Nine skating pros travel to Sochi seeking gold
As Tampa Bay’s momentum continues, the region is gaining plenty of recognition as a top destination for sports, including training for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. An ice skating pair and seven hockey players will represent their countries as well as Florida’s Super Region in their journey to gold.
Tampa Bay trainees Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay of Ellenton had an impressive performance at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, Mass., placing second in the competition, and solidified their placement on the U.S. Olympic Team. Zhang, a student at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and Bartholomay have been training together since May 2011.
Zhang and Bartholomay will depart for their first Olympic Games on Feb. 1. Until then, the pair will continue to train at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex alongside fellow Olympians, Stacey Kemp and David King of Great Britain, and Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swieger of Canada.
In addition, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be sending seven players to the Olympics to be part of five different country’s hockey teams, none of which are for the U.S.
- Steven Stamkos – Canada
- Valtteri Filppula and Sami Salo – Finland
- Radko Gudas and Ondrej Palat – Czech Republic
- Richard Panik – Slovakia
- Kristers Gudlevskis – Latvia
Also on the horizon, Sarasota and Bradenton will host three World Cup competitions and the Olympic Trials, giving Tampa Bay a vital role in the preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne