U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (KSEE/KGPE) – A Clovis West graduate will be competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Katie Tannenbaum graduated from the Clovis Unified high school in 2003 and now lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She found out this week that she will be representing the U.S. territory in the skeleton sledding event.

“I’m just so excited because she’s worked so long,” said Katie’s mom Sally. “It’s hard work. It’s grit, it’s determination, and she has just been committed to this, to see her be able to accomplish it, to be able to get into the games”

Katie’s parents were both professors at Fresno State, and her mother was also on the Fresno County Board of Education for 15 years. Sally says Katie competed in both gymnastics and cheer while at Clovis West High School.

“She really does like high-risk sports,” said Sally. “She always has liked to speed and liked the challenge – and she just loves it. We used to go up to the snows, I think she learned how to ski at Badger Pass. We always would spend a lot of time there.”

Katie will be the only competitor from the U.S. Virgin Islands taking part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, meaning she will be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

“It’s so exciting because she’s worked so hard for this. Her commitment has just been incredible.”

Sally says her daughter’s goal was simply to get to the Olympics – regardless of where she finishes – citing tough competition from Russia, Germany, China, Canada, and the United States in the sport of skeleton.

Katie picked up the sport of skeleton about a decade ago after watching it on television during several previous winter Olympics. Her mom Sally says Katie has become one of the top 25 riders in the world.

“I had to have her explain to me what the sport was because I wasn’t that familiar with it and I was frightened because they go pretty fast. They go about 75 to 80 miles an hour and they’re going headfirst on their stomachs.”

The women’s skeleton runs at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre in Beijing are scheduled for Feb. 11 and Feb. 12.