Dartmouth and the Winter Olympics have a long history, dating back to the first Olympic Winter Games, in Chamonix, France, in 1924. Rhodes Scholar John Carleton, Class of 1922, represented Dartmouth at those inaugural Winter Games, participating in “both the international jumping and cross country events,” according to a February 1936 article in Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.
In total, sixteen athletes and two head coaches with Dartmouth ties participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics and 2018 Winter Paralympics held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Including the 2018 contingent, Dartmouth athletes have earned 147 spots on Winter Olympics team rosters, with athletes from the College competing in every Winter Games since the first one in 1924. To date, Dartmouth athletes have won a total of 13 gold, ten silver, and six bronze medals, more than many countries.
A lot of that success grows out of the history and tradition at Dartmouth, says men’s alpine skiing coach Peter Dodge ’78, a former U.S. Ski Team champion himself. Another key is the D-Plan, which enables athletes to take time off and focus on their sport while continuing to pursue their education.
“Take a guy like Dave Chodounsky ’08. He came here, skied for Dartmouth for four years, won an NCAA championship, and finished in four years with a degree in engineering and Earth sciences, and then pursued high-level World Cup and Olympic competition,” Dodge says.
Another Dartmouth skier who took advantage of the flexibility of Dartmouth’s D-Plan to compete in the Olympics during his sophomore year, finish his degree while skiing for the College, and then go on to compete in a second Olympic games is Tiger Shaw ’85.
Shaw, who raced for Team USA in the giant slalom in Sarajevo in 1984 and finished ninth in GS in Calgary in 1988, is president and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the governing body for U.S. ski sports. Shaw was part of the IOC member discussions this week to set the final number of athletes each national team was allocated.
“We’ve been simultaneously picking teams in each sport, and dynamically being reallocated Olympic starting spots that weren’t being used by other countries. It’s a crazy process that occurs in a matter of hours,” Shaw said late Thursday while traveling back to Park City, Utah, from the IOC member meeting.
Shaw agrees that Dartmouth’s skiing tradition, the flexibility of the quarter system, and the commitment to excellence in both athletics and academics make the College a truly remarkable place.
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Photo caption: John Carleton, left, pictured with Dartmouth teammate Dick Bowler, Class of 1922, in 1922; courtesy of the Dartmouth Library.