Bicycling Magazine sent me on a suicide mission that I kind of survived.
I wrote about it in their May issue. Check it out for a story about risk, failure, and goateed angels.
(Originally published 2/23/10)
REPORTER: Wow! What an event we just witnessed, and I’m here now with gold medal winner Simon Ammann. A quick recap for those unfortunate souls who just missed Adam’s remarkable display of athletic prowess: First, Adam was holding onto a bar. Then he let go of the bar and bent his knees slightly as he went down the sloping hill. Then he went into the air, and, in one of the more memorable moments in ski jumping history, he landed a little further than his opponent. What a play! How do you feel, Simon?
SIMON: Just a wonderful feeling right now. I have so many people to thank: my family, my coach, and of course, gravity -couldn’t of done it without you!
REPORTER: Simon, can you take us through what you were thinking during the jump?
SIMON: Well, at first when I was flying through the air, I was unsure whether I would land further than my opponent. But then I did. It was great!
REPORTER: It sure was! I noticed that when you were in the air you really held that pose still. You must’ve been great at freeze tag in elementary school.
SIMON: That’s actually how I got started in long jumping. One day at recess a scout saw how great I was at freeze tag. Then he took me to the ski mountain and saw my skill at slightly bending my knees and skiing in a straight line. A few practice runs, and here I am!
REPORTER: Simon, sometimes I don’t think viewers at home realize just how difficult this sport is. Can you explain how hard it is to hold one position for five seconds?
SIMON: Oh, it’s quite difficult. It takes an enormous amount of concentration. Like sometimes I’m in the air, and my brain is like “Do a spread eagle!” but then I’m like, “No, don’t do that.” So I don’t. The mental game is just as challenging as the physical one.
REPORTER: Truly unbelievable. Thanks for your time, Simon. Now we can add your name alongside of Wayne Gretzky and Eric Heiden in the pantheon of Olympic medalists!