February 19, 2014

SUNY Empire State College’s Ashley Caldwell Finishes 10th at Sochi

Ashley Caldwell Photo/U.S. Freestyle Ski Team

Ashley Caldwell '14, earned her B.S. online. Photo/U.S. Ski Team

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Feb. 19, 2013) Ashley Caldwell, a 20-year-old SUNY Empire State College student, finished 10th in freestyle skiing, women’s aerials, at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

“I was really happy that I was able to land a full, full, full (three full backflips with three full twists) in the first heat and score so well for our nation,” said Caldwell. “While I was not able to complete my trick in the final 12 and advance, I felt the love of our nation from the fans here in Sochi. The digital messages I saw after competition on Twitter were great and I was able to be with my mom and dad here at the Olympics.

"This will not be the last that you see of me in the Winter Olympic mix, because I am going to dedicate myself to getting to the 2018 games in PyeongChang, South Korea. My goal is to reach the podium and listen to the Star Spangled Banner. In the meantime, I will look to taking some time off and getting ready for the next FIS World Cup season in 2014-15.”

“Ashley’s top-ten performance at the Olympic Games is a remarkable achievement,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “Empire State College takes great satisfaction in providing students like Ashley, who have busy schedules and substantial extracurricular commitments, with access to Empire State College faculty, academic support and flexibility in where, how and when to study, so they can complete their degrees and succeed in any path they choose. We are so proud of Ashley Caldwell and look forward to again being amazed by her accomplishments.”

Caldwell earned a spot on this year’s U.S. Olympic Team and a silver medal at the 2013 World Cup competition after sustaining serious injuries in 2012 and 2011 to her right and left ACLs (anterior cruciate ligaments). At the 2010 Winter Olympics, her first, she also finished 10th.

Caldwell completed her requirements for the B.S. in business, management and economics, with a concentration in finance, online through the college’s Center for Distance Learning. The SUNY Board of Trustees will confer her degree at graduation this spring.

“With online learning at Empire State College, I could do my homework on the plane to Russia, on the way to the gym, in between training sessions, late at night, early in the morning and on days off,” said Caldwell. “Online learning at Empire State College allowed me the flexibility I needed so that I could still pursue aerials and also pursue my education, which has always been high on my priority list.”

The nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, Empire State College educates many of its students online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

About Ashley Caldwell

A native of Ashburn, Va., Caldwell was a competitive gymnast for 11 years before she watched Olympic skiing on TV and thought it would be “totally awesome” to try aerials. After only three years of training, 16-year-old Caldwell made the U.S. Ski Team at a selection event in the beginning of the 2010 season and then went on to an outstanding rookie season.

More information about Caldwell is available on the U.S. Ski Team website at www.teamusa.org/Athletes/CA/Ashley-Caldwell.

The college community will continue to follow Caldwell on Twitter, @AshleySkis; like her on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ashley-Caldwell/116161171740416; and watch her as she competes around the world.

About SUNY Empire State College

In addition to awarding college credit for college-level learning gained through work and life experience, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

The college serves 20,000 students worldwide at nine international sites, online and at more than 35 locations in the state of New York.

Its 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.