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Paving the Path to Pyeongchang

This month, thousands of athletes will head to South Korea to showcase their skills in the 2018 Olympic Games. They've taken different paths. Some started in traditional Winter Games sports, like men's and women's ice hockey. Others developed their skills as runners, jumpers and throwers competing under the summer sun. But for many, the chance to develop their skills with world-class coaching in college, whether as a hockey player or a track athlete, opened the door to even greater opportunities. For a fortunate few, college athletics opened a door to Olympic glory. These are the stories of the paths that brought them to Pyeongchang.

More former NCAA student-athletes still have a chance to fight for medals in PyeongChang. On the heels of a Winter Olympics that featured more than 150 former NCAA student-athletes, nine more are participating in the Paralympics. The 2018 Winter Paralympics, a competition for physically disabled athletes, began on Friday, March 9, and will feature events in the disciplines of alpine skiing, biathlon, Nordic skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboard and wheelchair curling. The events will be held over the course of 10 days at many of the same venues where the Olympians competed last month.

Student-Athletes at the Winter Olympics

148 incoming, current and former NCAA athletes are competing in the Winter Games. They represent 21 countries across 6 continents. These students studied at 63 universities from all 3 divisions. Read the List >>

The Experience

College athletics teaches hundreds of thousands of young people the skills needed to succeed each year, whether it's on the field, in the careers they pursue after their playing careers or, for a fortunate few, in competition among the world's best athletes in the Olympics. During their college careers, these athletes found a platform to develop their skills, build their confidence and understand how to compete on the international stage.

Medal pursuit continues in PyeongChang for paralympians

Nine former NCAA student-athletes are participating in the 2018 Winter Paralympics.

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Unfinished business prompts return to skeleton

His track success in college put Olympic gold in reach; now he’s looking for one more shot.

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Greenway to make history on U.S. Olympic hockey team

Boston U. junior is first African-American on U.S. roster.

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Weinstock set for first Olympic experience

Track success at Brown opened the door to a spot on U.S. bobsled team.

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U.S. hockey's Duggan is a born leader

Wisconsin grad’s leadership role included a fight for equality.

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Biathlete world champion makes history with help of wife and baby

Former Vermont skier built momentum for Olympics with a historic biathlon win.

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What Student-Athletes Can Receive

When college athletes compete on the international stage, questions naturally arise about the support they are able to receive to help them in their quest for Olympic glory. Here are answers to some of those questions.


Do student-athletes have to pay their own way to the Olympics if they're competing?

College athletes have a few options for helping to cover actual and necessary expenses to compete in the Olympics. For example, they can accept funds for actual and necessary expenses from either the national governing body or their NCAA school.

Can college athletes accept prize money at the Olympics?

College athletes who are representing their country may accept prize money from their country's Olympics governing body (in the United States, that would be the United States Olympic Committee). There is no limit to the award money that the governing body can provide for the Olympics.

Can families crowdfund to travel to the Olympics to watch their college athletes compete?

For families of collegiate Olympians, crowdfunding for actual and necessary expenses (including travel) from outside sources, including directly from a commercial organization, is allowed. However, boosters, agents and professional sports organizations may not make donations to a family's crowdfunding site. Generally speaking, the NCAA waiver process is available to schools that would like boosters to be able to contribute to those funds, and those waivers are handled on a case-by-case basis.

What if the semester starts while the student-athlete is competing in Pyeongchang?

Participating in the Olympics may require student-athletes to balance academic demands with the opportunity to compete on an international level. NCAA rules require that member schools have policies in place for missed class time. However, each school will work on an individual basis with its student-athletes who are Olympians.

Winter Games in Real Time

Follow along for Olympic updates from student-athletes and the schools they represent.