Two of Lake Tahoe’s finest are heading to the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, but not to compete. Terrence Orr, MD, and Jonathan Finnoff, DO, both physicians with Tahoe Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, will volunteer as team physicians at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Dr. Orr is a seasoned veteran of Olympic athlete medical care. His role at the 2014 Olympics will be head team physician for the men’s US Alpine Ski Team — a position he has held with the team since 1999. “The Olympics has always been my favorite sporting event, and it has been great to be able to be a part of the Games,” Dr. Orr shares.
During the men’s US Alpine Ski Team events, which include slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill, Olympians may reach speeds as high as 95 miles per hour, depending on conditions, equipment, and body composition. Dr. Orr will be at the course in Sochi whenever the US Ski Team is training or competing. If someone is injured, he travels down with the athlete to evaluate and assist in treatment.
Dr. Orr voluntarily provides his medical expertise to the men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team at training camps, work championships, and World Cup races and finals. “When the physicians who have been there by the athlete’s side during their competitions are able to follow them through to the Olympics, it gives the athlete a sense of ease, because we know them, their medical background, as well as the sport.”
Dr. Orr has dedicated most of his orthopedic career to treating the world’s top winter athletes, including US Olympians Daron Rahlves and Marco Sullivan. Rahlves, a three-time Olympian in alpine racing, knows the value of having your team physician with you on the road.
“When you travel someplace new, it’s not only imperative to have someone experienced who really knows the team, but someone you trust and has been around for a while,” Rahlves says.
Dr. Finnoff will also be making the nearly 7,000-mile trek to Sochi this winter to support the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team. Nordic Combined consists of ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Formerly a physician with the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Finnoff has been working with the US Ski Team since 2003. He first became involved with the team in Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, where he was the director of the Athlete’s Medical Clinic.
“I am honored to be among the medical team supporting such a talented group of athletes,” Dr. Finnoff says. “It has been great to see all of their hard work pay off. Over the past eight years, they have won World Cup races, world championship titles, and achieved Olympic glory.
Keeping the athletes healthy is one of the keys to their success. That’s where the medical team comes in to play. Every time they stand on the podium, I feel pride in the knowledge that I helped them achieve their goals.”
While sports-related injuries are certainly part of what Dr. Orr and Dr. Finnoff will be treating at the Olympics, the medical concerns for athletes covers a broad range of medical issues, including infections and asthma. “It is important to realize that what would be a minor cold or flare up of asthma for a normal person becomes a serious medical issue for someone who is competing at a world-class level against equally talented athletes. Keeping the athletes healthy is critical for them to perform at their best,” Dr. Finnoff adds.
“When you travel someplace new, it’s not only imperative to have someone experienced who really knows the team, but someone you trust and has been around for a while.”