On Tuesday, sophomore TJ Walsh headed for Lillehammer, Norway, to compete with the United States hockey team in the second Winter Youth Olympic Games. The team will play its first game against Finland tomorrow, and will also face off against Norway, Germany, Russia, and Canada in group competition. The gold medal game will take place on Feb. 21, the day the Games conclude.
Said Cushing hockey coach Rob Gagnon, “TJ has a passion for the game of hockey. He is one of the best players I have seen at his age to come through Cushing in my 9 years here. He is a very gifted athlete but he also has the drive and work ethic to strive for improvement every day. It is an honor for our program and our school to have someone like TJ represent America in the Youth Olympics. He is a very humble, hard working, and caring individual. We’re all really proud of him.”
“It’s a great opportunity to represent your country,” said TJ recently to a reporter with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “Putting the USA on the front of your jersey is obviously, I think, the biggest thing and the coolest thing out of this. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”
Held every 4 years, the Youth Olympics is based on the Olympic Games with 28 sports featured in the summer program and 7 in the winter program. In addition to the competitions, athletes participate in a variety of interactive activities, workshops, and team-building exercises to learn about the Olympic values, develop skills to become leaders in their sport, and explore other cultures. The games also integrate a unique Culture and Education Program (CEP), based around five main themes: Olympism, Social Responsibility, Skills Development, Expression and Well-being, and Healthy Lifestyles.
Stay tuned for an interview with TJ upon his return to campus. We wish him and his teammates the best of luck!