Andrew Weibrecht followed his second Olympic medal, a silver in the Sochi super-G on Feb. 16, with a second concussion two months ago in a preseason training crash in New Zealand.
Weibrecht, also concussed in a spill last fall, visited a University of Michigan specialist for a series of tests.
“He felt really optimistic,” Weibrecht said while promoting the 2015 Vail/Beaver Creek World Championships in New York last week. “He didn’t really think that there’s any great consequence. It was good to get that from one of the top guys.”
Weibrecht’s mother told the Lake Placid (N.Y.) News last week, “It’s very scary. But you know, he’s got to go for as long as he’s comfortable.”
Weibrecht, 28, is all clear for the World Cup season, which for him begins with the first speed races in Lake Louise, Canada, on Thanksgiving weekend.
The Lake Placid native hopes for better fortune coming out of Sochi than he experienced after winning his Vancouver Olympic super-G bronze in 2010. Between Vancouver and Sochi, Weibrecht blew out both shoulders, tore both ankles and failed to find a healthy rhythm on tour.
His best finish in more than 40 World Cup starts from 2010 to 2014 was 10th. Weibrecht was demoted from the U.S. Ski Team’s “A team” to the “B team,” meaning he had to fund $21,000 out of his own pocket. There was concern he might not make the 2014 Olympic team.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned in athletics so far is if you stay healthy, it’s quite a lot easier,” Weibrecht said. “I’ve seen both sides: the success side; then after that, I saw the really tough side of the sport.
“Now that I have success back, I want to maintain that.”
Weibrecht took a step by recording his best-ever World Cup result after Sochi, seventh in a super-G in Kvitfjell, Norway, on March 2.
Still, he owns a peculiar résumé.
Weibrecht, nicknamed “War Horse” for his hard-charging racing style, owns as many Olympic medals as Lindsey Vonn. Yet he’s posted just three top-10 finishes in World Cup and World Championship races, with that seventh-place best.
“If I was to end my career now, I accomplished a lot, but I didn’t accomplish everything that I wanted to,” he said.
As Weibrecht faced 2015 World Championships banners in a lower Manhattan showroom, he pointed to another goal this year — sustained success on the World Cup tour that surrounds Worlds.
“That kind of dictates your mental sanity week to week,” Weibrecht said, “rather than having that one good race all year.”
In the Russian mountains, Weibrecht called his Olympic super-G silver medal run “the most emotional day of ski racing” in his career. How much longer he races is largely dependent on one thing.
“How I stay physically,” Weibrecht said. “I don’t really know that I have the energy to do that cycle of injuries again.”
Claudia Pechstein eyes seventh Olympics at age 45