As Katie Uhlaender goes after an Olympic medal in tomorrow’s final day of women’s skeleton at the Sanki Sliding Center, she’ll have two reminders of her father along with her as she zips through the 17-turn course.
Ted Uhlaender, who enjoyed an eight-year career as a Major League outfielder in the 1960s and 1970s, passed away in 2009 after a year-long battle with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer that affects the plasma cells of bone marrow.
As part of remembering him, Katie wears Ted’s 1972 National League championship ring around her neck at all times.
Additionally, a Philadelphia Inquirer story that talks about her friendship with long-time Major League manager Charlie Manuel (a colleague and good friend of Ted’s) reveals that she also wears a baseball-shaped locket with some of her father’s ashes inside.
Even as he battled with his illness, Ted continued to encourage his daughter to keep going with her career. To this day, she holds him in the highest regard.
“My father taught me everything,” she said to NBC Olympics prior to Sochi. “He taught me how to write, he taught me how to read. He taught me my work ethic and a lot of perspective on life.
“…Everything I have learned from him, I’m able to use in sport and in all walks of life.”
Driven by memories of her father, there’s no doubt that Uhlaender, the 2012 world champion and two-time World Cup champion, will do all she can to win a medal tomorrow at Sanki.