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Driven: Spector Aims for 2010 Olympics

Winter Olympic hopeful Laura Spector '10 laughed for a second when asked what she does in her free time.

"I wouldn't know," she answered. "I'd be in shock if I had any."

Laura Spector
Laura Spector '10 competes at the 2008 biathlon World Championship in Östersund, Sweden.

 

Busy only begins to describe Spector, who took last fall and winter off from Dartmouth to train for and win three 2008 Junior National Biathlon championships. She also competed successfully at the Junior Worlds in Germany and the Worlds in Sweden in addition to placing sixth in the 10-kilometer pursuit at the European Junior Championships in the Czech Republic before returning to her studies this spring.

Now that she's back, the biological sciences major figures she could probably squeeze in an occasional lazy afternoon on the Green, but don't count on it.

 "There's an opportunity for me to do that, but usually I try to get ahead in my work so it doesn't pile up when I have a lot of training to do," she explained. "With training sometimes you can feel good, but sometimes you can just feel really tired, and it's hard to do work, so it's good to stay a little ahead."

Spector was hardly a ski prodigy growing up in Lenox, Mass. In fact, she didn't pick up cross country skiing until eighth grade. "Once in a while my parents would drag me out, but I complained a lot," she admitted.

After the bug bit her, though, she won her first jayvee race and never looked back. "I realized I was actually good at this and decided to apply myself," she said. "I wanted to keep getting better because I knew there was the possibility that I could be really, really good."

Spector tried biathlon for the first time at a summer camp in Lake Placid during high school, and by that winter was asking her parents to buy her a rifle. The marriage of shooting and pure skiing ability-she made it to the Junior World Championships in cross country and had a Top-10 finish at Nationals before committing herself to biathlon-helped her last winter become just the second American junior ever to qualify for the senior World Championships in biathlon. She plans to take next winter off from school and compete on the World Cup.

After skiing for Dartmouth as a first-year student,  Spector has chosen to focus her attention solely on the biathlon with hopes of making it to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics.

 "She tried doing both for a year and it was hard," said Big Green Coach Cami Thompson. "There are times as a coach when you have to take a deep breath and say, ‘Good luck.' She's a talented skier and the fact that she has a good, solid skiing background will certainly help her in biathlon."

By BRUCE WOOD

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Last Updated: 6/23/08