Hall of Fame Class of 2018
The very definition of a “big-event” skier, Weibrecht fought through injuries to win two Olympic medals—and join a very exclusive club.
When Andrew Weibrecht was healthy and on his game, his skiing was the embodiment of speed, control and astounding edge angles, like a tank with power steering. Bode Miller knew all that, so in the leader’s corral at the finish area of the 2014 Sochi Olympics super G, after seeing Weibrecht attack the first three gates on the big screen TV, he turned to race leader Kjetil Jansrud of Norway and whispered, “He’s going to beat us.”
Miller was half-right: The racer they called “the Warhorse” would split the podium, knocking Miller down to the bronze, collecting his second Olympic medal, and solidifying himself as one of the best “big-event” skiers the sport has ever known.
Growing up in Lake Placid in the shadow of Whiteface, site of the 1980 Olympics, Weibrecht started skiing at age 2 and racing at 5. His father, Ed, had moved to the Adirondacks so he could ski every day, and his mom, Lisa, had been an international competitor in luge. The family ran the award-winning Mirror Lake Inn, a historic, signature property in the East. As a member of the New York Ski Education Foundation team, mentored by coaches Jimbo Johnson and David Smith, Weibrecht was a prodigy with a huge upside, winning a medal in the 2006 World Junior Championships and being named to the U.S. Ski Team at age 16.
He announced himself to the world in a still legendary, on-the-brink run at the Beaver Creek Birds of Prey downhill in 2007, when he stormed from the back of the pack with bib No. 53 through a blinding snowstorm to finish in the top 10. Built like a fireplug at 5-foot-7 and 190 lbs., Weibrecht’s next big breakthrough came in 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics, where he came out of nowhere to grab the super G bronze, finishing .03 behind the silver medalist Miller and .31 behind the winner, Aksel Lund Svindal. He would appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated with Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Miller, and the future looked bright.
Then the injuries began to mount. Weibrecht hurt his shoulder, then dislocated it at the beginning of the next season and missed the 2011 campaign. He had two ankle surgeries, but still managed to rise up for that Sochi silver, placing him in the small hierarchy of U.S. male skiers with at least two or more Olympic medals, an elite club that includes only Miller, Ted Ligety, Tommy Moe and Phil Mahre.
The 2015-16 season would offer an unusual prospect for Weibrecht, the ability to complete a full season on the World Cup and to compete for the overall super G title. It also provided another career benchmark, standing on the podium at the shrine of speed skiing in Kitzbühel, Austria, where Weibrecht finished second in the super G. He would end the season ranked eighth in the super G standings, having also finished third at Beaver Creek, and 22nd in the downhill standings. The other benchmark was bittersweet, the birth of his first daughter, which he missed because he was racing in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which would host the 2018 Olympics.
By 2018, the final season of his injury-plagued 16-year career with the team, Weibrecht’s body was so hobbled that he could barely walk. Unable to handle the big jumps and harsh landings of downhill, he resigned himself to limping from one World Cup super G event to the next. “The stress of being on the road and away from my family was no longer worth it. I will always love the experience, but I no longer love the lifestyle,” Weibrecht says of retirement.
You don’t survive the ups and downs of a lengthy speed career without a sense of humor and perspective, along with tenacity and commitment, and Weibrecht had all of that in spades.
“If I could do it again,” he deadpans, “I’d get hurt less.”
Besides the two Olympic medals, Weibrecht’s resume would include 11 top 10 World Cup finishes, two podiums, and participation on three Olympic and World Championship teams. “I raced in an era of arguably some of the best guys who ever speed raced on the World Cup. I have no regrets,” he says.
Weibrecht and his wife, Denja, now have two daughters. He’s returned to Dartmouth to earn his degree in earth sciences, and is helping coach the Dartmouth ski team. He and Denja are also pitching in to manage the Mirror Lake Inn with his parents, and this past winter the guests enjoyed a major new amenity: Skiing with the two-time Olympic medalist at Whiteface.
2001: Wins the GS at Topolino and slalom and GS at the Whistler Cup, the top international races for the youngest junior competitors.
2006: Wins World Junior Championships super G bronze.
2007: Storms from bib No. 53 to finish 10th in the Birds of Prey downhill.
2010: Wins bronze medal in super G at 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
2014: Wins silver medal in super G at 2014 Sochi Olympics.
2015: Finishes fifth in World Cup super Gs at Kitzbühel and Kvitfjell, and ninth in the World Championships downhill at Beaver Creek.
2016: In World Cup super G, finishes third in Beaver Creek, second in Kitzbühel, fifth in Val Gardena and Kvitfjell, and winds up eighth in the season-long super G standings.
2017: Inducted into Lake Placid Hall of Fame.
2018: Retires from the U.S. Ski Team.
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