Olympic Names: Gold Medal Choices

Olympic Names: Gold Medal Choices

Guest blogger JILL BARNETT gives out Olympic medals.  No, not for the sports, silly; for the names.  But before we begin, an Olympic name trivia note: Roughly 20 percent of the U.S. men’s ice hockey team is named Ryan.  Why?  We’re guessing the inspiration might have been the hockey-playing heartthrob played by Ryan O’Neal in Love Story.

When I was in second grade, I had figured out two things: that the Rubik’s Cube could be easily solved by simply peeling off the colored stickers and reaffixing them onto the correct squares, and that I was destined to roller skate in the Olympics. Granted, there was no artistic roller skating event, but I was confident that if just one member of the International Olympic Committee could see me doing my best Xanadu routine while wearing my new unicorn-embossed roller skates with fuzzy pink pom-poms, he or she would recognize the need to include it in future Olympiads.

Being firmly grounded in reality, however, I soon realized that my gold medal dreams would more likely be realized by transferring my exemplary roller skating skills (I could skate backwards and forwards, and when I needed to stop, I’d gracefully dive into the grass) onto the ice. I would become a figure skater–the next Dorothy Hamill–and after a brief stop at the Olympics, I’d join her in the Ice Capades, or better yet, become a cast member of Disney on Ice!

With my new ice skating obsession, I was naturally fixated on the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, rooting for Rosalynn Sumners as she skated her way to the women’s silver medal, and cheering on Scott Hamilton as he won the men’s figure skating gold. I even stayed glued to the TV long enough to watch other events such as skiing, speed skating, curling (which I affectionately call “shuffleboard on ice”) and bobsledding, which of course inspired me to ride a greased cookie sheet down the hill in front our house and into oncoming traffic.

And even though my ice skating dreams quickly melted after I crashed into a wall at my friend Monica’s fourth grade skating party (I never quite grasped the concept of braking), I’ve continued to faithfully view the Winter Olympics on television every four years. But it’s not only the sporting events that I enjoy; I also love to hear the athletes’ names!

Rating the names has actually become a sport in and of itself to me, and if someone from the U.S. isn’t competing in a given event, I, like any reasonable name nerd, simply cheer for the participant with the best name. Likewise, if I notice an athlete with a particularly unfortunate name, I’ll lend my support to him or her. (This year, the dubious honor goes to Lilia Vaygina, a biathlete from the Ukraine.) Thankfully, for the viewing pleasure of name fans in the U.S. and beyond, the field of athletes from the 2010 Winter Olympics contains an impressive assortment of many gold, silver, and bronze medal-worthy names:


AMELIE Kober—Germany, Snowboard

ANASTASIA Buscis—Canada, Speed Skating

ANNESOPHIE Barthet—France, Alpine Skiing

ANTONIA Grigorva—Bulgaria, Cross-Country

AUERELIE Revillet—France, Alpine Skiing

CAMILLA Jensen—Denmark, Curling

CAMILLE De Faucompret—France, Snowboard

CELIA Bourgeois—France, Cross-Country

CHIMENE “CHEMMY”Alcott –Great Britian, Alpine Skiing

CLAIRE Chapotot—France, Snowboard

CLARA HughesCanada, Speed Skating

CORINNA Boccacini—Italy, Snowboard

EKATERINA Ananina–Russian Federation, Ice Hockey

ELENA Doronina—Russian Federation, Bobsleigh

EMILIA AndersonSweden, Ice Hockey

EVAMARIA Brem—Austria, Alpine Skiing

HELENA Johnsson—Sweden, Biathlon

JOON Munn—Korea, Speed Skating

KAROLINA Erbanova—Czech Republic, Speed Skating

KATJA Haller—Italy, Biathlon

LILIA Ludan—Ukraine, Luge

MAGDALENA Iljans—Sweden, Freestyle Skating

MARIT Bjoergen—Norway, Cross-Country

MATEA Ferk—Croatia, Alpine Skiing

MIRABELLE Thovex—France, Snowboard

OCEANE Pozzo—France, Snowboard

SANDRINE AubertFrance, Alpine Skiing

SANNE van Kerkhof—Netherlands, Short Track

SYLVIE Becaert—France, Biathalon

VALENTINA Lizana—Sweden, Ice Hockey

VERONIKA Vitkova—Czech Republic, Biathlon

VIOLETA Stramaturaru—Romania, Luge

VITA Semerenko—Ukraine, Biathlon


AGUSTIN Torres–Argentina, Alpine Skiing

ANDERS Bardal—Norway, Ski Jumping

ANDRES Ambhul–Switzerland, Biatholon

APOLO ANTON Ohno—United States, Short Track

ARTHUR Longo —France, Snowboard

BODE Miller—United States, Alpine Skiing

BROOKS Orpik –United States, Ice Hockey

CEDRIC Grand—Switzerland, Bobsleigh

EDWARD Drake—Great Britian, Alpine Skiing

FELIX Gottwald —Austria, Nordic Combined

FRANCOIS-OLIVIER Roberge—Canada, Speed Skating

GREGOR Bermbach—Germany, Bobsleigh

IVO Rueegg—Switzerland, Bobsleigh

JEAN GUILLAUME BeatrixFrance, Biathalon

JESPER Bjoernlund—Sweden, Freestyle Skiing

JONAS Anderson—Norway, Ice Hockey

KONSTANTIN Schad—Germany, Snowboard

MAGNUS Johansson—Sweden, Ice Hockey

MAREK Matiasko—Slovakia, Biathlon

MATTEO Anesi—Italy, Speed Skating…

MAXIME Gingras —Canada, Freestyle Skating

NIELS Kerstholt—Netherlands, Short Track

OLIVIER JeanCanada, Short Track

OSKAR Eriksson—Sweden, Curling

PIETER Gysel —Belgium, Short Track

SEBASTIEN Lacroix—France, Nordic Combined

TOBIAS Angerer–Germany, Cross-Country

VAUGHN Chipeur—Canada, Figure Skating

ZOLTAN Kelemen—Romania, Figure Skating

Jill Barnett, a lifelong name fan, enjoys working with children, painting, drawing, writing, running, cooking, traveling, and following popular culture and politics. Her favorite color is yellow, her all-time favorite movie is The Sound of Music, and she has recently decided that peanut M&Ms are far more substantial than Milk Duds. Jill has enjoyed writing for Nameberry about yooneek names, stage names, and being less than pleased with her given name, and she looks forward to posting on Nameberry with so many wonderful people each day.

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.