It appears Lake Tahoe will be well represented at the Winter Olympics this year, as two South Shore doctors join a handful of local athletes headed for Sochi, Russia.
Dr. Jonathan Finnoff and Dr. Terrence Orr will support two different U.S. ski teams at the games. They will help keep athletes safe and healthy about 7,000 miles from home.
“I’m very excited, “ Finnoff said. “It’s quite an honor. I think it’s wonderful we have two physicians from here in Tahoe.”
Finnoff, the director of sports medicine at Barton Health, will be a team physician in Sochi for the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team.
He will be available for medical advice if an athlete gets injured or has a medical emergency. However, he expects to spend most of his time performing preventative treatment — or keeping the skiers as healthy as possible, he said.
“They train really hard,” Finnoff said. “They’re kind of running on that edge between being over-trained and being sick, and being undertrained.”
This year will mark the second time Finnoff has served as a physician in the games. The doctor was the director of the Athlete’s Medical Clinic in the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were held in Salt Lake City.
There, Finnoff helped treat dislocated shoulders, lacerations and other relatively minor injuries, many of which occurred from various ski jumping accidents, he said.
Since then, the physician has been working with the U.S. ski team and has watched the athletes develop their talents.
“I think it’s great …” he said. “I see people’s careers evolve, and I see all the hard work they put into it.”
Orr, a physician with Tahoe Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, has also spent a significant amount of time tending to athletes in his focus: the men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team.
For about 15 years, he has been the head team physician while volunteering his expertise during training camps, work championships and World Cup races and finals, according to the Barton.
“When the physicians who have been there by the athlete’s side during their competitions are able to follow them through to the Olympics,” Orr said in a statement, “it gives the athlete a sense of ease, because we know them, their medical background, as well as the sport.”
The Alpine Ski Team participates in a number of events, including various slaloms and downhill.
Orr said he’s glad to be at the games.
“The Olympics has always been my favorite sporting event,” he said, “and it has been great to be able to be a part of the games.”