Olympian Andrea Mead Lawrence succumbs to cancer

04/01/09 8:04AM By Nina Keck
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(Host)   Olympic skiing legend and Vermont native Andrea Mead Lawrence has died at the age of 76.   A three time Olympian, she's the only woman skier to win two Olympic Golds in one winter games.   

VPR's Nina Keck reports: 

(Keck)  Andrea Mead Lawrence was born in Rutland and grew up skiing at Pico, the hill her parents owned and ran.  

(Mead Lawrence)  "Being born and raised in Vermont the first ten years of my life were probably the most important and significant of all the years I've had.  And I've often said my soul is in Vermont and my spirit is in the west."

(Keck)   She competed in three Olympics - her first in 1948 when she was just 15.   She had her greatest success at the 1952 Games in Norway where she won two gold medals.   She stopped competing after the 1956 Olympics and eventually settled in Mammoth Lakes California were she became active in politics and environmental causes.   In 1982 she was elected Mono County Supervisor - a position she held for 16 years.    

(Mead Lawrence) "I was the only woman on the board for a while - 5 person board.   I think that makes a difference. I mean those guys up there - it's the old boys and they  let you have it every which way but one.   But I never learned to quit.   I mean all those years of racing I never ever quit.  There's a price I paid for that.  And I think part of that pressure and tension and stress lead me into this damn cancer stuff.

(Keck)   Cancer hit first in 2000, but Lawrence fought back.   She learned last fall that the disease had spread to her lungs.    She's survived by her five children.    

For VPR news, I'm Nina Keck in Rutland.


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