The outstanding international track record continues for Dartmouth Nordic skiing alumni in the 2018 Olympics. Four former members of the Big Green women’s Nordic team will represent the United States in Pyeongchang along with Patrick Caldwell ’17, the 2015 NCAA champion in the 10-kilometer freestyle. Tucker Murphy ’04 will ski for Bermuda in his third Olympic appearance.
A pair of women’s Nordic alumni will make their Olympic debuts at Pyeongchang. Four-time All-American Rosie Brennan ’11 competed in the World Championships in 2015 and 2017 and won the 2015 U.S. title in the 1-kilometer freestyle and classic sprint.
“[Brennan] is a really tough competitor and just waiting for that breakthrough race because I think she’s so close,” women’s Nordic skiing head coach Cami Thompson Graves said.
Annie Hart ’14 was Brennan’s teammate as a first-year and would go on to be a five-time All-American. Hart was a discretionary selection to the team after late negotiations with the International Olympic Committee allowed Team USA to add more Nordic skiers.
Two-time Olympian Ida Sargent ’11 had a tough beginning to her 2018 Olympic season. Sargent broke her thumb in a training crash on Jan. 27 and had surgery to repair the damage, but she has begun the recovery process and plans to be back on snow early this week. The Orleans, Vermont native finished 19th in the freestyle sprint and 32nd in the 10-kilometer classic in Sochi in 2014. She has found consistent success in World Cup races, notably finishing third in a classic sprint in Pyeongchang last year.
Cousins Sophie Caldwell ’12 and Patrick Caldwell ’17 have Olympic cross-country skiing in their DNA. Sophie Caldwell’s father Sverre Caldwell coached the U.S. team at the Calgary Olympics in 1988 and later became head coach at Stratton Mountain School, where his daughter raced before she became a five-time All-American at Dartmouth. She enters the Olympics riding high after getting her second career World Cup win in the freestyle sprint in Seefeld, Austria on Jan. 27. Patrick Caldwell is the son of Tim Caldwell ’76, himself a four-time Olympian. Still establishing himself on the World Cup circuit, Patrick Caldwell heads to Pyeongchang after placing 49th in the 15-kilometer freestyle in Seefeld, Austria last Saturday.
Murphy attended St. Paul’s School as a rower before picking up a pair of cross-country skis. He competed in his first Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 while studying zoology at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. Murphy finished 88th in the 15-kilometer freestyle in Vancouver and 84th in the same race in Sochi four years later.
Four alpine skiers at Pyeongchang — David Chodounsky ’08, Andrew Weibrecht ’09, Tommy Ford ’12 and Nolan Kasper ’14 — are making a repeat appearance. All are Olympic veterans on a very experienced U.S. men’s alpine team, and Weibrecht is a two-time Winter Games medalist.
Chodounsky came to Dartmouth in 2004 and won the NCAA slalom championship as a first-year. He went on to captain the Big Green to the overall title in 2007, making the U.S. Ski Team after he graduated. The engineering and geology double major is now the top United States prospect in the slalom, according to men’s alpine head coach Peter Dodge, who coached the Dartmouth team throughout Chodounsky’s career. The 34 year old has never finished on a World Cup podium, but he did crack the top 15 in a World Cup race in Kitzbuehel, Austria on Jan. 21 and will look to improve on his DNF in the Sochi games.
Bend, Oregon native Ford will return to the Olympics after missing Sochi due to injury. Ford placed 26th in the giant slalom in Vancouver in 2010, but a free skiing accident in 2013 resulted in a fractured femur. After sitting out from World Cup competition from December 2013 to January 2015, Ford came roaring back with a three top-15 giant slalom finishes in the 2015-2016 season. His best finish this season was a 10th-place showing at Beaver Creek in December.
Slalom specialist Kasper has also battled his way back from injuries to secure a spot on the team. He made the 2010 Olympic teams and took his first World Cup podium the following year. Kasper was injured in the 2013 season but recovered in time for the 2014 Games, finishing as the top American skier in the slalom. He underwent knee surgery again in 2015 and finally returned to World Cup action in January in Kitzbuehel. Kasper said he has remained grounded throughout his time on the world stage.
“I’ve realized that the mental aspect of the sport is really important,” he said. “As I’ve bumped up levels, I’ve stayed aware that skiing is skiing regardless of whether you’re at the Olympics or you’re training or you’re racing a small race back east.”
Weibrecht is perhaps Dartmouth’s best medal hope. Nicknamed “Warhorse” for his perseverance through injuries and ability to perform in critical moments, Weibrecht still has not completed his Dartmouth degree, but according to Dodge, “He tells me he’s going to and he’s been at it a long time.” However he does have two Olympic medals to his name: He surprised with a bronze medal in the super-G at the Vancouver Olympics and followed it up with a silver in the super-G in Sochi. Weibrecht comes into Pyeongchang fresh off a 24th-place finish in the super-G in Kitzbuehel.
Emily Dreissigacker ’11 and Susan Dunklee ’08 will represent the Big Green and Team USA in the biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. After beginning the event on skis, athletes stop to fire their rifles. If their shots miss, a penalty may be assessed, such as a lap around a 150-meter penalty loop, before the athletes finish the remainder of the race. Of the 15 sports in the Winter Olympics, biathlon is the only event in which the United States has never medaled.
While Dreissigacker is no stranger to skiing, she focused on rowing during her high school career, pulling her way to the Junior World Championships. At Dartmouth, she rowed for four years and was named an all-American three times. Dreissigacker grew up in a household of Olympians: Both her mother, Judy Geer, and father, Dick Dreissigacker, rowed for the United States in the Olympics. Her sister Hannah Dreissigacker ’09 Th’10 competed in the 15-kilometer individual biathlon race at the 2014 Sochi Games.
When Dreissigacker cut her hand with a woodsplitter in the fall of 2014, she could not grip an ergometer for three months. To stay in shape, she turned to skiing at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center — a Vermont rowing and skiing haven which her family owns — to stay in shape. As one thing led to another, Dreissigacker made the decision to pursue biathlon full-time.
“Making the switch from rowing to biathlon was one of the best decisions I’ve made,” she wrote in an email statement. “I was at a point with my rowing where I was very unhappy but didn’t want to stop competing. I immediately fell in love with biathlon and haven’t looked back since.”
Dunklee has already had an incredible biathlon career. Like Dreissigacker, she was also raised with an Olympics presence at home, as her father Stan Dunklee was a cross-country skier in the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games. In the 2014 Sochi Games, Dunklee’s best individual performances included 11th in the mass start and 14th in the sprint. At the 2017 World Championship, she placed second in the individual race, becoming the first American woman to do so.
Two of Canada’s key contributors hail from the Big Green: head coach Laura Schuler and forward Laura Stacey ’16. After guiding Dartmouth to a 7-21 overall record in her first season as head coach, Schuler stepped away from the team during the 2017-2018 season to prepare for the Winter Games. Schuler is no stranger to the Olympics — she skated for Canada in the 1998 Games, where the Canadian team claimed silver in the first women’s ice hockey tournament in Olympic history. She is also deeply involved in Hockey Canada, serving as head coach of the U18 and U22 women’s national teams.
Stacey will be one of Schuler’s key skaters when Canada faces off against Russia on Feb. 11. During her Dartmouth career, Stacey tallied 31 goals in 108 games played. Since then, she has gone to play for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s Brampton Thunder and was named the 2017 Rookie of the Year. While this is Stacey’s first Olympic appearance, she has represented Canada on the international stage before.
Stacey scored one goal and had an assist at the 2016 Nations Cup, where Canada placed first. She was hailed the Offensive and Team MVP for her team. Stacey also played in the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation’s Women’s World Championship and helped Team Canada place second.
Correction Appended (Feb. 6, 2018): The original version of this article stated that the total of 14 Dartmouth representatives at the 2018 Winter Olympics was the largest number of Big Green participants at any Olympic Games. In fact, 14 Dartmouth-affiliated athletes also competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. However, alpine skier Tricia Mangan ’19 was added to the U.S. Olympic Team roster on Tuesday, increasing the 2018 total of Dartmouth athletes and coaches to 15. The article has been updated to reflect the change.