24.

Guilty pleasures

For some of us night-shift workers, late-night TV viewing these days is all about speedskating, skeleton and replays of NBC's prime-time coverage. But on Tuesday, we took a break from the action to watch two other sports.

One was a replay of the best-in-show competition at the Westminster Dog Show. We were heartbroken that Bean, the talented Sussex spaniel with as many tricks as Shaun white, didn't win best in show.

The other was "The Bachelor Winter Games," which is using real-life sportscasters for ABC's attempt to draw Olympic viewers away from NBC.  Hannah Storm is a pioneer in women's sports broadcasting who has worked for ESPN and NBC, and Ashley Brewer is a weekend sports anchor for ABC's Los Angeles affiliate.

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