Dartmouth Olympians head to Torino, Italy for Games

by Ben Zimmerman | 2/10/06 6:00am

Dartmouth boasts 14 of the Ivy League's 29 Winter Olympic participants, with Big Green athletes slated to contend in women's ice hockey, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and the biathlon.

On the hockey side, seniors Gillian Apps, Cherie Piper and Katie Weatherston will throw their collective muscle behind Team Canada, while the United States will be represented by Kristin King '02 and Sarah Parsons '09. Though all five hockey players may call Hanover home, the Americans and Canadians won't interact much once they move into the Village. The U.S.-Canada rivalry is one of the most intense in the world. Every major women's hockey tournament has ended with both teams playing for the gold medal, and Torino doesn't look to end any differently.

"The U.S. and Canada team should compete for the gold medal," Dartmouth women's hockey head coach Mark Hudak said. "For either team to get less than silver would be a major upset."

The sixth Dartmouth women's hockey Olympian, Rachel Rochat '95, will take the ice for Switzerland. Rochat ranks 14th on the Big Green's all-time scoring list with 127 points and, as team captain during the 1994-95 campaign, led Dartmouth to a 16-8-4 mark.

The Swiss are not expected to medal, but win or lose, Rochat is just happy to take part in the competition.

"I have thought about it for the year and a half since we qualified, and I can't believe it's finally here," Rochat said. "It has been a lot of fun so far and quite an experience. I am just trying to soak it all in and stay focused on hockey at the same time."

The eight remaining Big Green Winter Olympians prefer skis to skates. In men's alpine skiing, Scott Macartney '01 will race under the Stars and Stripes, while Patrick Biggs '06 and Bradley Wall '02 will represent Canada and Australia, respectively.

Americans Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves have been designated the chief threats to Austria's traditional alpine dominance, but Macartney has the potential to shake things up as well. As recently as Jan. 29, the Washington state native recorded the best World Cup result of his career, finishing second in the super G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. With the experience of the 2002 Salt Lake City Games behind him, Macartney is very dangerous.

Women's alpine skiers Libby Ludlow '06 and Kaylin Richardson '09 will compete for the United States. Ludlow picked up her first World Cup points over three years ago but missed a sizeable portion of last season after a downhill crash prompted arthroscopic knee surgery.

Richardson, also known as the face on the Nature Valley Granola Bars box, deferred admission to Dartmouth to focus on her skiing career. This is her third season with the U.S. Ski Team.

Carl Swenson '92 and Sarah Konrad '89 will both offer their services and wisdom to the U.S. cross country ski squad. Swenson returns to the Olympics after leading Team USA's 4x10 km relay team to fifth place in 2002. A coffee connoisseur and elite mountain biker, the 35-year-old, three-time Olympian plans to retire from international competition following the 2006 Games to attend law school.

Konrad, the oldest member of the U.S. Olympic team at age 39, competes using the unorthodox "skating" technique, a series of movements resembling those made by ice- or roller-skaters. Konrad will also compete in the biathlon, making her the first American woman to qualify for two events in the same Winter Olympics.

Carolyn Treacy '06 joins Konrad on the U.S. women's biathlon team. After failing to qualify for the Salt Lake City games, Treacy transferred from Colorado College to Dartmouth, forsaking any lingering dreams of Olympic glory.

"I can't say I expected to make the team," Treacy said. "My decision to go to Dartmouth was not ideal for biathlon training, so it took me out of the major running. Everyone else was going to World Cups and big training camps while I was at school."