back to top

The Most Inspiring Stories From The Winter Games

Bring on the tissues. Earning a spot on an Olympic or Paralympic roster is no joke, but overcoming this much adversity to do it is practically impossible. Liberty Mutual is proud to sponsor these incredible athletes as they train for an opportunity to compete for Team USA in the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Posted on

1. Jazmine Fenlator - Bobsled

Carlos Serrao / carlosserrao.com

Jazmine has suffered her share of emotional setbacks. She spent years helping her mother who had been battling lupus, a major heart attack and a few strokes. If that wasn't enough, the house that they had moved into was destroyed by Hurricane Irene. Through it all, Jazmine finds extraordinary strength in her mother's positive attitude and resilience. Her participation in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games as a member of Team USA would truly be a testament to their family’s ability to overcome any obstacle.

2. Jen Hudak - Freestyle Skiing

Carlos Serrao / carlosserrao.com

In January 2012, Jen Hudak faced a devastating combination of physical and emotional setbacks. After she severely injured her right knee, threatening her livelihood as a skier, she received word that her close friend and fellow skier, Sarah Burke, was lost to a tragic skiing accident. She lost faith in the sport and in herself. But she found the strength to get back up. This year, Jen competes to set an example for anyone who has ever struggled with adversity.

3. Jessica Jerome - Ski Jumping

Carlos Serrao / carlosserrao.com

Imagine that your dream can’t be realized because the sport you’ve trained for your whole life doesn’t exist on a global scale. It’s not that you can’t get the gold, it’s that there’s no event in which you can compete. This was Jessica Jerome’s setback. Ski jumping, her sport and her life, was exclusively a men's sport at the Olympic Winter Games. They didn't allow women to compete... until Jessica helped to make sure they did. She's been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to show the world what she can do, and we can't wait to watch.

4. J.R. Celski - Short Track Speedskating

Carlos Serrao / carlosserrao.com

U.S. Olympic Medalist J.R. Celski was fully prepared for his first U.S. Olympic Trials when disaster stuck. On the last day, he fell on the ice and his right blade nearly cut his leg in half. The doctors gave him a slight chance at recovery, which was all he needed to make his comeback. For most, it would have been career-ending, but J.R. Celski willed himself back to win two Medals. This year he's back again and looking for more.

5. Andy Soule - Biathlon

Carlos Serrao / carlosserrao.com

Andy Soule joined the army shortly after the 9/11 attacks. In 2005 he was deployed to Afghanistan where his troop received a false tip that led them right into a trap. Andy's Humvee drove over an IED, and he lost both of his legs in the explosion. After he came home, Andy began competing in various sports, and he eventually found his place in the biathlon. Never one to let his injuries hold him back, Andy views his participation as a member of Team USA in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games as just another chance for him to represent and serve his country.

6. Picabo Street - Downhill Skiing

Carlos Serrao / carlosserrao.com

Unlike the other athletes, Picabo Street's challenge wasn't physical, it was mental. As a supremely talented 18-year-old, she had a cocky attitude and a lax fitness regimen, which ended up costing her a spot on the U.S. Ski Team. Through her father's rigid support and guidance, Picabo battled to get back in shape, win two medals, and rediscover her passion.

7. Rico Roman - Sled Hockey

Carlos Serrao / carlosserrao.com

Boots on the ground or skates on the ice, Rico Roman is a natural leader. He thrived in the military, operating as a staff sergeant for his platoon by his third tour of duty. It was on that tour that his world turned upside down. Rico's Humvee hit an IED, flipped up in the air, and hit the ground on its side. He lost all feeling in one of this legs and eventually had to have it amputated. Even after rehabilitation, Rico never regretted his decision to serve his country. He has used his training and positive attitude to persevere and become the first war-wounded veteran in history to make the U.S. Sled Hockey Team for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Meet these incredible U.S. athletes and learn more about what they have overcome here.