Austria is one of the great Winter Olympic nations, historically competitive in many sports and the all-time medal leader in Alpine skiing.
Its hockey tradition is not quite up to the golden standard. Austria announced its Olympic hockey roster Tuesday with three NHL forwards and almost no shot at a medal.
Still, making it to Sochi is an accomplishment for a nation that had not qualified since 2002 and has never come close to an Olympic hockey medal. It surprisingly qualified over regular Olympic attendee Germany.
The team is led by New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek and former NHL defenseman Thomas Pock, who played on the 2002 Olympic Team at age 20.
Here’s the full Austria roster:
Defensemen Thomas Pock — former NHL player
Forwards Michael Grabner — New York Islanders
Michael Raffl — Philadelphia Flyers
Thomas Vanek — New York Islanders
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.