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Dartmouth Engineering Alum Captures Olympic Experience on Video

By Anna Fiorentino
March 2014 • CoolStuff

Hannah Dreissigacker '09 Th'10 returned from Sochi after competing on the US Olympic Biathlon Team. She competed in the 7.5 Sprint, Mixed Gender Relay, Women’s Relay and 15 km Individual and took home a personal best in the 15 km Individual, along with some memories caught on video. With a title that says it all, The Sochi Endurance Village Is Happy, filmed by Dreissigacker and her teammates, has since made headlines and racked up over 27,000 views on YouTube and counting:

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Dreissigacker also offered this additional perspective on the games:

What was it like getting to know the other athletes?

Working on The Sochi Endurance Village Is Happy video with my teammates definitely defined my experience in a lot of ways. It was really fun to get the athletes from other countries and the volunteers to dance for us. This really created a sense of camaraderie. I watched several of the Nordic ski as well as biathlon races that I wasn't competing in. It was fun to watch and cheer on my friends who race Nordic skiing who I don't get to see all winter. 

What was it like to be a part of the Olympic games?

The whole Endurance Village [one of three Olympic villages that hosted 1,100 athletes near the cross-country skiing and biathlon centers] was quite nice—up on top of the mountain it felt like living at a resort for three weeks. I had some good races and some bad races, but the takeaway was positive–in the 15 km Individual I had my personal best result ever, finishing 23rd and as the first American. In the women's relay we came in 7th, the best result for our team relay ever. For me that was awesome. I also had some other disappointing races, but that is how it goes with biathlon!

US Olympic Biathlon Team
L to R: Sara Studebaker '07, Dreissigacker, Susan Dunklee '08, Ida Sargent '11 and Sophie Caldwell '12

What were the ski conditions like?

The warm weather made for some soft and slushy conditions, which was interesting. The course was hard and hilly but I liked it. The hard course made it easy to really bury yourself out there and finish with legs that you could hardly move.

Did you get to travel outside of Endurance Village?

I only made it down off of the mountain a few times since it took a long time and we didn't have many days between all of the races. One day I just went to Adler, which is more of a "real” city next to Sochi, and went to the coast and it was great. I got yummy barbeque food and walked along the Black Sea. I only went to the Olympic park on the very last day before the Closing Ceremony. 

What was it like to be on the floor at the Closing Ceremony?

It was a really cool experience. The arena was so huge and the show was amazing. And it felt really special to be dressed up in my funny outfit walking in with all of the other athletes. 

Dreissigacker in Sochi

Dreissigacker in Sochi

Dreissigacker’s engineer parents Judy Geer ’75 Th’83 and Dick Dreissigacker are both former Olympic rowers and her family tree of Thayer graduates also includes her grandfather Howard Geer D’39 and her brother Ethan Dreissigacker ’13. Her sister Emily Dreissigacker ’11, who earned an economics degree, is also a competitive rower.

Tags: alumni, extra-curricular

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