Prairie du Chien native Matt Antoine was officially selected to the US Olympic skeleton team Saturday. It will be his first time competing in the Olympic games.
"This is a great moment for me," Antoine said on a teleconference. "I'm really excited to be making the Olympic team and I've gotten a lot of great support from everyone back home in Wisconsin. I've been getting a lot of love from everyone on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else. Everyone's excited and I'm just excited for the next few weeks."
After not qualifying for the team in 2010, Antoine saw a breakthrough 2013-14 season. He has won three medals at World Cup events since November, including his first career gold in Lake Placid, N.Y.
"There was some disappointment a few years ago. It's a big turnaround," he said.
A press release from the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation said Antoine may be one of only a handful of athletes capable of challenging Latvian Martins Dukurs for gold.
"I've built a lot of confidence over the past few years and particularly this year," Antoine said. "That was something I worked really hard to have coming into this season. Just kind of keeping that same approach, keeping it simple, and approaching it one step at a time and as long as I'm doing what I need to be doing, the results will be there."
Joining Antoine on the U.S. Olympic team is John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.), Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.), Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) and Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colorado).
"The quality of this skeleton Olympic Team is amazing," said U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele. "Anything can happen at the Games, so we take nothing for granted. But if these five athletes give their best, any one of them is capable of bringing home a medal."
The men's Olympic skeleton events will take place Feb. 14-15 in Sochi, Russia.