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Denton ties add to Olympic mix

A lot of us will be keeping an eye on the Winter Olympics during the next few days — cheering on members of Team USA as they compete in various events and then watching proudly as our medalists ascend the podium and our flag flies high.

It’s difficult not to feel a burst of patriotic pride at such a time. Our athletes have worked tirelessly and overcome many hardships to earn a spot on the Olympic team and make it to Sochi. We’re proud of each and every one and wish them all the best as they compete.

The opportunity to see our athletes go up against some of the best the world has to offer is what makes the Olympics special. We all enjoy rooting for the red, white and blue.

But this time around, two athletes with Denton ties will add a healthy dose of hometown pride to the mix, giving us a special reason to stay tuned and keep up with event standings.

Denton native Jordan Malone, a bronze medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games, made it to Sochi for a Winter Olympic sequel, and University of North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame wide receiver Johnny Quinn will compete as a member of the U.S. Olympic bobsled team.

Malone, who has overcome a series of injuries and other challenges in his career, is scheduled to compete in the 500 meter individual event in Sochi and is expected to again be part of the relay team.

Malone’s lone individual event in Sochi, the 500, is 4 1/2 laps of pure sprinting, and with racers fighting for position, a strong start will be key. The U.S. will be one of the favorites in the relay after strong World Cup showings.

Quinn joins driver Nick Cunningham and fellow push athletes Justin Olsen and Dallas Robinson on the USA’s four-man bobsled team. He also could be selected to compete in the two-man event.

After playing high school football in McKinney, Quinn went on to lead UNT in receptions for four straight seasons beginning in 2003. Friends credit his work ethic with helping him make the Olympic bobsled team despite the fact that he suffers from motion sickness.

So, when millions of people are watching his four-man team shoot down the course at speeds exceeding 80 mph, Quinn will push for 50 meters, jump in and shut his eyes tight.

Quinn has competed with the U.S. team since 2010 and will make his Olympic debut in Sochi.

He told us that he expects the team to do well.

“We have a shot,” Quinn said in a recent interview. “The end goal is not just to be an Olympian — it’s to be an Olympic medalist, to be on the podium and see our flag fly in Sochi.”

We look forward to seeing both Malone and Quinn when that time comes so we can join them in celebrating a medal in their respective events.

But like we said, they’ve already made us proud by earning spots on the U.S. Olympic team and representing our nation in Sochi.

We encourage area residents to join us in supporting them throughout the competition.

Let’s all show some of that hometown pride.