All eyes are on the Olympic Winter Games, where qualifying athletes will represent their countries and go for gold. Seven athletes on the U.S. Team Toyota roster were named to Team USA and made the trip across the globe in a quest to deliver on the high expectations they’ve set for themselves. They’ll be competing in a wide range of sports, from figure skating and snowboarding to cross-country skiing and luge. Let’s get to know the athletes who will be proudly representing Team USA and Team Toyota.
Meet the Olympic Athletes:
Alysa Liu (Figure Skating)
Set to make her Olympic debut at these Games, Alysa Liu first tried figure skating at five years old and loved it so much that her father enrolled her in group lessons. Those group skates soon became private lessons, allowing the young skater to start taking the sport seriously at 10 years old.
Since then, Liu has become the youngest woman to win the U.S. Championships at just 13 years old, making her a household name in figure skating. Now at 16 years old, she holds several records, including youngest female skater to land a triple axel at the U.S. Championships and the first U.S. woman of any age to land a quadruple jump.
The 2021-22 season is the first on the senior international circuit for the Richmond, California native making her first Olympic appearance all the more impressive.
Quotes: “It’s really crazy because all the training I’ve done is to go to the Olympics, right?” Alysa Liu says. “But now, it’s so soon. I’ve basically spent the last 11 years training to go to the Olympics, so it feels weird to me that the experience is almost here.”
You can learn more about Alysa Liu by exploring her athlete biography page, here.
Nathan Chen (Figure Skating)
Nathan Chen began skating at three years old after watching his brothers play hockey. Just a year later, he competed in his first competition and, by 2010, became the youngest U.S. Figure Skating novice champion ever at 10 years old. By 18, he was the youngest men’s world champion in almost 20 years.
Currently, Chen is the holder of the highest free skate technical score¹ and free skate program score² in the history of the Olympics. Chen is also the only skater to land five quadruple jumps in one program.³
A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Chen is a three-time and reigning World champion and Grand Prix Final champion, looking for his first individual Olympic medal in follow-up to his bronze medal (team event) from PyeongChang 2018.
Quotes: “My feeling is, let’s enjoy the experience, enjoy the time, recognize how lucky I am to even have the opportunity to compete,” Nathan Chen says. “I think having that mindset has definitely helped me over the past couple competitions and is something I plan to bring into this Olympic cycle.”
You can learn more about Nathan Chen by exploring his athlete biography page, here.
Erin Jackson (Long Track Speedskating)
Erin Jackson is coming into her second Olympic Winter Games as the No. 1 ranked women’s 500m skater in the world after having won four of the eight world cups this competition season. In fact, she initially picked up speedskating on ice just four months before she earned a spot on Team USA to compete in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. In doing so, Jackson became the first black women to compete for the U.S. Olympic long track speedskating team.
The Ocala, Florida native is the current 500m national record holder and is looking to bring home her first Olympic medal.
Quotes: “I hope to be a great role model,” says Erin Jackson. “It helps so much to see someone like you doing something. I also just hope to see more people of color in winter sports because it can feel like there aren’t a whole lot.”
You can learn more about Erin Jackson by exploring her athlete biography page, here.
Red Gerard (Snowboarding)
For those that have seen him compete, it’s no surprise that Red Gerard has been snowboarding since he was two years old. In 2018, Gerard won a gold medal in his Olympic Winter Games debut in slopestyle snowboarding where the then 17-year-old became the youngest male U.S. Olympian to capture gold in 90 years and the youngest Olympic snowboarder in history to win gold.
The snowboarding phenom was born and raised in Ohio, but currently lives in Colorado. Although he spends much of his time competing, Gerard is known for his laid-back attitude and has cited surfing, skateboarding and golf as a few of the activities he enjoys in his time off.
21-year-old Gerard is fresh off a slopestyle win at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain and is hoping to continue the momentum at the Olympic Winter Games.
Quotes: “Each season I go in with the same attitude and same goal: Let’s land runs. After that, it’s up to the judges, not me. It’s such a cool experience, so I just want to do my part and then make the most if it,” says Red Gerard.
You can learn more about Red Gerard by exploring his athlete biography page, here.
Chloe Kim (Snowboarding)
At 21 years old, Chloe Kim has already won almost every major women’s snowboarding competition in the world. A six-time X Games gold medalist, she is still the only X Games athlete to win three gold medals before the age of 16. At 17, she set a record for youngest woman to win gold in halfpipe at the Olympic Winter Games, which she achieved at PyeongChang 2018. Kim’s only the second woman in history to land a 1080 and was the first to land two back-to-back 1080s.
On top of all those honors, Kim has become something of a cultural icon. She recently graced the cover of Time Magazine’s Winter Olympics preview issue and has also won five ESPYs: Best Female Athlete (2018), Best U.S. Female Olympian (2018), and Best Female Action Sports Athlete (2018, 2019, 2021).
When she’s not dominating women’s snowboarding, Kim enjoys skateboarding, playing guitar and making her new house a home.
Quotes: “I snowboard because it makes me happy. That’s why I started it. That’s why I decided to do it professionally. Because it was the one thing that I was so happy doing — not because I was winning,” says Chloe Kim.
You can learn more about Chloe Kim by exploring her athlete biography page, here.
Chris Mazdzer (Luge)
Until Chris Mazdzer won silver in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, no non-European had ever medaled in a luge men’s singles event. He is a highly influential voice in U.S. luge, currently in his third term on the executive board of both the United States Luge Association and Federation of International Luge. These Games will be Mazdzer’s fourth Olympic appearance and his first as a father, after the birth of his son, Nicolai Mazdzer, in April 2021.
Mazdzer grew up in Saranac Lake, New York and has seen a lot of success in luge competitions outside of the Olympics as well, winning 26 World Cup medals – 12 individual medals including four golds, and 14 team relay medals. He’s also an eight-time Norton National Champion.
Mazdzer is also one of four Global Team Toyota Athletes featured in the newest multi-episode video series from Olympic Channel and Toyota titled “From the Start.”
Quotes: “I like to challenge myself and hold myself to a high standard at everything that I do,” Chris Mazdzer admits. “So, I think that’s where the competitiveness comes in, where it’s like yeah, I see that I can always be better at what I’m doing and so I’m going to challenge myself to be better.”
You can learn more about Chris Mazdzer by exploring his athlete biography page, here.
Jessie Diggins (Cross-Country Skiing)
Diggins has made history many times, first as the youngest American World Champion at 21 years old and later as the first Team USA gold medalist in the team sprint freestyle, which she won at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with her skiing partner. Just last year, Diggins also won the Tour de Ski, becoming the first American to do so, and later won the overall and distance World Cup titles, becoming the first American woman to do so.
A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, Diggins enjoys cliff jumping, bungee jumping and skydiving. She also enjoys reading on the road between competing and when she’s home, she enjoys cooking, camping, canoeing, swimming and gardening.
A medal favorite in all of her events, the cross-country skier is looking to bring home more hardware for Team USA in her third Olympic appearance.
Quotes: “It sounds cheesy, but you have to love the sport,” Jessie Diggins says. “You have to love what you do because there’s no instant gratification. It’s a lot of work, but every single day is a chance to learn and improve. Win the race; lose the race. You gain so much from the process of trying.”
You can learn more about Jessie Diggins by exploring her athlete biography page, here.
Originally published February 4, 2022