January 23, 2018

Ashley Caldwell ’14 Named to Third U.S. Winter Olympic Team

Women's Aerialist Combats "Stigma of Gender"

SUNY Empire alumna Ashley Caldwell ’14, at left, with her U.S. Olympic teammate Kiley McKinnon, at the FIS World Cup aerial competition, held Jan. 19-20, 2018, in Lake Placid, N.Y.
SUNY Empire alumna Ashley Caldwell ’14, at left, with her U.S. Olympic teammate Kiley McKinnon, at the FIS World Cup aerial competition, held Jan. 19-20, 2018, in Lake Placid, N.Y. Photo/Empire State College

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jan. 23, 2018) The U.S. Olympic Team (TeamUSA) has named alumna Ashley Caldwell ’14, to the 2018 Winter Olympic Team, where she will compete in freestyle skiing, women’s aerials.

Caldwell, 24, the current FIS World Cup champion in women’s aerials, now has made three consecutive Winter Olympic Teams.

Known for “going big” in competition, she is the first woman to land “The Daddy,” a full, double, full, full, which is a quadruple-twisting triple backflip, the jump that earned her the world championship.

“I’ve always been a huge advocate for people going big, trying (their) hardest and not really being worried about what (other) people think or gender norms,” said Caldwell. “I’ve never compared myself to just the girls out there, I’ve compared myself to everyone and I wanted to be my best, not just good for a girl or good for a boy.

“I think that taking away that stigma of gender is helpful in making people realize that you can be your best and that should be what counts not comparing and contrasting all the time.”

Caldwell, a native of Washburn, Va., and current resident of Park City, Utah, credits support from many others for a good part of her success.

“There’s a huge group of people surrounding me, believing in me and supporting me,” she said. “Not just my coaching staff, but my parents, my whole organization, the sponsors, and then friends and family and the whole country, so that’s nice to feel.”

The complete announcement from TeamUSA is available online.

Caldwell completed a B.S. in Business, Management and Economics, with a concentration in finance and a 3.9 GPA, and is a 2014 recipient of the Chancellors Award for Student Excellence.

She joins alumna Erin Hamlin ’11, who was previously named to the team.

Hamlin, 31, of Remsen, N.Y., won a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games in luge, women’s singles.

Hamlin is competing in her fourth consecutive Winter Olympic Games, her last. Hamlin announced she will be retiring from competition after the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Opening ceremonies for the PyeongChang Olympics are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.

Women’s luge competition begins Monday, Feb. 12, and women’s aerial competition begins Thursday, Feb. 15.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system educates nearly 18,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 30 locations across the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and coursework on site, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

The college’s more than 80,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.