“Ah, he’s cool, but he wants to be Bode Miller…” is a phrase I’ve heard more than once. It’s generally about that one friend whose mad into GS turns and really competitive with you. Bode Miller is a great ski racer, but there are 16 men and women who have more FIS World Cup race wins under their belts. There’s only one person with more wins than Lindsay Vonn.
His name is Ingmar Stenmark, he is a genuine giant of the sport, and Lindsay Vonn is five races away from matching him.
Of course, her name won’t be included on the same lists as his; she already tops all the records for the womens competition. She’s second only to Shaun White when it comes to being a visible representative of the Winter Olympics, and still, she’s probably not the first person you think of when you think of the greatest downhill skiers of all time.
I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as somewhat odd.
What’s weirder still, is the fact that even should Vonn surpass Stenmark’s record of race wins (and let’s face it, she almost certainly will) she’ll probably be met with justifications and attempts to downplay her achievements. The sort of comment that starts with “Yeah, she’s pretty good, but she hasn’t faced the sort of difficulties that -insert favourite skier here- had to deal with.”
Let’s face it, female pros just aren’t as visible as their male counterparts; I mean, how many segments in ski videos you’ve seen involve a lady completely shredding the gnar? I can count the number I’ve seen on one hand, and I know there are women out there crushing freestyle and free ride skiing. So how come we don’t see more of them on the screen?
Who knows, maybe I’m just looking in all the wrong places.