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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Former Panther Johnson to Ski in Olympic Games

Author: Andrew Zimmermann

From 1997 to 1999 Andrew Johnson was a nordic ski racer for Middlebury College. Now he finds himself with a ticket to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The word came last Monday and Johnson is among eight men going to the games which start in just eight days. Said U.S. nordic ski team director Luke Bodensteiner, Johnson is among the "promising young racers" on the Olympic team. The native Vermonter has received praise from the people of his home state as he was recently on the cover page of The Burlington Free Press.

Johnson is a former Junior National Champion and three times an All-American finishing 10th, sixth, and fourth respectively in the NCAA Championships in his three years at Middlebury. Johnson left for his senior year to pursue his dream of the Olympics on the U.S. development team. Said Middlebury nordic Coach Terry Aldrich, "We wanted to give him the opportunity to develop more. I told him Middlebury would always be here." And after two years and the sound advice by his former coach he finds himself with the chance of a lifetime in Salt Lake City.

"Andrew has all the ingredients," continued Aldrich, "he has a lot of talent but he also has all the tools, motivation and focus he needs to succeed." Just making it on the team is achievement in itself, yet Bodensteiner thinks this year's team will meet with further success. "[The current team members] skied their way onto the Olympic team and we're looking for our best results since 1976 when Billy Koch won a silver medal," added Bodensteiner last week. Johnson is still only 24 years of age so expecting a medal from the young Olympian will be expecting a great deal. Yet as Aldrich sees it, "In 2006 Andrew will be 28 years old and in his best shape to win a medal."