Sunday, February 21, 2010


The fellow above is one Franz Klammer, and today is not his birthday. He was born December 3rd 1953 in Mooswald, Austria. There are two reasons he is today's hero, first his downhill run to win the gold in the 1976 Innsbruck Olympic games is the stuff of legend, and secondly I wanted to use him to show what a true Olympic champion should do and look like. Since the Olympics are currently happening, and I like the winter games much more than the summer ones, I thought I would bring Franz out of the hero bullpen. In his storied career Klammer won World Cup downhill title 5 times, in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1983. Notice that four of those years were in a row, now that takes some talent, and Franz had talent to spare. One of my early Olympic memories is watching him win that gold in 1976, if you can find it on the web somewhere, you should watch his run. Absolutely amazing, he was dangerously off balance more than once, and skied like an absolute madman to win the gold over defending Olympic champion Bernhard Russi of Switzerland by 0.33 of a second. He was a true madman of a skier, and when you look at today's skiers they pale in comparsion. The "publicity machine" that is Lindsay Vonn makes me want to puke. Watching her celebrate as if she had won the Super G after crossing the line with the best time so far was disgusting. There were still a couple of world class skiers to go, but Vonn just thought "hey I am Lindsay Vonn, I am the best, I won!" Yeah, not so much, the look of sadness on her face when the first skier beat her time was priceless. It was so sweet that I rewound and replayed it on my DVR about seven times. They did not bother showing her face as the second (long shot) skier knocked her down into the bronze medal. Klammer was not the media driven hype machine of Vonn, and therefore was/is much more easy to root for. Hard to root for Vonn as she seems to be, by all media accounts, the second coming. Give me a underdog with guts any day of the week, and that was Klammer. Watching him got me into watching the winter Olympic games, and I suspect, that would made Franz very happy. So for that heart stopping, gold medal winning, near death run all those years ago, Franz Klammer (December 3rd, 1953-present), you are my stand in (180th) hero of the day.

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