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Sports Special

Dartmouth at the Winter Olympics

Director of Athletics Josie Harper could only shake her head and smile about Dartmouth's outsized presence at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

"It's extraordinary," Harper says of the record number of Wearers of the Green who competed at the 2006 Games. "Skiing has always been high-profile for us, and it was an added bonus to have such a superlative ice hockey year."

Katie Weatherston '06
Katie Weatherston '06 shows off her gold medal after the Canadian women's hockey team beat Sweden 4-1 in the February 20 medal round. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Three members of the Class of 2006—Cherie Piper, Gillian Apps, and Katie Weatherston—brought home gold as integral parts of Canada's championship team. Piper finished second among all Olympians with 15 points on seven goals and eight assists, while Apps was right behind with seven goals and seven assists.

The trio of gold-medal winners was among 14 past, present, and future Dartmouth student-athletes representing four nations in Italy, more Olympic athletes than from any other Ivy school. Boosted by six women's ice hockey players, the College easily surpassed its previous record of 10 Olympians at the 2002 Games at Albertville, France.

The hockey players, like the four current student-athletes among the eight-person Dartmouth ski contingent, all took the winter term off to compete in Torino. They did so with the cooperation of the College and their professors, and the blessing of coaches whose teams soldiered on without them.

"Our coaches have always been very supportive when it comes to us leaving to play for the national team," says Weatherston in an e-mail from Italy. "We feel bad to have to leave Dartmouth, but it's also a great opportunity to learn and bring more back to the team, so it works both ways."

Hockey Coach Mark Hudak and this year's squad gathered to watch Canada's gold medal game and caught as much as they could of the bronze medal-winning U.S. team featuring Kristin King '02 and Sarah Parsons '10, who delayed admission to Dartmouth to play in the Olympics.

Although the Big Green struggled without the Olympians, Hudak believes having Dartmouth players skating in international competition is a win-win proposition.

"It certainly helps in recruiting," he says. "But it also helps the younger kids we already have here to understand you really can do it all. You can be here, be an Ivy League student, be on a great hockey team and maybe go play for your country."

Olympic skiers Patrick Biggs '06, Libby Ludlow '06, and Kaylin Richardson '09 would surely have bolstered Dartmouth's hopes this winter, but geography aside, the fact that the College supports their pursuit of world-class competition is a key reason why Dartmouth is able to attract their caliber of skier.

Olympic Village
The Bardonecchia Olympic Village, as seen by biathlete Carolyn Treacy '06. (Photo by Carolyn Treacy '06)

"From our top athletes all the way down to those who don't even race in Winter Carnivals, our focus is on the individual," says Men's Alpine Coach Peter Dodge. "We want to provide an excellent experience and the chance to be the best they can be, whether that's making their first Carnival or making the Olympic team."

But Dartmouth coaches are only human and they do occasionally find themselves thinking about the potential impact of those who aren't here skiing on Dartmouth teams because they're competing on a larger stage.

"Sometimes it's a little hard when they're not here and we could use their points," Cami Thompson, women's cross country coach and director of skiing, admits with a laugh. "I was looking forward to having Carolyn Treacy '06 on the Carnival team this year, but she was in Torino.

"But we're very proud of these athletes who are doing more than the average ski team thing," she adds. "We encourage them to look beyond what we do here and are so proud of them when they do it and succeed. We're happy the College supports us in that."

Treacy, a biathlete who hopes to attend medical school after graduating this spring, is thankful for the support she's received everywhere she's turned since transferring to Dartmouth from Colorado College in hopes of being a regular—if terrifically busy—college student.

"The Olympic Trials weren't over until January 3, which was less than 24 hours before classes started," she explains. "I had no way of knowing whether I made the Olympic team until then, yet the College allowed me to change my 'D Plan' easily and without a fee.

"The deans have been very helpful and many of my professors have e-mailed congratulations. They're excited even if this isn't a purely academic experience." Treacy adds, "But it is true that I learned a lot at the Games."

By BRUCE WOOD

For complete results, visit www.dartmouth.edu/~news/releases/2006/02/27.html

All-Time Ivy League Representatives in the Winter Olympics by school:*

1. Dartmouth - 114

5. (Tie) Cornell and Princeton - 9

2. Harvard - 72

7. Pennsylvania - 2

3. Brown - 15

8. Columbia - 0

4. Yale - 12

Dartmouth's Winter Olympic Team Members (by year):*

1924-1

1972-4

1928-1

1976-4

1932-3

1980-4

1936-5

1984-8

1948-9

1988-7

1952-8

1992-10

1956-6

1994-7

1960-2

1998-7

1964-3

2002-9

1968-2

2006-14

*Source: Ivy League (Note: Numbers are based on roster spots per Olympiad.)

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Last Updated: 5/30/08