You might not find Katie Uhlaender in the newest Topps Winter Olympics card set that officially arrives in stores beginning today, but there’s still plenty to collect for those who remember her story from last time around and are looking forward to a new chapter soon.
In the 2014 Winter Games, she came up four-hundredths of a second short of winning a bronze medal in skeleton, but that story isn’t yet final even all these years later. Why? Russia’s Elena Nikitina was stripped of her bronze after doping violations late last year — and it’s quite possible that an adjustment of results will be done soon. Plus, just last week Uhlaender was named to this year’s squad, making her the first four-time Olympian in her sport.
But when it comes to Uhlaender cardboard, it’s actually not all about her, and there’s a pretty good chance we’ll soon see a 1969 Topps baseball card of her father, Ted Uhlaender, on her sled and his 1972 Cincinnati Reds National League Championship ring as part of a necklace she wears while competing around her neck during the action in South Korea.
He died in 2009 and he’s been part of her Olympic motivation ever since as she’s fought back from injuries to continue chasing gold.
“Before he died, I would call him every day of a race, even if for just five minutes. He gave me this undeniable sense of purpose,” she told Cleveland.com in 2014. “That’s what gave me the drive of a warrior. When I lost him, I had no purpose, and a ton of passion and nowhere to put it. To get it back was such a long road.”
And now she’s back at it again.
Since she’s not in the new Topps set, her cardboard is limited to about a dozen cards in the 2014 Topps U.S. Winter Olympic Team & Hopefuls release — a standard card, an autographed card, their parallels and a manufactured patch card. The autograph parallels include Bronze (/50), Silver (/30), Gold (/15) and a 1/1 Gold Rainbow card. The basic cards also have those parallels but aren’t numbered.
Her dad was a player in the big-leagues from 1965 to 1972, hitting .263 for the Twins, Indians and Reds. The National League championship ring was all he got that season, though he went 1-for-4, a double, in the World Series, which was a loss to the Oakland A’s. After his playing days, he was a minor-league coach and scout and later a first-base coach for the Indians.
He’s got about 40 baseball cards with his Rookie Card in the 1966 Topps set and appearances in the annual set every year until 1972. He also appears in some O-Pee-Chee sets as well as some oddball and various team-issue sets as well as on minor-league cards from his time as a coach. You can see all of his Topps cards in a gallery below.
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