Pittsburgh ties to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Excited for the Winter Olympics? Get caught up on how Pittsburgh will be represented in South Korea.

6,764. That's how many miles it is from Pittsburgh to PyeongChang, South Korea, home of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Don't let the distance fool you however. Here's a few ways that The Steel City will impact this year's Olympic Games!   

Photo Courtesy of NBC

Going for Gold

It's always great to have a hometown hero to root for right? Hailing from local Peters Township, this 22-year old short-track speed skater isn't shy about showing the love he has for his hometown city. John-Henry, competing in his first Winter Olympic Games, will immediately stand out due to the color of his skates, none other than black and yellow. Having first started ice skating at the Mount Lebanon Ice Center, Krueger qualified for the 2018 PyeongChang Games by winning the 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meter races at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials this past December. No doubt this Pittsburgher will be looking to bring some of his own hardware back to the City of Champions.

USA Parka Designed by Butler Technologies and Ralph Lauren

Pittsburgh Brings the Heat!

The red, white and blue parka that every American Olympian and Para-Olympian will don at the Opening Ceremony and throughout the Olympics will come with a little hometown heat to it courtesy of Butler Technologies, Inc. Housed in nearby Butler, PA, this women-owned high-tech precision screen company helped design and manufacture the American Flag which can be found on the inside of the jacket. What is extra special about this flag is that it acts as a heater, providing up to 11 hours of continuous warmth. So as the temperatures in PyeongChang dip and hover around 15-20 degrees, be proud knowing that Pittsburgh did their part and still brought the heat.   

Photo Credit: Go Erie

The Puck Stops Here

With the NHL not allowing their players to participate in this year's Winter Olympics, you’ll have the opportunity to cheer on some new faces for the USA Men's Ice Hockey team. One in particular to keep an eye on is Western PA native and likely starting goalie for Team USA, Ryan Zapolski. Born and raised in Erie, PA, Zapolski's hockey ties to the region run deep. Growing up in the 90's, his favorite players included former Penguins Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and goalie Ken Wregget. The goaltender had a brief stint with the Pens minor league AHL affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before signing with a Finnish team and playing overseas in the Russian-based KHL. 

Honorary Ambassador Appointment Ceremony of Hines Ward

#86 in the Program, #1 in our Hearts

One of Pittsburgh's most beloved sons and favorite all-time Steelers, Hines Ward will serve as an Honorary Goodwill Ambassador for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Ward was originally born in Seoul, South Korea, about 80 miles west of the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium. Pittsburgh's franchise career leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns started the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation in 2006 to help mixed-race children in the Republic of Korea who have suffered from discrimination.

Photo Credit: NHL.com

Once a Penguin, Always a Penguin

Just because there won't be any current Penguins playing in this year's Olympic Games, doesn't mean the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champs won't have any ties to the games. One of the most highly-decorated American hockey players of all-time, Scott Young will serve as an assistant coach on the U.S. Men's Ice Hockey Team. Young is only one of 12 U.S. born men's hockey players to compete in three Olympic Games (1988, 1992, 2002) and was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017. The 17-year NHL veteran tallied 342 goals and two Stanley Cups during his playing days, including one as a member of the 1990-91 Penguins. Currently, Young serves in his first year as the Director of Player Development for the Pens.