The former Ivy League 60-meter-dash champion and first-team All-Ivy running back has risen rapidly as a brakeman for the American four-man bobsled team since the fall of 2020. The team placed third in the seventh of eight World Cup events and was ranked 10th internationally.
Now the team is headed to the Beijing Winter Olympics.
“I have a chip on my shoulder still from football not working out,” Volker said. “I have to prove myself every day. That’s an awesome thing. I love competing. I love making memories with these guys. I’m just super excited to be here right now. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.”
Six Princeton alumni and student athletes will compete in the Olympics this month, and one in the Paralympics in March. The list includes three women’s ice hockey players, two of whom helped Canada win gold in the World Championships in August.
Kimberly Newell ’16 was slotted to be host Team China’s goalie after returning from recent ankle surgery. Sarah Fillier ’24 and Claire Thompson ’20 hope to bring Team Canada its first Olympic gold medal since 2014.
“I think it gave us a lot of confidence as a team that we have everything we need … to be the best in the world,” said Thompson of the World Championships title. “Throughout the season, we’ve continued to play well and beat every other national team that we’ve played.”
Fillier was Canada’s fifth-leading scorer at Worlds with three goals and three assists, and was ranked 10th among all the players at Worlds.
“The Olympics is a whole different experience and a dream I’ve had since I started playing hockey,” said Fillier, who will return to Princeton from a leave next fall. “It’s really awesome. And to be able to do it with Claire, my teammate at Princeton, is really cool.”
One year after winning the 2018 Olympic snowboard halfpipe gold medal, Chloe Kim ’24 took her first year of college classes at Princeton in 2019-20. When the pandemic struck, she took a leave of absence to begin training for the 2022 Olympics, where she is favored again.
Jake Brown ’14, who transferred from Princeton to St. Olaf College, will compete for the U.S. in biathlon, having placed 12th in the mixed relay and 12th in sprint at the 2021 World Championships. Max Veronneau ’19 is an alternate for the Canadian men’s ice hockey team.
Nathan Crumpton ’08 has been pursuing the Olympics since 2011, and now he’s finally succeeded not once, but twice, in back-to-back Games. Crumpton ran for American Samoa in the 100-meter sprint in Tokyo in August and will compete in skeleton in Beijing. Crumpton is believed to be the first Princetonian to compete in both Games.
“This is over a decade in the making,” said Crumpton. “This is my main sport. This is the one I’ve been ranked top-10 in the world in past World Cups and past years.”
At the time he graduated, he was ranked third at Princeton for the best all-time men’s triple jump, but moved to skeleton after watching Vancouver 2010 on TV. After years of bumps, bruises, and a herniated disc that cost him a PyeongChang 2018 berth, the Summer Games chance emerged unexpectedly. He called the experience “a dream come true.”
Declan Farmer ’20 is in training camp for the Paralympic Winter Games, where he’ll aim for a third straight gold in men’s sled hockey. The U.S. also won the 2021 World Championships.
Farmer, who was born without legs, will be an assistant captain for the second straight Olympics. He was only 16 at Sochi in 2014, and he was a Princeton sophomore when he scored the game-tying and game-winning overtime goals in the 2018 gold-medal game. He trained on his own at Baker Rink while at Princeton, but now lives and trains with teammates in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I couldn’t imagine not being on the national team,” Farmer said. “It’s such a central part of my life, and it’s such an honor and privilege to be on it. I get so much joy from being on it.”
This story has been updated to include Jake Brown ’14.