As a youngster growing up in Central Vermont, there was never any doubt where you were most likely to find Andrea Mead during the winter months.
“If the weather’s good, you ski,” was the rule in the Mead household. “If it’s bad, you go to school.”
Young Andrea did not graduate from high school, but she got quite an education on the slopes at the Pico Peak Ski Resort that her family owned and operated. She started skiing at age 3, began racing at age 10, made the U.S. Ski Team at age 14 and as a 15-year-old made her Olympic debut at the St. Moritz 1948 Olympic Winter Games.
Four years later, Mead Lawrence headed to the Oslo 1952 Olympic Winter Games, where she became the first American alpine skier to win two Olympic gold medals, winning the slalom and giant slalom.
She had married fellow skier David Lawrence in 1951. Between the Oslo 1952 Olympic Winter Games and Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956 Olympic Winter Games, Mead Lawrence gave birth to three children. Still, she skied through the pregnancy of their third child, born four months before the Olympics, and finished fourth in the giant slalom.
At the Squaw Valley 1960 Olympic Winter Games, Mead Lawrence skied the Olympic Torch into the Opening Ceremony before passing it off.
After retiring from competition, Mead Lawrence served on the Mono County, California, Board of Supervisors and became an environmental activist in the Sierra Nevadas, establishing the Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers. Olympic historian Bud Greenspan named her the greatest Winter Olympian of all time for her success on the slopes and her dedicated work to preserve the environment.
Mead Lawrence died in 2009. She was 76.