Saturday, February 24, 2018

Olympic Daughters

As the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea draw to a close, I thought it would be a good time to write a single-card post I've had in mind for a while. I'm quite an avid Olympics fan, and certainly enjoyed many of this year's events. The USA came up short in a few events where they've historically been strong, but managed to win first-ever gold medals in women's cross-country skiing and men's curling, as well as plenty of the X Games-type sports that the USA has dominated since they were added to the Olympic menu.

Spring Training is just getting underway by the time the Winter Olympics wrap up, so baseball isn't far off. But even in the dead of winter, there are glimmers of baseball here and there. Katie Uhlaender, a four-time Olympian in the headfirst sliding sport of skeleton, is the daughter of the late Ted Uhlaender, who played in the Majors for eight seasons in the '60s and '70s, mostly for the Minnesota Twins. Katie just barely missed the podium in 2014, and finished in 13th place this time around.

I don't have a card of her father, but I'm sure many of the vintage collectors have him in their late-'60s stacks. However, the story doesn't end there.

1993 Topps Gold #270 Frank Viola
What better set to use in an Olympics-themed post than Topps Gold? There are thousands of athletes in Korea chasing the precious medal (pun intended), training for years, even decades, to edge out their other competitors by the slimmest of margins. Not only can the blink of an eye separate the winner from the loser, sometimes the blink of an eye isn't enough to cover the top four or five places.

So why Frank Viola, also once a Twin, but pictured here as a Boston Red Sock? He, too, has an Olympian in the family. His daughter Brittany competed in the 2012 London Summer Olympics in the sport of diving. She finished a respectable 15th in the 10-meter platform event, and NBC gave us plenty of shots of her dad and family in the stands while she was competing.

I had thought that may have been during 2016's Games in Rio, but apparently this post has been kicking around in my head for over half a decade.

It's great to see these athletic traditions carry on, regardless of the sport. And while Katie and Brittany may not have a career's worth of trading cards to their names, their achievements and sports(wo)manship continue to inspire the next generation of athletes.


  1. Your overall sports knowledge always amazes me. Great tie in to Topps Gold!

  2. I was so bummed that Katie Uhlaneder didnt medal at these games, or in Sochi. Didn't know about Brittany Viola- I must have missed that somehow. Thanks for the info!

  3. I'll always picture Viola as a Twin, but I gotta admit that photo Topps used is fantastic.

  4. In the other direction, Michael Conforto's mother, Tracie Ruiz, won two gold medals in synchronized swimming in the 1984 summer games.