Hold it. What’s a guy, one Atle Skårdal, doing running that organization? Surely a woman can do this job. He’s been doing it for 12 years. (It took Vonn a scant 9 years - 2008 to 2017 - to become the best woman skier ever.) It took him but a few seconds to become the biggest dunce, with less imagination than a sleeping turtle when it comes to stirring interest in his sport - ever - when he said:
“It doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, just because it’s of interest to one racer.”
One racer? Is that the best he could do to describe Lindsey Vonn, SKIING ICON, ruler of skiing’s citadel, the ungodly athlete who has run the table in the 5 skiing disciplines and who has trained with men, knows their times, respects them for making her an even better skier; one racer - that’s it from this bloke ?
Listen, does one also-ran-man’s jealousy bring him to such a low-ball depiction? Sure the guy, with two Super- G world champion winning seasons and a World Cup Super-G winning season, is no hack, but his career, compared to Lindsey’s, wouldn’t allow him to wax her skies. Geez, Louise.
He then goes whole hog and digs a deeper hole:
“I haven’t heard on any other sport being dragged into this kind of position.”
Dragged? We’re talking the best skier, other than perhaps Ingemar Stenmark, of all time. She’s done all she can do against women, why not take a run at, and with, the men?
As a marketer, Atle makes a good skier...As a skiing promoter he makes carbon out of diamonds.
Which brings us back to Louise, Lake Louise – Lake Lindsey. The course for men and women is the same. Vonn knows her strengths (18 wins there will give one those insights) can obviously pick her spots and Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, in the Canadian Rockies, is HER PLACE. She absolutely kills there. Back in 2015 she pulled an ace out of her sleeve with her 3rd hat-trick, two downhill wins, with one Super-G victory.
A week or so ago, she notched her 77th World Cup win. While this is incredible, what makes it unbelievable is that it was notched in her second outing after coming back from a left-knee injury and a badly broken humerus bone in her right arm, the latter occurring just this past November. She followed up her win with a fall “I’m happy to still be in one piece” - DNF - in the Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italian downhill.
She’s got to be disappointed, especially because this site is where she got her first podium position 13 years ago, but found solace in the fact that Tennis’s Roger Federer took his 18th Grand Slam, winning the Australian Open, beating Rafael Nadal. Both men, like Lindsey have scratched, crawled, and climbed their way back to the elite ranks after suffering injuries. If they can do it, she’s gotta figure she can do it.
Sure, there’s a very good chance Lindsey won’t race faster than top-notchers like Dominik Paris, Aksel Lund Svindal, or Peter Fill - should her 2018 test against the best be realized. She knows this. But for sure, what probably is more guaranteed to happen will be an outflow of hurt and shame amongst those men who race against her – and are beaten.
Back to Lindsey, singularly. Who does this? Who comes back from multiple injuries, survives and thrives after a relationship with Tiger Woods, all the while keeping her cool, keeping calm, while somehow stoking that burning furnace of desire and hunger to come back and be the best again?
Nobody. Nobody other than Kildon, Don Don, The Don, Lindsey Vonn.
Atle, be a somebody, back her in her quest to vie against the guys – give your sport, whose popularity is sliding – no pun intended – a BOOST. Normally Lake Louise hits a worldwide TV audience of 173 million people. Imagine the reaction, and potential viewership, should Lindsey go against the men. She deserves the chance. If not her, who? If not in 2018, when?
Lindsey’s intent in this instance may fit the bill where her desires outmatch what she can accomplish. But so what? What’s wrong with dreaming big and shooting for the moon? George Bernard Shaw once opined: “As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.”
And, as Lindsey says: No Excuses. You Can Always Find a Way.
Atle, find the way. Make her aspiration come true. Let her seek new fans for the sport and have them bestow accolades and applause upon her. Let her try for yet another possible podium finish and let her put skiing as a sport once again, at the very top of the Vonn-vaunted hill.