When you’re watching the 2018 Winter Olympics over the next couple of weeks, you might see four athletes that once attended, or currently attend, one of our local schools.
Orange County’s public and private schools have a rich history of producing great Olympians over the years. They include gold medalist swimmer Janet Evans of El Dorado High School, gold medalist swimmer Jason Lezak of Irvine High, gold medalist beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor of Newport Harbor High, gold medalist swimmer Amanda Beard of Irvine High, and many more.
This year’s Olympians include the latest national snowboarding sensation Chloe Kim, who won a gold medal Monday in the half-pipe event.
Here are the other Olympians with ties to OC schools. (Bios and photos are courtesy of TeamUSA.org.)
Chloe Kim, 17, currently attends La Palma Christian School
Bio: She is the daughter of Jong Jin and Boran Kim. She has two sisters, Erica and Tracy. She began snowboarding at age four. She spent third and fourth grade studying in Geneva, Switzerland. She speaks French and Korean. She was nominated for the 2016 ESPYS award for Best Breakthrough Athlete. Her hobbies include shopping, hiking, skateboarding and playing guitar.
Carlo Valdes, 28, bobsled, attended Mater Dei High in Santa Ana
Bio: He enjoys playing golf, is a hardcore fantasy football owner, and knows Kung-Fu. At Mater Dei, he played wide receiver on the football team with Matt Barkley as his quarterback. He was introduced to the sport of bobsled by a former UCLA teammate and javelin thrower, Andreas Drbal, who has also been on the National Bobsled Team.
Jonathan Blum, 29, ice hockey, attended Trabuco Hills High
Bio: He is the son of John and Dana Blum. He has one brother and one sister, Daniel Tellez and Jami Longo. He has one son, Jackson, with wife Emilie. He fosters dogs and volunteers with several animal rescue organizations. His hobbies include spending time with family, walking his dogs, swimming and teaching hockey lessons in the community.
Hailey Langland, 17, snowboarding, attended schools in Irvine and San Clemente
Bio: She is the daughter of Geoff and Michelle Langland. She has one sibling, Seth. She is a self-taught musical artist and plays the ukulele, piano and guitar. Her hobbies include surfing, drawing, mountain biking and skateboarding.