Meet the Three Floridians Competing in the Winter Olympics

Categories: Sports

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As native Floridians, we've always viewed the Winter Olympics as some sort of weird arctic elf games we'll never truly be able to comprehend. As it turns out, there are not that many Floridians who go on to compete in these frigid competitions compared to northern states.

Though, this year there are three Floridians who will brave these bizarre concepts of "snow" and "actual winter" to compete in Sochi, but before you wonder what went wrong in these people's lives that got them mixed up in winter sports, you should know that every single one of them actually got their start in inline skating before transitioning to ice speed skating.

Yes, they're all actually roller bladers at heart, which seems much more Florida-appropriate.

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via Twitter
Eddy Alvarez
Hometown: Miami, Florida (seriously!)
Age: 24
Sport: Speedskating - Short Track
Twitter: @EddyAlvarez90
A high school baseball stand-out with inline skating aspirations on the side, Alvarez started pursuing speed skating on ice but missed out on the 2010 Olympic team. So instead he refocused on baseball and walked onto the Salt Lake Community College baseball team. Though, Alvarez was plagued by knee pain and eventually doctors found 12 tears between both of his knees. They weren't sure whether he'd play baseball again let alone skate, but after recovering Alvarez returned to the rink more dedicated than ever.

A Cuban-American, Alvarez is just one of two Latinos representing America in the games.

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Brittany Bowe
Hometown: Ocala, Florida
Age: 25
Sport: Speedskating - Long Track
Twitter: @BrittanyBowe
Bowe started inline skating at the age of 8, and racked up a seriously accomplished resume in the sport. She won gold at the Pan American Games in 2008. Though, in 2008 she decided to shift focus and played basketball for the Florida Atlantic University Owls, though after she watched former friends from her inline skating days compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics she decided to make the switch to ice skating as well. She was soon racking up medals in that sport as well and is now the current world record holder for the 1000-meter distance.

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via Twitter
Joey Mantia
Hometown: Ocala, Florida
Age: 28
Sport: Speedskating - Long Track
Twitter: @JRMantia
Another former inline skater, Mantia racked up several gold medals in the sport but decided as well to switch to speed skating in 2011. In the lead up to the Olympics, Mantia won gold at the Berlin World Cup back in December for the 1500-meter distance. He had never before finished better than 11th in a World Cup event.

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