Downhill skier Lindsey Vonn.
Last week I was watching a game show on which
they asked a contestant what they thought was
the most physically demanding sport.
I didn't have to think longer than about 5 seconds.
In my opinion the most physically demanding sport
is men's and women's slalom, giant slalom, and
Super-G downhill alpine skiing.
Imagine it: Going down the side of a mountain
at a 45 degree grade over ice on a run that often
hits 90 miles an hour, negotiating sharp cuts
around the flags as you do so, with only a pair
of thin skis and a couple lightweight poles and
using every muscle and bone in your body to
maintain — jeez, that's pretty much just crazy.
Indy car drivers go very fast, but except for
arm and legs they don't use all their body.
Tennis players wear their body out, but don't
run over the court at 92 m.p.h. Football is
also a very physically demanding sport. But
football players if they pull a muscle can get
temporarily replaced and sit on the sidelines
for a while. Downhill skiers don't have that
advantage. It's not as if they can get halfway
down the run and say, "Hey, you know I think
I strained my knee a little bit making that last
cut; I think I'll have somebody come in for me
for the next 150 feet and rest up."
Back in the old days here in the U.S. you could
see professional and amateur skiing on a regular
basis on ABC's Wild World of Sports. But since
the show went off the air in 1998 there has been
virtually no skiing shown on American television.
ESPN, which has 2 cable channels, doesn't bother
with "European" sports like downhill skiing.
But you can get it on the Olympic broadcasts.
That's the one time a fan of the sport can binge
out. I don't see skiing enough to know all the
current stars of the sport, but it seems the U.S.
has a definite star in Lindsey Vonn. Whether she
will be able to overcome a recent injury and do
well remains to be seen.
If you would like to see some of these events,
check out the Olympic alpine skiing schedule.
And by the way, yes I still have the hots for
skier Picabo Street, winner of the gold medal
in Super-G at the 1998 Olympics at Nagano.
A built-like-a-horse redhead, with a crazy name
like that one? Oh yeah, you gotta go for that.