Andrew Weibrecht, unlikely Olympic medalist, retires from Alpine skiing

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Andrew Weibrecht, a speed racer who came from nowhere to earn an Olympic medal in 2010 and 2014, has retired from Alpine skiing, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

“There comes a time in every young man’s life that he decides it’s time to retire and move on,” was posted on Weibrecht’s social media Tuesday.

Weibrecht, a 32-year-old who grew up in Lake Placid where his parents own Mirror Lake Inn, earned back-to-back Olympic super-G medals — bronze in Vancouver and silver in Sochi.

Before both of those podiums, his best result on the World Cup tour was 10th.

Weibrecht was nine days on from his 24th birthday when he joined World Cup overall title-winners Aksel Lund Svindal and Bode Miller on the super-G medal stand in Vancouver (and then Miller, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso on a Sports Illustrated cover). Weibrecht skied third, then watched as skiers far more accomplished than he could not knock him off the podium.

“It was definitely, by far, the most exciting ski race I’ve ever watched,” Weibrecht joked that day. “If you don’t watch ski racing, you might miss my name.”

Weibrecht wasn’t able to turn that bronze medal into World Cup success, but he came back from being demoted to the U.S.’ B team, paying some of his own travel expenses, to make a second Olympics in Sochi after considering retirement.

In the 2014 Olympic super-G, the man nicknamed War Horse charged from bib No. 29, several spots after the medal favorites. He skied faster than everyone save Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud.

“This is probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I’ve ever had,” Weibrecht said in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, referencing not only the demotion but also injuries, including a concussion and ankle and shoulder surgeries, he suffered between Olympics. “I really needed a result to remind me that I’m capable of this and that I belong here.”

Weibrecht finally started bagging World Cup results after Sochi. In 2015, he finished fifth on four occasions and made his first podiums in the 2015-16 season.

Then the struggles came along with knee problems. His best World Cup finish the last two seasons was 12th. Weibrecht ended his Olympic career by skiing out of the PyeongChang super-G.

“Just skied too straight off a jump,” Weibrecht said in South Korea, according to the Washington Post. “That’s ski racing.”

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