By ELLIOTT DENMAN
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, speaking at Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games at Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium, alluded to the
special concurrence of the Games taking place in the world's most populous nation in the once-in-a-dozen Year of the Tiger on Chinese calendars.
In Princeton, New Jersey, this Year of the Tiger - 2022 - has a very special ring to it.
No less than nine Beijing Winter Games athletes, representing four nations, have ties to Princeton University.
Most prominent ex-Tiger - perhaps the most noted athlete in the entire Friday night parade of nations at Opening Ceremonies -was Nathan Crumpton, Princeton University
class of 2008.
Braving the icy Beijing temps, Crumpton was prominent as that shirtless guy proudly carrying the flag of American Samoa into the Bird's Nest gala.
He'd done the same thing - with no chill whatsoever - at last July's Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he represented American Samoa in track and field's 100-meter dash.
Crumpton is in Beijing to compete, along with some of the world's great daredevil athletes, in the men's skeleton sliding event.
At 36, Crumpton is a professional photographer with a global background. He was born in Kenya while his father was stationed abroad with the U.S. Foreign Service. He spent his childhood in Africa and Australia before settling in Virginia during his high school years.
He moved on to Princeton, where he excelled on Coach Fred Samara's Tiger track and field team, as a key scorer on Heptagonal/Ivy League champion teams, and posting triple jump marks that still rank high on the Princeton all-time charts.
Ex-Tigers Charlie Volker, Chloe Kim and Declan Farmer are members of Team USA.
Ex-football and track standout Volker, the former NJSIAA Meet of Champions titlist in the 100-meter dash for Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, and a brilliant running back in high school and college, as both Rumson Bulldog and Princeton Tiger, will compete in the two-man and four-man bobsled events,
Kim is set to compete in the snowboarding event. The Paralympics take place two weeks after the Winter Games and Farmer will be in unifom for the American sled hockey team.
The women's ice hockey tournament's strongest two squads are USA and Canada, and Tiger alumnae Sarah Fillier and Claire Thompson will compete for Canada. Competing for the Canadian men's hockey squad will be Princeton grad Max Verroneau.
Playing for host China's women's hockey team will be Princeton alumna Kim Newell.
Another USA medal hopeful is Kelly Curtis in the women's skeleton event. A former star athlete at Princeton High School, Lawrenceville School and Springfield College, and now a member of the US Air Force, she excelled in track and field's heptathlon event and once was a point-scorer for the Shore Athletic Club team that won the women's USA Track and Field National Club team championship. Her husband, Jeff Milliron, was a top performer in track and field's throwing events, and a former throws coach at Princeton University and Tulane University.