Two Latter-day Saint Olympic Athletes Chase Gold Medal Dreams in South Korea

Contributed By Trent Toone, Deseret News staff writer

  • 22 February 2018

Jerica Tandiman competes in the women's 1,000-meter speed skating event during the Pyeonchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung on February 14, 2018. Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images.

“I am always amazed at how gracious the volunteers are and how people from all over the world, from different cultures, get along. It’s fun to walk the streets and hear the different languages and see so much national pride.” —Chris Fogt, LDS Olympic athlete

Two members of the Church are chasing gold medal dreams in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

Chris Fogt, a 35-year-old returned missionary from the American Falls 3rd Ward, American Falls Idaho Stake, is part of USA’s bobsled team, which competes later this week.

Jerica Tandiman, a 23-year-old member of the West Jordan 27th Ward, West Jordan Utah Stake, competed in speed skating for Team USA.

Fogt won a bronze medal in the 2014 Sochi Games and finished 22nd in the 2010 Vancouver Games. This time Fogt will hold the position of brakeman in the four-man bobsled event.

“I look forward to the sense of unity among athletes and fans at the Olympic Games,” Fogt told the Deseret News. “This will be my third Games, and each one has been on a different continent. I am always amazed at how gracious the volunteers are and how people from all over the world, from different cultures, get along. It’s fun to walk the streets and hear the different languages and see so much national pride.”

Bobsledder Chris Fogt poses during the USOC Media Summit on September 29, 2013, in Park City, Utah. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images. Fogt competes this week at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

Fogt’s unique Olympic athlete background includes earning his Eagle Scout Award in 2000, military service in the U.S. Army, competing in track and field at Utah Valley University from 2004 to 2008, and a full-time mission in the Philippines.

This is Tandiman’s first trip to the Olympics. She was inspired to take up speed skating when the Olympic Oval was built near her Kearns home for the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. She later attended BYU–Hawaii.

Tandiman is where she is today because of her LDS faith, she recently told the Deseret News.

“It’s definitely part of who I am,” Tandiman said. “I think it’s helped me to have confidence in the things I do. … It reminds me to be a good person and keeps that balance in my life. … It keeps me humble.”

Living the Word of Wisdom has also made a difference, the speed skater said.

“Just following the Word of Wisdom makes it easier to set standards for myself with dieting and following a nutrition plan,” Tandiman said. “I’m just used to that.”

Tandiman placed 28th in the 1,000-meter race on February 14, and competed in the 500-meter race on February 18, with a finish time of 39.50 seconds.

Jerica Tandiman competes in the women's 1,000-meter speed skating event during the Pyeonchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Oval in Gangneung on February 14, 2018. Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images.