Every two years sports fans get the special treat of watching the greatest athletes from around the world gather together and compete in either the summer or winter Olympics. While Jesse Owens is undoubtedly Ohio State’s most famous Olympian, he is far from the only one as over 200 Buckeyes have represented their home countries in the Olympic games. Just like how many OSU fans enjoy keeping track of how Buckeyes perform in the professional ranks and wish them well in doing so, it is also fun to see how our Buckeyes do in the Olympics and while most of us are cheering for Team USA, we also like to see the athletes from OSU do well. This year Ohio State was represented by 4 Olympians, all of which coincidentally play hockey. Emma Laaksonen Terho and Minttu Tuominen play women’s hockey for Finland, Natalie Spooner plays women’s hockey for Canada, and Ryan Kesler is a member of the US’s men’s hockey team.
Emma Laaksonen Terho was a standout at Ohio State where she helped lead the Buckeyes to the finals in the WCHA tournament her freshman year and became the first women’s hockey player to have her number retired at OSU. Terho graduated from OSU with a degree in finance in 2004 and was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. Terho is an old hat when it comes to the Olympics as this is her fifth games. She made her Olympic debut in 1998 when at age 16 she was the youngest member of the Finnish delegation to make the trip to Nagano. Terho won bronze medals with Finland in 1998 and again in the 2010 games in Vancouver.
Terho isn’t the only Buckeye to play for Finland as Minttu Tuominen will be competiting in her second Olympics for the Finish team. Tuominen was an Academic All-Big Ten player at Ohio State and helped lead the Buckeyes to the Frozen Four in 2010. She was a student at OSU during her first Olympics and graduated from OSU in 2013 with a degree in nutrition. While neither Terho or Tuominen tallied a point in the Olympics, they both saw solid playing time, averaging around 20 minutes per game, and Tuominen became a solid contributor on winning faceoffs as the games went on. Finland lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals.
As disappointing as Canada’s frantic comeback victory over the USA in the women’s hockey gold medal game was, there was one positive aspect to it in that it gave Natalie Spooner a gold medal. Spooner graduated from OSU in 2012 with a degree in human nutrition and the title of the leading goal scorer in Ohio State women’s hockey history. Spooner proved to be a key factor in getting the Candians to the gold medal game, tallying an assist against Switzerland and the United States in the preliminary rounds and then scoring two goals, including the game winner, in the semifinal game against the Swiss.
The final Buckeye competing in Sochi is men’s hockey player Ryan Kesler. Kesler only played at Ohio State for one season but he made an impact that year, scoring 11 goals and 20 assists to finish fourth on the team in scoring and was named the OSU Rookie of the Year for the 2002-2003 season. Following the end of the season Kesler entered the NHL draft and was selected by Vancouver where he has become one of the NHL’s top defensive forwards. This is Kesler’s second Olympics; he scored 2 goals while winning a silver medal with Team USA in the 2010 games. Kesler is once again having a solid games, scoring a goal and adding an assist in the preliminary round game against Slovakia and adding two assists in the quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic. Kesler has also produced an impressive 42-22 record on faceoffs. Team USA faces Canada in the semifinals on Friday with a chance at revenge for the Vancouver games and a berth in the gold medal game on the line.