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UVM OLYMPIANS SCORE

by Gordon Woodworth

Alumni John LeClair ’91 and Aaron Miller ’93 played central roles in the United States’ men’s hockey team’s drive to an Olympic silver medal. LeClair netted an Olympics-leading six goals and earned all-tournament status, while Miller was a force throughout the Games, credited by one commentator as turning in the best performance among the USA’s defensemen at Salt Lake City.

The one-time Catamount hockey teammates were among a number of UVM-connected athletes, the latest in a long tradition of Vermont Olympians, competing at the 2002 Winter Games.

This marked the second Olympics for LeClair, who makes his living as a power forward for the Philadelphia Flyers in the National Hockey League. His scoring included a hat trick (the U.S. team’s first since the 1984 Games) in the opening game versus Finland.

Miller, a defenseman for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, competed in his first Olympics at Salt Lake. He and LeClair were reunited from their days at UVM, where they shared the ice for two seasons, 1989-91, as a formidable offensive-defensive combination.

“This has been awesome but at the same time, it’s been really exhausting,” Miller said as the Games drew to a close. “I’m just going to let it all sink in for a day before I’m in Columbus playing in the NHL again.”

From skates to skis, UVM also had a strong contingent competing in the Wasatch Mountains at the Soldier Hollow Nordic site. Tessa Benoit ’00 skied in two of the cross country races. Kris Freeman, who skied at UVM for one year before leaving school to train with the U.S. team, was part of the U.S. men’s 4 X 10-kilometer relay team that finished fifth, one of the United States’ best performances ever in the sport. And Olympic biathletes, Jay Hakkinen, Rachel Steer, and Dan Westover (an alternate), have all studied or are currently enrolled at UVM through a cooperative program with the U.S. Biathlon Team.

There were at least a couple of proud parents with UVM ties, as well. Freestyle skier Ann Battelle, who competed in her fourth Olympics, is the daughter of UVM Business Professor Peter Battelle. And Bode Miller, multiple medalist in alpine skiing, is the son of John Woody Miller ’70, a varsity tennis player during his days at UVM.

Catamount Winter Olympians Past
1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo
Larry Damon ’55, Nordic
1960 Squaw Valley
Larry Damon ’55, Nordic
1964 Innsbruck
Larry Damon ’55, Nordic
1968 Grenoble
Larry Damon ’55, Nordic
1972 Sapporo
Barbara Cochran ’78, alpine, gold medal
Bobby Cochran ’76, alpine
Marilyn Cochran ’79, alpine
Trina Hosmer ’68, Nordic
Joseph Lamb ’78, Nordic combined
1976 Innsbruck
Lindy Cochran ’82, alpine
Stan Dunklee ’76, Nordic
1980 Lake Placid
Leslie Bancroft ’84, Nordic
Stan Dunklee ’76, Nordic
Betsy Haines ’84, Nordic
Beth Heiden ’83, speedskating, bronze medal
Elizabeth Paxson, Nordic
1984 Sarajevo
Todd Boonstra ’86, Nordic
Mike Holland ’92, ski jumping
Bruce Likly ’88, Nordic
Kerrin Petty ’93, Nordic
1988 Calgary
Leslie Bancroft ’84, Nordic
Todd Boonstra ’86, Nordic
Joe Galanes ’90, Nordic
Mike Holland ’92, ski jumping
Joseph Holland ’90, Nordic combined
Kerrin Petty ’93, Nordic
1992 Albertville
James Holland ’95, ski jumping
Joseph Holland ’90, Nordic combined
Brenda White ’90, Nordic
1994 Lillehammer
Todd Boonstra ’86, Nordic
James Holland ’95, ski jumping
Laura Wilson ’91, Nordic
1998 Nagano
John LeClair ’91, hockey
Laura Wilson ’91, Nordic

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