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Bay Area well represented in winter Olympics

Competing athletes live here or have regional ties

When Team USA entered the opening ceremony at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, several members of the procession had Bay Area ties.

More than half a dozen athletes competing in various sports over the next two weeks are either originally from or currently live in the Bay Area.

Perhaps the most promising local athlete is 34-year-old Brian Martin, a luger from Palo Alto who, along with partner Mark Grimmette, holds the Team USA record for international luge medals won.

The duo has earned 65 medals at the Olympics, World Championships, World Cup and Challenge Cup, including a silver medal at the Salt Lake City games in 2002.

Martin and Grimmette failed to finish their race in Torino, Italy, in the 2006 Winter Olympics and are hoping to win gold for the first time during the upcoming Olympic Games.

Also competing in the luge is Bay Area resident Dan Joye, 24, who was born in Venezuela but now lives in San Jose.

Joye competed in Torino and will race with Christian Niccum in Vancouver.

Other Bay Area racers include two members of the men's bobsled team, both of whom are relatively new to the sport.

Walnut Creek resident Chuck Berkeley, 33, will compete on one of the three American bobsled teams that qualified for the Olympics. Berkeley took up bobsledding in 2007, several years after he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.

He also ran track at Cal during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, and placed fourth in the 400-meter run at the Pac-10 track championships in 2000, according to the school.

Bay Area resident Nick Cunningham, who is also fairly new to the sport, will race with the third American bobsled team that qualified for the Vancouver games. Cunningham, 24, graduated from Monterey High School in 2003, where he played football and ran track, according to his personal Web site.

He also ran track and played football at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Monterey Peninsula College before earning a bachelor's degree from Boise State University in 2008. Cunningham took up bobsledding that year and has since placed in several national competitions.

The Bay Area will also have two women competing in the games - both from San Mateo County.

One of the youngest female competitors in Vancouver will be 18-year-old Kelly Marren, a freshman at Stanford University who will compete in the snowboard halfpipe event. Marren is originally from Hillsborough. She placed fourth at the 2009 Junior World Championships.

The second local female competitor, skeleton racer Rachelle Rasmussen, is a Belmont native who graduated from Sonoma State University in

2006. Rasmussen was ranked sixth in the 2009-2010 America's Cup racing tour overall.

Several local hockey players will also be competing at the 2010 Games, including San Francisco native Brooks Orpik, 29. Orpik currently plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins and will compete with Team USA.

San Jose Sharks player Joe Pavelski will also play for Team USA, while the Sharks' Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley and Dan Boyle will play for Canada.

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