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Andrew Weibrecht ’03 Continues a Chain of Champions Spanning 6 Decades « the northwood blogger the northwood blogger


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Dozens of Olympic champions have one common denominator. They all ate in a special place during their early training. That special place is in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains; Northwood School...

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  • 1. The Northwood Blogger Phil Frommholz – Class of '65 Welcome to The Northwood Blogger…. Andrew Weibrecht ’03 Continues a Chain of Champions Spanning 6 Decades Written By: Phil Frommholz - Mar• 22•14 ANDREW WEIBRECHT Wheaties is known as the “Breakfast of Champions.” Surprisingly, what may be more important than what you eat for breakfast is where you eat your breakfast. Dozens of Olympic champions have one common denominator. They all ate in a special place during their early training. That special place is in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains; Northwood School, a college prep school in Lake Placid, New York. Andrew Weibrecht, a Lake Placid native, ate in the same Dining Hall as the eighteen men and women who preceded him to the grand Olympic stage. This little known school is outside the mainstream when it comes to Olympic talk, yet it has consistently played a significant role in the early development of more Olympic athletes than any other school in America. Northwood School, the unsung hero of Olympic champions, has rightly earned a prominent place in Olympic history with the double medal winner, Andrew Weibrecht, who completes an unprecedented chain of champions spanning over six decades. Andrew, “The Warhorse,” has gained true celebrity status, with his repeat medaling with a Silver in the Super – G at Sochi, topping his Bronze Medal in Vancouver in 2010. Not many athletes endure the grueling training required to stay at the top of their game for a second appearance. It is a rarity for most athletes to appear twice. But Andrew is not the only exception when it comes to multiple Olympic appearances for former Northwood students. There are many more.
  • 2. The Early Days Jack Mulhern, Class of ’47, deserves special recognition as the first Northwood athlete to step up on the Olympic Podium after winning a Silver medal in 1952 on the Men’s Hockey team. He is the founding member of a very special club that rounds out its membership at nineteen Olympic athletes who all attended Northwood School eating their Wheaties in the now 100-year old wood paneled Dining Room. The decade of the 60s brought notice to Northwood School, for not only an outstanding hockey program, but for its nationally known ski program. Ni Orsi ’63, was fresh out of Northwood when he competed in the 1964 Olympics Games in Innsbruck, Austria. He ranked 14th as the first American finisher in the Downhill ahead of Billy Kidd and Buddy Werner who coincidently attended Downhill Racing Clinics at Northwood School, but were never students at the school. They also ate their Wheaties in the famed Dining Hall. In the mid-60s, the Olympian brother-sister racing team of Rick and Suzy “Chapstick” Chaffee from Vermont were also frequent visitors to the Great Dining Hall while training with Northwood racers on Whiteface Mountain. Olympians, Jay Rand, Tom Mellor, and Ulf Kvendbo were 1968 classmates. Jay, a ski jumper from Lake Placid, was only 17 years old when he represented the U.S. in the Grenoble, France Games in 1968. A Dynasty was about to Begin in the 70s Tom Mellor ’68 went to Sapporo, Japan with the Men’s Hockey team in 1972 and took home a Silver medal and his former classmate, Ulf Kvendbo, originally from Sweden, was a Ski Jumper for the Canadian team. Joe Lamb ’73, another Lake Placid native, made his Olympic appearance as a competitor in the Nordic Combined event in 1972 at the age of 16. He followed with attendance at six more Olympic Winter Games, each in a different role. Brent Rushlaw’70, from nearby Saranac Lake, was the only Olympic Bobsledder among Northwood School alumni. He made a record four appearances beginning with the 1976 Innsbruck Games. The Next Three Decades Northwood hockey players dominated the Olympic games of the 80s and 90s with an All-Star line-up of outstanding hockey players, and with some dramatic changes appearing in 2002. Tony Granato’83 played in the 1988 Calgary Games along with Hall of Famer, Mike Richter ’85. Mike and Tony played together at the 1998 Games, and Mike brought home a Silver medal from Salt Lake in 2002. Tony followed up his playing career with a Silver Medal from Sochi as an Assistant Coach on the Men’s Hockey Team in 2014. Dave Tretowicz’87 played on the Men’s Hockey Team in the Albertville Games in 1992 and finished his professional career with the LA Kings in 1994. In the 1994 Lillehammer Games, Chris Therien’90 won a Silver medal for his homeland, Canada, defeating his former Northwood teammate, Jim Campbell ’91. Craig Conroy ’90, another teammate of Chris’s at Northwood, played in the 2006 Torino Games in Italy. The only Luge racer to attend Northwood was Kei Takahashi ’98. He represented his home country, Japan, in
  • 3. Share this: two games: the 1998 Nagano Olympics and the 2002 Salt Lake Games. In 2002 the First Women from Northwood made it to the Big Stage. The school had record participation with five former students in the 2002 Salt Lake Games. Also, a new era had begun. The Northwood Olympian family became co-ed with the addition of Women’s Ice Hockey Silver medalist Andrea Kilbourne-Hill ’98. Andrea is now the Girls’ Hockey coach at Northwood School where she once captained the Boys’ Hockey team. Andrea teamed up with another women’s hockey great, Cammi Granato, the younger sister of Tony Granato’83, in the Salt Lake Games. To round out the 2002 Games, Thomas Vonn’94 finished 9th in the Super G and Kent Salfi ’89 (Austria) and Mike Richter competed in Men’s Ice Hockey. This marked Richter’s third Olympic appearance and he picked up a Silver Medal to boot. Andrew Weibrect’03 made his first appearance in Vancouver in 2010 winning a Bronze medal. Adam McLeish ’97, a Canadian native and the only Snowboarder from Northwood School to appear in an Olympics, competed for Team Great Britain in 2010. The medal winners, beginning with Jack Mulhern’47 in 1952 and ending with Andrew Weibrecht ’03 in 2014, are the book ends that hold together a legacy of nineteen Northwood champions spanning 62 years as the culture of Northwood School continues to excel in both sports and academic achievement. Our Olympian brothers and sisters emerged from the Great Dining Hall where topics of sports were probably discussed more than English and Math. One can only imagine the stories that took place within those walls over the years by the hopefuls, the celebrated, and their enthusiastic schoolmate supporters while eating their Wheaties. The amazing Northwood School athletes who made it onto the world stage to ultimately represent their respective countries, colleges, and their friends and families who supported them all along the way, would probably all agree that the little school in the North Country in Lake Placid played a significant role in their lives, not only in their development as athletes, but more importantly, as men and women. As Olympians, they share a common bond: to share their experience, strength and hope with all who follow them. To learn more about Northwood School visit their website About the Author. Phil Frommholz, MBA, was a four year student at Northwood School, graduating in 1965. He is a small businessman in Sarasota, Florida and a part-time author. He has maintained his roots in Lake Placid and at Northwood School which began in 1961 and is a frequent visitor. Contact Phil at Posted in Winter | No Comments » You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. Leave a Reply Share
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