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Present and Past Lake County Olympians and Where to Watch the Beijing Games 2022

John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare” is playing on everyone’s Spotify right now as the best Lake County Olympians head to Beijing in February.

The Olympic games are packed with Prairie State dwellers. According to the Chicago Tribune, since 1896, Illinois residents have taken home over 250 Olympic gold, silver or bronze medals. The City of Lake Forest leads the pack for our fair county with 18 medal recipients historically.

 

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Everyone is ready to see some dramatic stories in the Olympics. We’ve never seen a back-to-back Olympics like this, with Beijing kicking off this week and Tokyo last summer. The Tokyo Olympics were supposed to occur in 2020, but since COVID-19 struck, the summer games moved to – how they phrased – 2020NE Olympic Games.

While you’re in town, there are plenty of places, Lake County Libation Trail partners, restaurants and more showing the games. Also, February is Lake County Libation Trail Month/Check In Challenge. Continue scrolling to see where you can watch the Beijing games.

 

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Guests who “Check-In” at five or more locations between Feb. 1-28 will be eligible for a drawing, where 50 people will win a new Libation Trail Roster Shirt. The long-sleeved 100% cotton shirt lists all the Libation Trail partner locations to visit this year. Once 50 names are drawn after March 1, winners who respond to email notification with their name and mailing address within seven days will be awarded a shirt to wear proudly.

  1. SCAN the QR code, TEXT “CHEERS” to 224.706.1133 or visit Experience.VisitLakeCounty.org.
  2. Sign up for the Libation Trail Passport and opt-in for location services and prompts.
  3. CHECK-IN at five or more participating locations between Feb. 1-28 to be entered to WIN.
  4. 50 eligible entrants will win the new Libation Trail Roster Shirt, a sought-after souvenir for adventurous libation connoisseurs.

Here is a rundown of your Lake County Olympians competing in the Beijing games. Cheer on your fellow of Land of Lincolners as they go for the gold and grab a drink and/or grub at one of Lake County’s venues to watch Team USA!

Lake Winter Olympians

Megan Bozek

 

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Hometown: Buffalo Grove
Event: Ice Hockey

Fun Facts: The Stevenson High School alum has a rap sheet where she has won at every level. Bozek played for Team Illinois, advancing to the USA Hockey Girls National Championship each season. As a senior in high school, she was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Hockey Under 18 Team in 2009. After graduating, and recording a Patriot Hall of Fame placement, Bozek took her talents to Minneapolis where she was an integral piece of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAA National Championship in 2013. This is Bozek’s second trip to Winter Olympics as the defender also nabbed a silver medal during the Sochi Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Bozek is also a six-time medalist (four golds and two silver in the World Championship sector. The returning Olympic medalist also competes at the pro level for the KRS Vanke Rays in the Zhenskaya Hockey League in Eurasia.

Jason Brown

 

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Hometown: Highland Park
Event: Figure Skating

Fun Facts: Brown punched his second trip to the winter Olympics after a stellar international season placing first in the Finlandia Trophy, second in Skate Canada International and third in the Internationaux de France. Brown also placed fourth in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Brown won a bronze medal in the team event in 2014 at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, becoming one of the youngest male figure skating medalists. The Highland Park High School alum trains at the Skokie Valley Skating Club in Skokie and also trained at Centennial Ice Arena in his hometown. Brown just missed registering a bronze finish in Sochi as well.

Hilary Knight

 

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Hometown: Lake Forest
Event: Ice Hockey

Raised in Lake Forest, Knight is one of the most decorated Olympians on this list. Competing in her fourth-straight games, Knight has totaled six goals and 11 assists in 15 Olympic games. Two of the six were during the gold medal game in Pyeongchang that helped the United States capture their second title in team history. Knight also assisted her University of Wisconsin Badgers place second in the NCAA Championships in 2008, and become national champs in 2009. Knight took home two silvers during the Vancouver games in 2010 and the Sochi games in 2014.

Kevin Bickner

 

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Hometown: Wauconda
Event: Ski Jumping

Fun Facts: Born in Lake Forest, the Waucondan dweller tallies his second-consecutive Winter Olympics after qualifying for Pyeongchang in 2018. Bickner finished in 18th place at the PyeongChang games, but it was the best placing by a U.S. man in almost two decades. Bickner however holds the U.S. ski distance record at 244.5 meters. On Christmas Day, Bickner notched took first overall at the U.S. Olympic Team Ski Jumping Trials.

Casey Larson

 

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Hometown: Barrington
Event: Ski Jumping

Fun Facts: Larson is making his second appearance, after earning an Olympic berth in Pyeongchang in 2018. Larson trains out of Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, as does teammate and Olympic first-timer Patrick Gasienica of Chicago. Larson finished ninth with the team and among the top-40 in the normal hill event. He also left South Korea with the distinction of being the 100,000th male Olympian. He competed alongside Bickner and their team finished ninth overall at Pyeongchang. Larson’s sister, Cara also competes on the U.S. Ski Jumping National Team.

Lake County Summer Olympians

Laura Zeng

 

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Hometown: Libertyville
Events: Rhythmic Individual Gymnastics

Fun Facts: Zeng, who trains in North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center in Highland Park, finished no. 1 at the 2021 USA Gymnastics Championship. Zeng, who is going for a second in the Olympics, finished 11th overall in the 2016 Rio edition. Zeng notched top finishes on the hoop, ball and ribbon. Zeng became the first U.S. rhythmic gymnast to win a medal at an Olympic or Youth Olympic Games. She’s also the second rhythmic athlete ever to sweep all five Pan Am Games medals in 2015. Laura graduated from Libertyville High School in 2018.

Nefeli Papadakis

 

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Hometown: Gurnee
Events: Judo

Fun Facts: According to the Daily Herald, Papadakis was part of the  2017 Warren High School graduating class in her hometown and has been competing in the sport since she was four years old. She has trained in the Gurnee Judo Club near Viking Middle School. She competes at the 78-kilogram class and is ranked no. 30 in the world. The Papadakis family has had its own dojo in Waukegan.

Felicia Stancil

Hometown: Lake Villa
Event: BMX

Fun Facts: This is the first year BMX is an event in the Olympics. Stancil graduated from Grayslake North in 2013. She started riding two-wheelers when she was just four years old. Post Lake County days, she attended Marian University in Indianapolis, and finished in second in the 2019 world cup series rankings for BMX. Stancil won her first world title in the Netherlands at just age nine.

Illinois Winter Olympians

 

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Jesse Compher
Hometown: Northbrook
Event: Ice Hockey

Patrick Gasienica
Hometown: Chicago
Event: Ski Jumping

Ethan Cepuran
Hometown: Glen Elyn
Event: Long Track Speed Skating

Kendall Coyne
Hometown: Palos Heights
Event: Ice Hockey

Savannah Harmon
Hometown: Downers Grove
Event: Ice Hockey

Austin Kleba
Hometown: Long Track Speedskating
Event: Campton Hills

Alexa Knierim
Hometown: Addison
Event: Figure Skating (Pairs)

Emery Lehman
Hometown: Oak Park
Event: Long Track Speedskating

Abbey Murphy
Hometown: Evergreen Park
Event: Ice Hockey

Illinois Summer Olympians

 

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Zach Lavine
Hometown: Chicago
Event: Basketball

Darryl Sullivan
Hometown: Marion
Event: Track & Field – High Jump

Maggie Shea
Hometown: Wilmette
Event: Sailing

David Kendziera
Hometown: Prospect
Event: Track & Field – 400m Hurdles.

Tamyra Mensah-Stock
Hometown: Chicago
Event: Wrestling

 

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Olivia Smolgia
Hometown: Glenview
Event: Swimming – 100m Backstroke

Joe Berenyi
Hometown: Aurora
Event: Cycling

Gwen Berry
Hometown: Carbondale when in college/born in Centerville
Event: Track & Field – Hammer Throw

Michelle Barsch-Hackley
Hometown: Champaign
Event: Volleyball

 

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Tori Franklin
Hometown: Evanston
Event: Track & Field – Triple Jump

Kelsey Card
Hometown: Carlinville
Event: Track & Field – Discus

Thomas Jaeschke
Hometown: Wheaton
Event: Volleyball

Zach Ziemek
Hometown: Itasca
Event: Decathlon

Kevin McDowell
Hometown: Geneva
Event: Triathlon

Alex Diab
Hometown: Champaign
Event: Gymnastics

Past Notable Lake County Olympians

 

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Tamika Catchings
Hometown: Lincolnshire
Event: Basketball
Olympics: Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016
Four-time Gold Medalist

Matt Grevers
Hometown: Lake Forest
Event: Swimming
Olympics: Beijing 2008, London 2012
Four-time Gold Medalist, two-time silver medalist

Cliff Gray
Hometown: Lake Forest
Event: Bobsled
Olympics: St. Moritz 1928 and Lake Placid 1932
Two-time Gold Medalist

Chris Thorpe
Hometown: Waukegan
Event: Luge
Olympics: Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002
Silver Medalist and Bronze Medalist

Shawn Marion
Hometown: Waukegan
Event: Basketball
Olympics: Athens 2004
Bronze Medalist

Charlie Houchin
Hometown: Lake Forest
Event: Swimming
Olympics: London 2012
Gold Medalist

Michael Jordan
Hometown: Highland Park
Event: Basketball
Olympics: Los Angeles 1984 and Barcelona 1992
Two-Time Gold Medalist

Ken Henry
Hometown: Lake Bluff
Event: Speed Skating
Olympics: Olso 1952
Gold Medalist

Scottie Pippen
Hometown: Highland Park
Event: Basketball
Olympics: Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996
Two-time Gold Medalist

Conor Dwyer
Practices in: Lake Forest
Event: Swimming
Olympics: London 2012 and Rio 2016
Two-time Gold Medalist and a Bronze Medalist

 

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Bradie Tennell
Hometown:  Carpentersville
Training Facility: Buffalo Grove
Event: Figure Skating
Olympics: Pyeongchang
Bronze Medalist

Mason Phelps
Hometown: Lake Forest
Event: Golf
Olympics: St. Louis 1904
Gold Medalist

Daniel Dennis
Hometown: Fox Lake
Event: Wrestling
Olympics: Rio 2016

Northern Lake County Venues to Watch the Beijing Games

 

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129 Center Cut
129 Center St., Grayslake

Bailey’s Pub
2723 Sheridan Rd., Zion

Black Lung Brewing
2217 N. Illinois Route 83, Round Lake Beach

Bill’s Pub North
18945 W. Washington St., Third Lake

Cafe Pomigliano
160 E. Cook Ave., Libertyville

Casa Bonita Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar
633 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville

The Chocolate Sanctuary
5101 Washington St., Gurnee

Chrissoula’s Restaurant
602 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville

El Puerto Mexican Restaurant
200 N. Forest Ave., Fox Lake

Fatmans
36309 N. U.S. Route 41, Gurnee

Giordano’s Pizza Gurnee
7105 Grand Ave., Gurnee

Green Town Tavern
110 S. Genesee St., Waukegan

Harbor Brewing Co.
811 Sheridan Rd., Winthrop Harbor

Harbor Brewing Co. Lake Villa
136 Cedar Ave., Lake Villa

Jimmy’s Charhouse
1413 Peterson Rd., Libertyville

Lakehouse Lake Villa 
850 Tower Dr., Lake Villa

Light the Lamp Brewery
2 S. Lake St., Grayslake

The Lodge of Antioch
899 Main St., Antioch

Lumberjaxe Axe Lounge
216 Peterson Rd., Libertyville

Main Street Social
608 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville

Mickey Finn’s Brewery
345 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville

Nightshade and Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing Co.
216 W. Clayton St., Waukegan

Only Child Brewing Company
130 Tri-State Prkwy., Suite 124, Gurnee

Oppidan Spirits
220 W. Clayton St., Lot C, Waukegan

O’Toole’s of Libertyville
412 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville

O’Toole’s Lake Villa
10 W. Grand Ave., Lake Villa

Port of Blarney
27843 W. Grass Lake Rd., Antioch

Primo Italian American Cuisine
720 Milwaukee Ave., Gurnee

Salutos Pizza & Pasta
7680 Grand Ave., Gurnee

The Shanty Restaurant
38985 N. U.S. Highway 41, Wadsworth

Timothy O’Tooles’s Pub Gurnee
5572 Grand Ave., Gurnee

The Vine Martini & Wine Bar
101 Center St., Grayslake

Win Win Restaurant & Bar
30 N. Genesee St., Waukegan

Zümbier Brewery
3232 W. Monroe St., Waukegan

Southern Lake County Venues to Watch the Beijing Games

28 Mile Distillery
454 Sheridan Rd., Highwood

Beelow’s Steakhouse
763 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich

Big Bowl Chinese and Thai
215 Parkway Dr., Lincolnshire

Bill’s Pizza & Pub
624 S. Lake St., Mundelein

Bluegrass Restaurant
2636 Old Deerfield Rd., Highland Park

Bosacki’s Brewery
610 E. Hawley St., Mundelein

Buffalo Creek Brewing Co.
360 Historical Ln., Long Grove

Cadwell’s Grille at Embassy Suites Deerfield
1445 Lake Cook Rd., Deerfield

Chessie’s Restaurant
200 Applebee St., Barrington

Claim Company
506 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills

Copper Fiddle Distillery
532 W. Route 22, Lake Zurich

Disotto Italian Restaurant
310 Green Bay Rd., Highwood

Dover Strait Seafood House
89 E. U.S. Highway 45, Mundelein

Half Day Brewing Co.
200 Village Green, Lincolnshire

Jameson’s Charhouse
151 E. Townline Rd., Vernon Hills

Jaxx Bistro at Hyatt Regency
1750 Lake Cook Rd., Deerfield

Liquid Love Brewing Co.
1310 Busch Pkwy., Buffalo Grove

Kuma’s Corner
925 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills

Maggiano’s Little Italy
307 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills

Mambo Italiano
748 S. Butterfield Rd., Mundelein

Oaken Bistro and Bar inside The Forester
200 N. Field Dr., Lake Forest

 

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Park Street Street Craft Kitchen and Bar
14 E. Park St., Mundelein

Parkway Grill at Chicago Marriott Suites
2 Parkway North, Deerfield

Ravinia Brewing Company
582 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park

Roaring Table Brewing Co.
739 W. Illinois Route 22, Lake Zurich

Scotty’s on Sheridan
810 Sheridan Rd., Highwood

Scotty’s on 21
700 N. Milwaukee Ave. #132, Vernon Hills

Side Lot Brewery
110 Slocum Lake Rd., Wauconda

Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Co., Highwood
254 Green Bay Rd., Highwood

Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Co. Vernon Hills
913 Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills

Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Co. Wauconda
127 N. Main St., Wauconda

Tighthead Brewery
161 N. Archer Ave., Mundelein

The Village Tavern
135 Old McHenry Rd., Long Grove

WhirlyBall
285 Center Dr., Vernon Hills

Wildfire Steak, Chops & Seafood
235 Parkway Dr., Lincolnshire

Wild Onion Brewery 
22221 N. Pepper Rd., Barrington

Wright’s Brew & Bistro
10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire

Zin GastroPub
583 N. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich


To try and flex your own winter Olympic skills as we watch the Beijing games, click here. To see what else is going on and where else to go in the land of lakes, continue here. Click here to learn more about Lake County Libation Trail month.

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