The purity of downhill racing

February 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm (By Rodjean)

While watching the womens’ downhill competition last night, it struck me that the medals for downhill racing are unequivocal in a way few human endeavors are. What constitutes the best in most activities is subjective. Who is the best lawyer in town or the best doctor amounts to a matter of opinion. Even when there seems to be a consensus, it is usually a consensus of opinions.

Even in many sports, we can argue about which is the best team. There is the subjectivity of judging figure skaters, and even speed skaters can complain about unfair pushes and shoves.

Not so in downhill skiing. The competitors each take their turn running down the same course. It is about who gets to the bottom of the hill fastest. Period. There is nobody else to blame if you fall – no intervening human contact.

I suppose weather conditions could change to someones advantage or disadvantage during a day of competition, but it is about as pure a meritocracy as you can find.

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1 Comment

  1. amba12 said,

    Fascinating.

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