KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — The War Horse was feeling his oats once again.
Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht surprised the skiing world Sunday — just as he had done four years ago in Vancouver. The hard-charging Olympic veteran, who took the bronze in super-G in 2010, struck again, this time claiming the silver medal in the same event at the 2014 Games.
Weibrecht couldn’t help but be moved by his own journey, calling Sunday “probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I’ve ever had.”
It also was an important day for the U.S. ski team. The Americans had managed to collect only one of the 15 medals awarded through the first five Alpine events of the Sochi Olympics before Weibrecht and Bode Miller tripled their nation’s total in one fell swoop.
Through 28 starters Sunday, Miller and Jan Hudec of Canada were tied for second place, about a half-second slower than Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud’s run of 1 minute, 18.14 seconds. But then came the 29th racer, Weibrecht, who had come out of nowhere to win the super-G bronze behind Miller’s silver at the 2010 Olympics but since then has dealt with injury after injury, including to both shoulders and both ankles.
He’s had four operations in the last four years, lost funding from the U.S. ski team at one point, and was not a lock to make the Sochi Olympic roster.
“I’ve had to evaluate whether this is really what I want to do. Even,” Weibrecht said, then paused before adding, “as recently as yesterday.”
He laughed at his own punch line.
“All kidding aside,” Weibrecht said later, rubbing his left temple, “it’s been a pretty difficult four years. It’s kind of one of those things that you can only be beat down so many times before you start to really look at what you’re doing. I didn’t know how many more beatdowns I could take.”