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Dartmouth’s proud Olympic tradition continues at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February, with nine competitors from the College already named to Olympic teams and at least five more who are still in the running for a chance to vie for gold.
Dartmouth student-athletes and alumni have participated in every Winter Olympics since the modern games began in Chamonix, France, in 1924. Dartmouth has sent more representatives to the winter games than any other Ivy League school. As of the 2014 Sochi Games, 132 Dartmouth-affiliated athletes had competed in the Winter Olympics, winning a total of 13 gold, nine silver, and six bronze medals. That is more medals than many countries have accrued in the Winter Games, including Australia, Poland, and Great Britain.
“We pride ourselves on being in the forefront of skiing in the U.S. and internationally,” says Cami Thompson Graves, Dartmouth director of skiing and head coach of women’s Nordic skiing. “It is a tradition that we reinforce with each new class of athletes, and our Olympic participation shows just how far our athletes can go.”
While Dartmouth students and alumni have won medals in Alpine skiing and hockey at past winter games, Dartmouth-connected Nordic skiers have not medaled, she says. That could change this year.
“We will have a good representation of Dartmouth skiers there. I don’t like to make predictions, but I am hopeful that we see some strong results, in particular from Susan Dunklee ’08 in biathlon and Sophie Caldwell ’12 in cross-country. Sophie was third at a World Cup in Germany over the weekend,” Thomson says.
The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics run Feb. 9 through Feb. 25. The games will be broadcast on NBC, NBCSN, and across the networks of NBC Universal. The opening ceremony will be rebroadcast on NBC stations at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9. Live coverage will be streamed through NBC Universal’s networks starting at 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time Friday (8 p.m. Korean Standard Time.) NBC stations will rebroadcast portions of each day’s events during prime time.
Here’s the lineup of Dartmouth-affiliated athletes who have made Olympic teams so far:
Rosie Brennan ’11 (Photo by Ruff Patterson)
Rosie Brennan ’11 will make her Olympic debut with Team USA in cross-country skiing after placing 34th in the distance standings in the World Cup race in Val di Fiemme, Italy, this month. She has competed at the world championships in 2015 and 2017 and placed third at a World Cup relay in December 2015. Brennan studied geography at Dartmouth and says she would eventually like to pursue an advanced geography degree to work in dam removal. She volunteers with Fast and Female, a program dedicated to empowering young women through sport.
Sophie Caldwell ’12 competes in a cross-country skiing event during her time at Dartmouth. (Photo by Paul Bussi)
Sophie Caldwell ’12 raced with Team USA in Sochi in 2014, placing sixth in sprint freestyle and eighth in the team sprint classic. Caldwell has had an outstanding Olympic qualifying season, most recently finishing second in the World Cup team sprint event in Dresden, Germany, Jan. 13 and 14 to secure the bronze for Team USA in the team event. The five-time All-American Dartmouth skier comes from a long line of champions. Her grandfather John Caldwell competed in Nordic combined and cross-country skiing at the 1952 Olympic Winter Games and was inducted into the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1983. Her uncle, Tim Caldwell, was a four-time Olympian in cross-country skiing.
Emily Dreissigacker ’11, who earned a spot on the 2018 USA biathlon team, was a standout athlete on the Dartmouth women’s rowing team, where she was named All-American in 2009 and 2010. She took up biathlon in 2015, and competed with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project team. The Craftsbury, Vt., center for rowers, skiers, and biathletes was founded by her parents, Judy Geer ’75 and Richard “Dick” Dreissigacker, both Olympic rowers. Emily Dreissigacker earned fifth place at the International Biathlon Union World Cup race in Germany earlier this month, qualifying her for the 2018 Olympics.
Susan Dunklee ’08 (Photo by Gil Talbot)
Susan Dunklee ’08 placed seventh in biathlon relay and eighth in mixed relay with Team USA in the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and has finished in the top 12 of every biathlon World Championship dating back to her rookie season in 2012. She says she has skied since she was 2 years old, but only took up shooting at age 22, when she moved to Lake Placid, N.Y., with the U.S. biathlon’s development program. She has competed with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project team since 2012. At Dartmouth she earned All-Ivy and All-Region honors with women’s cross-country track team and First Team All-East with the women’s Nordic ski team.
Tommy Ford ’12 qualified for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team in giant slalom on Jan. 6, the culmination of a five-year comeback. He had suffered what many considered a career-ending fracture of his right femur while free skiing in France in January 2013. Ford’s last Olympics were in 2010, when he placed 26th in the giant slalom for Team USA in Vancouver. Ford qualified for Team USA last week with a 10th-place finish in giant slalom at the World Cup in Beaver Creek, Colo., his best career finish in a World Cup. At Dartmouth, Ford was on the ski team; he was competing internationally and qualified for the Vancouver Olympics while still an undergraduate.
Staci Mannella ’18 was the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic Alpine Skiing Team at the Sochi 2014 Games. Now she is one of the top visually impaired skiers in the world. Mannella splits her time on the snow and in the saddle as a member of the Dartmouth equestrian team. She is in her second season skiing behind guide Sadie DeBaun, who has been accompanying her down the slopes since 2014. The partnership has proved successful as Mannella won bronze in super combined in her world championship debut in 2017. The Paralympics Winter Games run March 9 through 18 in Pyeongchang.
Ida Sargent ’11 will be competing at her second Olympics in cross-country skiing after a 13th-place finish in a World Cup sprint race in Dresden, Germany, on Jan. 13, the final Olympic qualifying event of the season. At the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Sargent finished 19th in the sprint freestyle and 34th in the 10-kilometer classic, and last year landed on her first individual World Cup top finish with a third-place sprint finish at the Olympic test event. At Dartmouth, Sargent was the Nordic team rookie of the year and an NCAA Academic All-American. The Orleans, Vt., native majored in biology and psychology, and says she hopes to become a physical therapist after her run as a competitive skier.
Dartmouth women’s hockey coach Laura Schuler (Photo by Gil Talbot)
Laura Schuler, Dartmouth women’s hockey coach, has taken a leave of absence to coach Canada’s women’s hockey team as they bid for their fifth consecutive gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Named the head coach of the Dartmouth women’s hockey team in the summer of 2016, Schuler’s appointment as the head of Team Canada for the upcoming Winter Games makes her the first former national team player to serve in the role as head coach at the Olympic Games.
Laura Stacey ’16 (Photo by John Risley)
Laura Stacey ’16, named to Team Canada’s women’s hockey team, was a Dartmouth women’s hockey standout from her first year, becoming team captain in her senior year and earning a long list of honors along the way, including All Ivy First Team and Academic All Ivy. In her four years with the Big Green, she played in 108 games, scoring 31 goals and tacking on 56 assists for a total of 87 points. Despite breaking both wrists in her last game for Dartmouth, she avoided surgery and was the third overall draft chose for Brampton in the Canadian Woman’s Hockey League the following year; she was named rookie of the year at the end of that season. Stacey graduated in 2016 with a major in economics and says she aims to earn her MBA after her hockey career with the idea of getting into the business side of sports.
The final list of athletes who qualified for the Winter Games must be submitted by all national teams to the International Olympic Committee by Jan. 21. Some of the Dartmouth-affiliated athletes still in the running to earn a spot at the 2018 Olympics include:
Erika Flowers Newell ’12, who is still competing to make the USA cross-country team. The geography major was a member of the Dartmouth Nordic ski team.
Nolan Kasper ’14 finished 13th in the men’s slalom in Sochi in 2014, and finished 24th in the men’s slalom in Vancouver in 2010, but he is still racing for a place on the USA men’s alpine team after coming back from two major knee surgeries. At Dartmouth, Kasper majored in economics and was a member of the ski team.
Julia Kern ’19 is still in the running to make the USA Nordic team. At Dartmouth, Kern majors in economics and has skied for the U.S. cross-country development team.
Julia Krass ’19 competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, finishing 11th in slopestyle, an alpine competition that includes obstacles and jumps. The Hanover, N.H., resident, who says she learned to ski at Whaleback Mountain in Enfield, N.H., has not yet qualified for this year’s team.
Andrew Weibrecht ’09 earned a silver medal in the super-G with Team USA in Sochi 2014, and a bronze in the super-G at the 2010 games in Vancouver. He has struggled in World Cup competitions, which means he is still shy of qualifying for the 2018 alpine team. Weibrecht was inducted into the Wearers of the Green in 2014. He first became a member of the U.S Men’s National Team in 2003.
Bill Platt can be reached at William.c.platt@Dartmouth.edu.