Alpine skiing: Wombat Weibrecht shows animal instinct

Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:16am EST
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By Annika Breidthardt

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Andrew "the Wombat" Weibrecht unleashed his inner animal to storm to silver in Sunday's Olympic super-G, winning his first medal since a surprise bronze in the Games four years ago.

Struggling with injuries since Vancouver, the American has never been on the podium in a World Cup race and his inclusion in the Olympic team was far from a formality with his funding cut off due to inconsistent performances.

"There have been times where I've had to evaluate whether this is really what I want to do, even as recently as yesterday," Weibrecht, who started 29th, told reporters after the race, adding that he had been unhappy with his late starting number.

"I try not to focus on results but I really needed a result to remind me that I'm capable of this and that I belong here."

His team mate Bode Miller led the race until Kjetil Jansrud beat his time. Weibrecht's late charge came within 0.3 seconds of the Norwegian and was enough to bump Miller into third place and a tie for bronze with Canadian Jan Hudec.

Despite Weibrecht's own doubts, his coach and team mates were not surprised by his display, with U.S. men's coach Sasha Rearick saying he had always rated the 28-year-old.

"He's got mad skills...I'm so proud of the team, of Andrew. ... I haven't seen him out of the cage in a long time," Rearick said.

"The name is from when... a coach from another team said Andrew looked like a wombat and I just said 'let the wombat out of the cage'," he added.   Continued...

Second-placed Andrew Weibrecht of the U.S. reacts in the finish area after competing in the men's alpine skiing Super-G competition during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Cente February 16, 2014. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger