The Kolarik family is practically bursting with athletic talent.
Chad Kolarik is set to make his Olympic debut with Team USA hockey at PyeongChang, but he’s not the only sports star at him – his wife, Kylee was a dominant gymnast during her college career at Michigan and the pair are still big-time supporters of the Wolverines’ athletic program.
Here’s everything you need to know about Kolarik, her life in sports and what’s next for her:
1. Kolarik Was the 2011 NCAA All-Around Women’s Gymnastics Champion
Hockey isn’t the only sport in the Kolarik household.
The New Lenox, Illinois native was a force to be reckoned with throughout her gymnastics career, competing for four years at the University of Michigan. And let’s just say she racked up the accolades.
By the end of her career Kolarik was a Honda Sports Awards Finalist (2011), the NCAA national title in the all-around (2011), the NCAA runner-up for the national title on floor (2011), a nine-time NCAA All-American, a seven-time NCAA All-America first-team and the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year (2011).
And that’s not even everything.
Kolarik changed the game at Michigan and while her competition days are behind her, she’s still quick to admit that she misses the particular rush of stepping onto the mat. She told Flo Gymnastics: “I miss the Michigan sway and the Michigan gear we got each year. We were treated so well and taken care of, I miss that. I also miss running out of the tunnel in front our fans at Crisler Center. I also miss the feeling you would get when you stuck a landing and ran over to your teammates to celebrate, that it is a feeling I will never have again.”
2. Her Two Older Sisters & Brother-in-Law Are Also Former Gymnasts
Talent runs in this family.
Kolarik comes from a long line of gymnastics talent, including her two older sisters, Danyelle and Marijka who both competed at the University of Illinois. Marjika was named second-team All-Big Ten as a senior in 2009 and set the Illinois vault record with a 9.950 on Jan. 31 at Ohio State, breaking the old mark of 9.925 that she already shared. She was also voted the team’s Most Valuable and Most Outstanding Gymnast in her final season with the team.
Marjika’s husband, Brian Liscovitz, was also a standout at Illinois, and currently works as the district sales manager for Magid in the Chicago area.
Danyelle, meanwhile, competed from 2004 to 2007.
3. Kolarik Works as a Gymnastics Choreographer & Instructor
Kolarik has kept busy since her competitive career wrapped up, but she hasn’t quite been able to walk away from the sport entirely. According to her Linkedin profile, Kolarik currently works as a gymnastics choreographer and instructor for the United Gymnastics Academy, coaching ” team level girls on all events. Choreograph floor and beam routines before season begins.”
Of course, it isn’t always to settle into a consistent schedule while on the hockey road, but Kolarik is always on the lookout for the next chance, writing:
As I travel often due to my husband’s career, I am seeking a position that will allow me to utilize my experience in a competitive environment but able to do so remotely. I live in the suburbs of Chicago May through September. I am a goal oriented and results driven individual with a high energy to succeed.
Kolarik also boasts some on-air experience. She spent a season as a color commentator with the Big Ten Network from 2012-13, telling Flo Gymnastics: “This opportunity came to me very randomly when the producer called me about broadcasting for the Big Ten Network. I said yes of course right away, and then started to get nervous about being on camera. I think I got better with each meet that I did. I loved doing it, it was a lot of fun! This was the perfect transition for me out of gymnastics.”
4. She & Chad Got Engaged While They Were Both Student-Athletes at Michigan
Kolarik was always very good at multi-tasking.
She and Chad got engaged in December 2010, while they were both still student-athletes at the University of Michigan and the then-senior in college spent her final season on campus competing and planning a wedding. Chad talked about Kylee’s ability to keep things scheduled, telling The Michigan Daily in February 2011:
Ky is pretty special in that she can manage all three things — gymnastics, school and the wedding plans. Gymnastics to her is truly fun and she enjoys it so much (that) it honestly takes care of itself. She will be the first to tell you that the wedding planning is the most stressful.
Kolarik – then Botterman – didn’t miss a beat her senior season at Michigan. in fact, she recorded her best performances in her final year with the Wolverines and, at one point, was named Big Ten Gymanst of the Week in four of five straight weeks.
It all paid off in the end. Kolarik was nothing short of dominant her senior season and the wedding went off without a hitch, as she and Chad tied the knot in Chicago in August, 2011.
5. Kolarik & Chad Have One Son, Christian
He’ll probably be an athlete.
The Kolariks welcomed their first son, Christian, in 2014 and it’s safe to assume the family was already planning for athletic career – whether he’ll be on the balance beam or simply just trying to balance on skates.
Although it isn’t always easy to parent when Chad’s career has taken him all over the world, the pair do their best to make it work. Kolarik talked about Christian’s early days, telling Flo Gymnastics:
It is so great being a mom! I love him so much…It is hard at times with my husband being in Russia right now, but excited to get back together as a family soon. It is challenging at times, but very rewarding a lot of fun. I am so thankful to be able to FaceTime with my husband a lot so he can see Christian and share some memories together. He is starting to roll over and talking a lot so that has been fun.
Now, at almost four years old, Christian will, undoubtedly, be the biggest USA Hockey fan around, ready to cheer on Chad as he looks to get America back on the podium in PyeongChang.