Tiny Westminster College is a Powerhouse When it Comes to the Olympics

Apparently there’s something in the water at Westminster College. It could be that, or the fact the college has a partnership with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

Either way, the tiny liberal arts school has an impressive 23 students competing in Sochi at the Olympics. For those of you who enjoy statistics, that’s 10 percent of the United States team.
Westminster doesn’t just send athletes to the Olympics; it sends good, medal-winning athletes. In fact, if it were its own country, Westminster would rank in the top 20 for medal count.

Many are quick to point out Westminster isn’t creating the Olympic athletes, just makes their lives a little easier while they train. With its location in Salt Lake City, Westminster is close to many of the highest regarded training facilities for winter sports, like the USSA’s Center for Excellence which opened in Park City in 2009.
Outside of location, Westminster offers a pretty sweet deal to its top tier athletes. The partnership Westminster has with the USSA provides tuition grants to skiers and snowboarders of certain rankings. These grants are beneficial to the athletes who “spend all their money on travel and coaching to pursue their sport,” said Westminster’s director of corporate relations, Safia Keller.
“They [the athletes] bring such a rich, diverse experience to the classroom,” she said. “They have experienced things that most of us can only dream of: international travel, winning on the world stage.”
Though most of the athletes in Sochi who attend Westminster are freshmen with intermittent attendance, when they are there, they excel academically. Their collective GPA is an impressive 3.65 according to the college.
Westminster isn’t alone when it comes to being a preferred school of Winter Olympians. The for-profit DeVry University boasts 15 students among the athletes in Sochi and Dartmouth has nine athletes competing for the United States and three for other countries.
Image from Westminster College
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