The name of his game
On the results sheet, Andrew Weibrecht's name will appear just so. But from the time he enters the start house until he crosses the finish line, he is referred to by many nicknames. Former U.S. Ski Team member Wade Bishop started out by calling him "Warbrecht," and another teammate changed that to "War Horse." After he got a haircut that "made him look like the singer from A Flock of Seagulls," it evolved into "Warburg." He also has been called "Wild Man." At the start of a race, he might hear any - or all - of the above monikers from his coach or the team motivator, although the standard "Andrew" has been used as well.
Predator one year ...
One event, the Birds of Prey downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., has defined the inconsistent nature of Weibrecht's career to this point. Skiing in only his seventh-career World Cup race in 2007, Weibrecht pulled off one of the most exhilarating Alpine runs in recent memory, speeding though the treacherous Golden Eagle and Abyss sections that had wreaked havoc for many others in a driving blizzard. His 10th-place finish, only 0.54 seconds behind the winner, Michael Walchhofer of Austria, remains his best World Cup result.
... Prey the next
Call it a curse. In 2008, Weibrecht appeared on the main promotional poster before the event but could not live up to the hype. He caught an edge midway through the race, got lifted airborne and did a spectacular flip before landing in the safety netting. He got up, shook off a mild concussion and a banged-up arm, and raced in the super-G the following day.
Inspired by another skier's perseverance
As one of the youngest members of the U.S. Ski Team, Weibrecht has picked up plenty of advice from his teammates. However, he gains greatest inspiration from the story of Brian Freeman, a promising skier who broke his leg and had to put his career on hold for more than two years. Freeman's dedication to recover, rehabilitation and attempt to re-join the ski racing world has emboldened Weibrecht, who, fortunately, has not had to deal with a similar injury himself.
Sibling standards of excellence
Weibrecht grew up in Lake Placid, the fourth child of five. All three boys - older brother Jonathan, younger brother Ethan and Andrew - got into ski racing, while his sisters Kim and Katherine chose the legal and medical fields as their venues of expertise. Andrew is taking classes at Dartmouth College, the alma mater of teammate Scott Macartney, and plans on eventually earning his Bachelor of Arts in earth science.
Weibrecht may be aspiring to become a scientist after his skiing career is over, but he is truly un-scientific when it comes to superstitions. He always puts his right ski boot on first, a tradition started in his youth because his left boot hurt his foot more. Like baseball players in the batter's box, he touches his helmet and goggles two dozen times before leaving the start house. Finally, he always touches the outside of an airplane before getting on a flight.
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.