Andrea Mead Lawrence

Time Period

1940 to Today

Notable Facts

First American alpine skier to win two gold medals in any Winter Olympics (1952). Named the "Greatest Winter Olympian of All Time" in 2002. First inductee to the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame. Founder of the Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers, which seeks to protect the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Devoted environmentalist in the Mammoth Lakes, California area.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

04/19/1932

Primary Residence

Rutland

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

Andrea Mead Lawrence was the first American alpine skier to win two gold medals in any Winter Olympics (1952). Named the "Greatest Winter Olympian of All Time" in 2002, she was the first inductee to the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame.

Andrea Mead was the daughter of Janet B. and Bradford B. Mead, founders of the Pico Peak Ski Area. The family lived across the road from the ski area, and Andy, as she was called, began skiing at an early age. She began racing competitively by the time she was ten years old. Although her father died in 1942, her mother continued to operate Pico. Andrea qualified for the U.S. Women's Olympic Team in 1947 and at fifteen was the youngest member of the team at the 1948 Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. She placed eighth in the giant slalom and eleventh in the slalom. In 1950 she was the youngest winner of the Harriman Cup in downhill, slalom and combined events.

Andrea Mead married David G. Lawrence, also an alpine skier, on March 13, 1951 in Davos, Switzerland, while both were on the international pre-Olympic circuit. Andrea served as captain of the 1952 U.S. Women's Ski Team in Oslo, Norway, and won a gold medal in the slalom and another in the giant slalom. Her picture graced the cover of Time Magazine on January 21, 1952. She continued to ski competitively between 1952 and 1956, but also give birth to three of her five children. She was a member of the 1956 U.S. Women's Olympic Ski Team and placed fourth in the giant slalom before retiring from competition. Lawrence was the only American skier to compete in three Olympics and was the only American skier to ever win two gold medals in a single Olympics.

During the early 1960s, Lawrence organized recreation programs and became interested in environmental preservation. She provided skiing commentary for ABC News during the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. After divorcing her husband in 1967, she moved to Mammoth Lakes, California, the following year. Lawrence served on the Mono County Board of Supervisors for sixteen years and helped to found the Friends of Mammoth. In 1999, Lawrence was selected as Honorary State Park Ranger by the California State Park Ranger Association for her advocacy of California's State Parks and for a lifetime of contribution to the conservation movement.

In 2001 Lawrence won the Havoline Star Award for her contributions to the environment and the Eastern Sierra community. The Havoline Star Award honors a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team alumni who has made significant contributions to his or her community. At the 2002 Winter Olympics, Lawrence was honored as the Greatest Winter Olympian of all time by Bud Greenspan and General Motors. She was inducted into the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame in 2002, and an image of her skiing serves as the logo for the Vermont Ski Museum. Lawrence currently runs the Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the environment of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. She was the recipient of the Sierra Business Council's Vision 20/20 Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts to protect the economic and environmental health of the Sierra Nevada.

Organizations or Movements

  • U.S. Olympic Alpine Team
  • Mono County Board of Supervisors
  • Friends of Mammoth
  • Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers
  • Sierra Nevada Alliance

Occupations

  • Alpine Skier
  • Honorary State Park Ranger
  • Founder of the Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers
  • Enviromentalist

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers Link

  • Andrea Mead Lawrence Link

  • Olympic Champion Andrea Mead Lawrence Honored at 2002 Winter Games Link

  • She Skis For Fun. Link

  • Duffy, John, eds. "Andrea Mead Lawrence." In The Vermont Encyclopedia. University of New England Press, 2003.

  • Millspaugh, Colby. "Andrea Mead Lawrence." In Those Indomitable Vermont Women. Williston, VT.: Heritage Print & Copy, 2006.

Additional Images

Time Magazine Cover of Andrea Lawrence
Time Magazine Cover of Andrea Lawrence
Andrea Lawrence
Andrea Lawrence