Winter Olympics

Gold medallist US David Wise celebrates on the podium with his children Nayeli and Malachi during th...
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8 Parents On Team USA To Watch At The 2022 Winter Olympics

From capturing medals to changing diapers, these Olympic and Paralympic athletes do it all.

Being an Olympian or Paralympian is hard. Between the rigorous training and workouts required to compete at such an elite level and the highly-competitive qualifying events, the road to an Olympic or Paralympic Games requires a lot of determination and hard work. Toss in the vast amount of child care duties parents are responsible for each and every day and the road becomes even more challenging. That’s why the parents on Team USA may just be some of the most badass Olympians and Paralympians around. Case in point,

At least eight parents are expected to compete in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing as members of Team USA. They include new parents like Elana Meyers Taylor and Chris Mazdzer, who welcomed children in 2020 and 2021, respectively, as well as parents of teens and adult children. Snowboarder Nick Baumgartner, for example, recently saw his teenage son crowned Homecoming King while Oyuna Uranchimeg, a member of the National Wheelchair Curling Team, celebrated her 22-year-old daughter’s college graduation last year.

But no matter how young or old their kids are, these athletes are pulling double-duty as both full-time parents and full-time Olympians. Meet eight parents heading to the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Beijing as part of Team USA:

Elana Meyers Taylor, Bobsled

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Three-time Olympic medalist and two-time women’s bobsled world champion Elana Meyers Taylor welcomed a son with fellow Olympic athlete Nic Taylor in 2020. At the time, concerns about reduced fetal movement late in her pregnancy led doctors to induce Meyers Taylor at 36 weeks, Parents reported. And although Meyers Taylor’s son Nico spent his first few days of life in the NICU, where he failed a newborn hearing test and was diagnosed with Down syndrome, he’s thrived ever since thanks to support from physical and occupational speech therapists.

Now, Nico’s Olympian mom is focused on balancing her son’s multiple therapies with her own intense training regimen and ensuring her son is happy and healthy. “The biggest thing I want as a parent is to raise a happy, happy, healthy child,” she told Parents. “Our expectation is to go out there and give Nico the best life possible. And I think that's the expectation we should all have.”

Nick Baumgartner, Snowboarding

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At 40, Nick Baumgartner is set to be the oldest U.S. snowboarder in Olympic history when he competes in Beijing next month, according to NBC News. The 2022 Winter Games will be Baumgartner’s fourth Olympics and an opportunity for him to teach his 17-year-old son Landon about persistence and chasing your dreams. During the snowboard cross finals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Landon watched his father come in fourth — a difficult place for any athlete to find themselves in as they’re both so close and so far from the medal podium.

At the time, Baumgartner told Team USA reporter Cat Hendrick his own disappointment was tempered by the fact that his son was still “stoked” for him. “I stood up and I looked for him immediately. I could see on his face, he wasn’t disappointed at all,” Baumgartner said. “How can I be disappointed if my son’s stoked at his dad?”

This year, Baumgartner is hoping to make his son proud by earning a place on the podium. “When I go to Beijing, I definitely want to make him proud by standing on that box,” he told Olympics reporter Chloe Merrell. “But I’m his dad. He loves me, he’s my kid I love him – all is good, life is great.”

David Wise, Freestyle Skiing

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What’s better than qualifying for your third Olympic Games? For freestyle skier David Wise, the answer is simple: a big hug from your 7-year-old son. “My favorite moment of the day was the hug Malachi gave me after they gave me my score,” Wise recently shared while talking about the 2022 Toyota Grand Prix, a U.S. Olympic free ski qualifying event, on Instagram.

But Wise isn’t only a two-time Olympic gold medalist. The freestyle skier, who shares Malachi and 10-year-old daughter Nayeli with his wife Alexandra, is also a children’s book author. In 2018, Wise took a made-up fairy tale he used to tell his kids about how he fell in love with their mother and turned it into a book: Very Bear and The Butterfly.

Batoyun "Oyuna" Uranchimeg, Wheelchair Curling

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Born in Mongolia, Batoyun “Oyuna” Uranchimeg is set to make her Olympic debut at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing with the United States’ Wheelchair Curling team. While visiting the United States in 2000, Uranchimeg was involved in a serious car accident that left her unable to walk due to a severed spinal cord, according to an interview she did with the University of St. Thomas. At the time of the crash, Uranchimeg’s son was just 6 years old and under the care of her mother in Mongolia. But because of the nature of her injury, returning to Mongolia wasn’t possible for Uranchimeg. And initially, none of her family members, including her son, were able to obtain visas allowing them to join her in the United States.

“I missed eight years of my son’s childhood,” she told the university. “I didn’t get to see him on his first day of school. I couldn’t be there on so many birthdays, New Year, and holidays. He had never been separated from me, not even for a week, before I left. And then I was gone and couldn’t come back.”

Finally in 2008, eight years after Uranchimeg’s accident, her son, then 14, was able to join her in Minnesota. Since he grew up with Uranchimeg’s niece, she adopted her and brought her to the United States as her daughter. “I guess the three of us were meant to be a family,” Uranchimeg told the University of St. Thomas.

Chris Mazdzer, Luge

The 2022 Beijing Games will be Chris Mazdzer’s fourth Olympic Games and his first time competing as a dad. The 33-year-old Luger and his wife Mara welcomed their first child together in April 2021, naming the baby boy Nicolai. When announcing his son’s arrival over Instagram, Mazdzer revealed his wife had labored for more than 35 hours before their delivery team determined it was “too dangerous” for her to continue and performed an emergency Cesarean section.

“It was incredible witnessing the strength of my wife through the entire process and how she handled such a difficult situation under pain, fever, and distress,” Mazdzer shared on Instagram. “I am so fortunate that everyone is safe! Now I need to learn how to swaddle, change diapers, and all of the millions of things that need to be done now being a ‘parent.’”

Mike Schultz, Paralympic Snowboarding

Two-time Paralympic medalist Mike Schultz will attempt to add to his medal collection at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. The para snowboarder took home a gold and silver medal in snowboardcross and banked slalom, respectively, during the 2018 Games.

Off the slopes, Schultz has his hands full with his 8-year-old daughter Lauren, who reportedly takes after him in a few notable ways. “She’s always hungry,” Schultz told People of his daughter in 2018. “She’s always snacking. The other most noticeable [way she takes after me] has gotta be the bullheadedness. The determined side of her. She won’t give up.”

Despite their bullheadedness, Schultz said he enjoyed watching his daughter, who now does gymnastics, learn new things. “That excitement that I can see when she learns something new and she’s experiencing it with me or I’m experiencing it with her — that’s priceless,” he told People.

Noah Elliott, Paralympic Snowboarding

When he was 15 years old, Noah Elliott’s life turned upside-down. Within a few months, the Paralympic snowboarder became a father and was diagnosed with osteosarcoma bone cancer. But it was during his roughly year-long battle with cancer that Elliott’s Paralympic dreams began, Team USA has reported.

What’s more, Elliott has credited his daughter Skylar with bringing him a sense of drive and focus he didn’t have before. “When she was born, it immediately flipped the switch for me,” he told Team USA in 2020. “It really helped me drive more for my success and my goals because I wasn’t only doing it for myself, I was also doing it for my daughter.” Roughly four years later, Elliott would win two medals (one gold and one bronze) at the 2018 Paralympic Games.

Rico Roman, Sled Hockey

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Two-time Paralympic gold medalist Rico Roman will head to Beijing this winter in hopes of securing a third medal with the U.S. men’s sled hockey team. The father of two first joined the national sled hockey team in 2011, securing his position on the Paralympic Team in 2014 and 2018.

According to NBC News, Roman was on his third tour of duty in 2007 when a vehicle he was traveling in hit an Improvised Explosive Device, or IED. As a result of the explosion, Roman lost one of his legs. While in rehabilitation, he tried sled hockey for the first time and found the game provided much of the same kind of camaraderie and brotherhood that had drawn him to pursue a military career.

“It was so much fun because I remember taking off my leg and having it in the locker room and we had guys missing different body parts and it didn’t really matter,” he told NBC. “All that mattered was when we got on the ice, let’s see what you got.”

Roman has two children — daughter Juliet, who Team USA reported graduated high school in 2020, and son Raul — with his wife Ela. Due to the pandemic, the Paralympian has managed to squeeze in a bit of extra time with his children while training for the upcoming Paralympic Games. When the ice rinks closest to him closed early in the pandemic, for example, Roman and his son embarked on a week-long road trip to Colorado to skate.

“It was a lot of fun,” Roman told Team USA of the trip. “I’m thankful that I have been able to share such wonderful memories with them.”

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning Feb. 3, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.