Andrew Weibrecht adjusts to family life in lead-up to Pyeongchang

Olympian Andrew Weibrecht competes in the FIS World Cup Super-G, on Jan. 18 in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Associated Press photo — Mario Buehner, GEPA pictures)

LAKE PLACID — After struggling in World Cup races this season, homegrown skier Andrew Weibrecht qualified for the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which will be his third trip to the world’s largest athletic stage.

Weibrecht, who turns 32 on Feb. 10, said that his two past Olympic appearances — which resulted in silver and bronze medals — came after one good World Cup season and one bad, so this year’s lackluster results aren’t too worrying.

“I’ve had one good Olympics after a lackluster season and one after a good World Cup season so it doesn’t seem to necessarily be an indicator one way or another,” he wrote in an email to the Enterprise. “It has been a struggle in the World Cup this year, however I think that there is a good opportunity right now to train and build on the positive things in my skiing, so we’ll see.”

Weibrecht — nicknamed the Warhorse — has been battling a nagging left knee, but he told the Associated Press he will focus on the super-G and take downhill racing off.

“My knee is feeling okay,” he said. “My plan to manage it is mostly making sure that I’m keeping the training volume at reasonable place, with an emphasis on quality over quantity.”

Andrew Weibrecht shows off his silver and bronze medals at the Olympic Museum in Lake Placid during a public meet-and-greet in July 2017. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

The last time he stood on a World Cup podium was in 2016, but he did earn a few top-20 and top-30 finishes in races where the field often stretched well into 50 or 60 competitors. His decision to pass on the downhill in Pyeongchang could be based on 51st and 54th-place finishes in that discipline this season.

Weibrecht at this point is a seasoned Olympic veteran and said he would simply try his best at the games.

“I would say pretty much the same as always, which is go and try to perform to the best of my ability,” he said. “Beyond that, I can’t control the day and how well my fellow competitors ski.”

Weibrecht has a wife and 2-year-old daughter in Lake Placid, and over the past year or so, the U.S. alpine ski team has seen a baby boom. While Weibrecht’s spouse and child won’t attend the Olympics, he said it’s nice to have the kids on the World Cup tour.

“It has been pretty fun, I was the only one last year and then there was a serious baby boom,” he said. “I think that the fabric of the team is changing a little bit and everybody is moving forward with their lives, getting married, having kids, etc. I think that it’s very cool in general that everybody is figuring out how to keep racing without sacrificing the ability to have a full life outside the sport.

“I always have more fun when there is a distraction around. I think that if you get too caught up in one thing, you’ll go crazy.”

But he also said that subjecting his wife and daughter to a flight halfway around the world just wasn’t in the cards this year.

“My mom is going to come for the events but that’s it,” he said. “We are staying near the speed venue, which is a ways out of town so I wouldn’t really have an opportunity to spend much time with family either way.

“Plus, I wouldn’t want to put my wife through a fifteen-hour plane trip with our two year old.”

In light of Russia being banned as a country from the Olympics for a long-running doping program, Weibrecht said he thinks anyone caught using performance-enhancing drugs should face stiffer penalties.

“I think that there should be stricter penalties towards people that dope,” he said. “It is a shame to participate in any sport living with the knowledge that you are not working from a level playing field and I believe that any NGB [National Governing Body], country or athlete that takes part should be severely punished athletically and legally, if possible.”


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