February 24, 2010

EVEN THE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCES MULTIPLE OLYMPIANS EACH GAMES:

Dartmouth Claims Fame as Top Ivy League Producer of Olympic Talent (Jeff Greer, February 22, 2010, US News)

The Ivy League is the pinnacle of competition in the American higher education system. Schools compete with one another in everything from academics and research to endowments and college athletics. In an effort to stake its claim on a rarely discussed battlefield, one Ivy League institution wants the world to know that it has the most Winter Olympians this year in Vancouver among the Ivies—and the most ever to compete in the Winter Olympics among Ivy League schools, too.

The magic number of Dartmouth-affiliated athletes who have competed in the Winter Olympics since 1924 is 110, Dartmouth College says, although IvyLeagueSports.com and its offshoot site IviesinChina.com claim Dartmouth has even more Olympic alumni, with 124. Dartmouth has nine school-affiliated athletes at this year's games—two current undergrads and seven alumni. One alum, Andrew Weibrecht, who graduated in 2009, earned a bronze medal in the men's super-G alpine skiing race last week. Up-and-coming giant slalom skier Tommy Ford, Dartmouth class of 2012, will compete Tuesday. Meanwhile, Harvard University is the next closest with 77 athletes, including the current Olympic Games, where Harvard has five athletes competing. (Some peace of mind for Harvard: Crimson-affiliated athletes have more gold medals, with 16 to Dartmouth's 10.)

What sets Dartmouth apart? Skiing. It's still safe to call Dartmouth's ski team a pipeline of Olympic talent. The 100-year-old program, the first of its kind in collegiate athletics, has sent—by its own count—97 skiers to the Winter Games since the inception of the Winter Olympics. It makes sense: Dartmouth had five All-American skiers last year alone, and the program has won three NCAA titles since 1958 while competing against the wealthier, larger powerhouses like the University of Colorado and the University of Utah. A big part of that success has come from a two-feet-on-two-rafts mentality; over the years, the program's leaders have strongly encouraged their student-athletes to focus on school while still maintaining their athletic careers, a must if a young Ivy League student-athlete wants to survive all four years. That formula has worked for the better part of a century.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 24, 2010 6:19 AM
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