Priming the Olympics PumpFebruary 6th, 2010
Posted in Skiing Everywhere
While picking up milk at the grocery store today I checked out the magazine rack to see if I would be tempted buy the Olympics issues of any of the ski mags. I wasn’t very optimistic, but neither was I ready to see just one option: Ski magazine. It had a pretty pathetic dozen or so pages mostly promoting the competitors they think will be the ones to watch. There were four other ski mags on the rack, but their covers were void of any Olympics teasers so I figured they couldn’t be very interested in providing much in depth information.
Luckily tomorrow’s New York Times Magazine steps up with an interesting article on the racer, Lindsey Vonn, the US Ski Team is pinning its hopes (and future fund raising) on, plus a good science video analyzing the double full full full freestyle aerial maneuver and items on Olympic sports other than skiing.
I’ve known Ms. Vonn is immensely talented and dedicated athlete. I hope she does well. I didn’t know how much she’s given up (a normal childhood, friends, and even a father) to chase the gold and the glory. But so, in varying degrees, have her competitors. I wish them well too. I’ll be happy for whoever wins, but I’ll definitely not be envious. How many of us can name the gold medal winner of the woman’s giant slalom in 1984? (Debbie Armstrong, USA) Pretty fleeting fame for so many years of hard work and sacrifice.
Eight years ago on our way to watch the Woman’s Downhill at the Salt Lake City Olympics my wife found herself sharing a bus seat with the mother of one of the Swiss ski team’s girl racers. Upon learning that my wife had a very competitive young ski racer, the Swiss woman looked at her closely and said “You will regret it many times if your child continues to pursue ski racing. So much heartbreak, so much expense, so much pain.” Hardly what one would expect to hear from a woman whose daughter might be only hours away from winning an Olympic medal. (It turned out to be another day of heartbreak for her and her daughter.)
Speaking of fund raising. A friend related to me the story of a mutual friend’s fund raising efforts for the US Ski Team. It appears there is an enthusiastic ski team booster in New Jersey who held a fund raiser at his home and the price of admission was $250,000. Apparently it was well attended, raising a few million for the ski team. Yeah, in New Jersey, in this economy.