When the Olympic Games opened in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February, a CU Engineering graduate was among the U.S. athletes, competing against the best of the best.
A month after receiving her graduate degree in Information and Communication Technology for Development from the ATLAS Institute, Joanne Reid was named to the 2018 Olympic team for biathlon, a sport that combines target shooting with Nordic skiing. Reid also holds her bachelor’s degree in applied math from CU Boulder.
Reid isn’t the first winter Olympian in her family. Her mother, Beth (Heiden) Reid, and her uncle, Eric Heiden, both competed in speed skating in Lake Placid in 1980. Beth came away with a bronze, and Eric won five gold medals, which remains the most gold medals won by any winter Olympian at a single edition of the games.
Competing on the CU Buffs ski team 2010–13, Joanne distinguished herself in Nordic skiing as the 2013 NCAA freestyle champion. She didn’t take up biathlon until 2015, inspired when her grandfather passed down his rifle to her.
Coming from such an athletic family, it’s fitting that she focused the culminating project of her graduate work on sport—specifically, on the challenges faced by today’s female athletes who compete and train in an ever-present media and social media spotlight.
“As athletes, we are so dependent on the media to survive. And we’re also affected by it, because we are females in a very male-dominated sport,” Reid said. “This project is very personal to me.”
Reid’s top finishes in the games included 15th in mixed relay and 13th in relay.