Andrea Lawrence, winner of 2 Olympic gold medals, RIP
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Eulogies (Thursday April 15, 2010 at 10:22 am)


Andrea Lawrence with poet Gary Snyder

Last summer, as Tristan and I parked by the gate that bars the road to Soda Springs, near Tuolumne Meadows, a car drove up to the gate. A frail-looking older woman with white hair got out, opened the lock, and pulled off the heavy chain that loops over the posts. Using a cane, she walked slowly back to her car to drive through.


Accustomed to helping my mom , was recovering from a total hip replacement, I ran over to close the gate.

“Are you going to hear Gary Snyder?” she asked. “Would you like a ride?”

After grabbing our water, we rode  with Andrea Lawrence to Gary Snyder’s poetry reading.


Tristan chatting with two-time Olympic gold Medalist Andrea Lawrence

After the reading, at the sumptuous feast prepared by the organizers, we chatted more with Andrea Lawrence, who had been a supervisor of nearby Mono county, home to Mammoth ski area.


When we asked Andrea if she was a skier, she said yes, she’d skied all of her life. When we mentioned that we skied, and that Tristan had raced, she said that she too had raced. A little more conversation revealed that she first raced in the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, and later Andrea won two gold medals in Oslo in 1952.


So much for the frail old lady!


She invited us to visit her in Mammoth, which, sadly, we failed to do. I recently read Andrea Lawrence’s obituary in Ski magazine, and realized we’d missed a never-to-be-repeated opportunity to speak at more length with one of the former greats of skiing. Since Tristan plans to pursue ski racing, it may have been a rare opportunity for him


2 comments for Andrea Lawrence, winner of 2 Olympic gold medals, RIP »

  1. Andrea Mead grew up in Vermont, where her parents owned the Pico Peak ski area. She was 15 when she raced in St. Moritz and a 19-year-old young bridge in Oslo in ‘52, where she took two Olympic golds. by the time the Cortina Games rolled around in ‘56, she had given birth to 3 children w/in 3 years, yet she went into training 6 weeks after her third baby was born, raced in the ‘56 Games and finished fourth in the first Olympic giant slalom. One of her daughters lives or lived in Aspen and taught skiing there. Andy Mead Lawrence was a principled and relentless Mono County commissioner. RIP, indeed.

    Comment by Claire Walter — April 17, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

  2. Sibylle,

    I’m so happy that you and Tristan had a chance to meet and talk to this remarkable woman! True, it would have been nice if you had been able to visit her in Mammoth, but you had that beautiful summer day and that is so much more than you might have had. I suspect she enjoyed talking to a youngun like Tristan very much and I also suspect that she is smiling down at you.

    Melanie Mulhall

    Comment by Melanie Mulhall — April 20, 2010 @ 11:40 am

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