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SALT LAKE CITY — A ski shop in Alta cheered loud and proud Monday for an Olympic medalist.
Andrew Weibrecht won a silver medal in the men's Super-G ski race in Sochi, Russia, Sunday and the manager of Alta Ski Shop has a special connection to the Olympian.
The snow skis clinked in the trailer attached to the snowmobile. John Duncan cranked the engine and took off to the mountain top to unload skis for skiers one of the busiest days of the ski season. Weibrecht's brother, Ethan, tags along on the backseat.
It looked like a regular work day for these two men, but a feeling of pride swelled underneath their ski coats made this work day extra special.
"We've certainly been his biggest fans and rooting section," said Duncan, Andrew's friend.
Duncan and the Weibrecht family have known each other for decades while living in Lake Placid, N.Y. Duncan considers the silver medalist family.
"Having watched him grow. Having skied with his dad when he was this big," Duncan said and he gestured with his hands waist high.
Eight years ago Duncan moved to Utah to manage the Alta Ski Shop. He's been watching Andrew compete in Sochi.
"We watch every race, sometimes live in Europe," Duncan said. "So that's three in the morning here, we're in my office watching the race."
He's also been watching Andrew through the ups and downs of his career.
"I've visited him a number of times unfortunately in the hospital in Park City after surgeries," Duncan said. "He's had a tough four years since Vancouver, but he's a fighter and this proves it."
Ethan has worked at Alta Ski Shop tuning skis for the past two years. The brothers have skied at Alta for year. He's still riding high from his brother's silver medal win.
"Definitely have a lot more energy," Ethan said. "A lot more adrenaline going, even though it's been two days now."
As sparks fly from the machine polishing skis in the shop, Ethan knows the battle his brother Andrew has had to fight just to compete in Sochi. Ethan said his brother has come back from shoulder and ankle injuries, illnesses, and at one point a loss of funding from the Olympic Ski Team for his inconsistent performances.
Ethan wasn't sure Andrew would make it so Sochi because of all that he's been through, which makes his silver-medal run even more impressive.
"The guy's a talent. If he'd just get some breaks to go his way," Ethan said. "He'd really be the best skier in the world in more events than just Super G."
Andrew may prove that he is the best skier in the world. Ethan said Andrew plans to compete for a gold medal in the next Winter Olympics in Korea.