KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- Four years ago in Vancouver, Andrew Weinbrecht stepped onto the podium to receive the bronze medal in the men's super-G. And when he stepped down off the podium, he just kept going down.
Soon after the Olympics, Weibrecht tore the labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Later he tore the labrum in his left shoulder. He also tore the ligaments in his right ankle. And in his left ankle. He underwent four surgeries in less than four years. He finished in the top 10 in only one World Cup race. And he was demoted to the U.S. "B" team, losing funding in the process.
He considered giving up the sport but, fortunately, he stayed with it. And Sunday, despite starting in the unfavorable 29th position, he threw down a stunning run to earn the silver medal in the super-G.
"This is probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I've had," Weibrecht said. "It's been a pretty difficult four years and it's one of those things where 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 beat-downs I could take."
Sunday, he beat down the obstacles and stood back up on the podium.