Olympic Briefing: The Downhill

Nightshift Sports: The Downhill is considered the ultimate event in alpine skiing. The concept is simple: start at the top of the mountain and go down it–often straight downhill but with enough turns to hold your attention–as fast you can.

There is none of the rhythmic direction changes that mark the slalom or the gentler sweeping turns of the Giant Slalom (which, BTW, only look gentle from a distance).

Go down the hill on the course as fast you can, navigating the turns, the bumps, the jumps, and try to stay in form,  aerodynamically correct, and strong all the way to bottom and maybe you won’t wad yourself up in the safety fences, so twisted it takes  experts fifteen to twenty minutes to extract you. In other words, mistakes on the downhill can result in very serious injuries.

The course at the Beijing Winter Olympics is considered very difficult and dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, it is a total unknown. The ski racers  at the Olympics have never seen it before, it’s not on the World Cup circuit and has never been run in serious, world class competition. Second, the snow is all man-made. As you know from previous postings, man made snow is more granular than the natural stuff, and it also has a tendency to be icy, which is not good. Just as wi drying a car, hitting a bad patch of ice at the wrong time can throw a racer off the preferred trajectory and into barriers on the side of the course. The Beijing course is also steep, even steeper than the famed Hahnenkamm downhill in Austria. Take it seriously.  Do not leave the starting gate unless your insurance is paid up and you have done all the dry land training your coach mandated. Paid close attention on the very few practice runs you got on the hill. And your personal racer chaser has tuned your skis to perfection It’s good to have an acute sense of your own mortality while you chase immortality as an Olympic Medalist. 

Otherwise…it’s not going to end up good.

Once you leave the gate, you must be focused and committed and there is no time for doubt or turning back. 

Luckily for us, the small size of modern digital video cameras provides us with viewpoints in sports that were previously never available. Today’s clip will give you a view which will either confirm your decision to stay out of downhill competition or make you get all itchy and sweaty because you’re not in the starting gate. For more background on The Downhill, check out this wiki.  

Either way, click the play button to get a racer’s view of the downhill at Garmitsch, one of the classic downhill courses in skiing. Prepare to be simultaneously amazed and terrified.  Also: Video YouTube/Ski Stars….Thanks for sharing. 



The Fine Print: Photos courtesy of our friends at GettyImages.com, who have the photographic history of the 20th and 21st century on file. This photo has not been altered in anyway. We thank them for sharing. Text Copyright (c)2022 Donald Pierce and Southchester Group LLC,  all rights reserved. DonaldPierce.com is produced by the team at the Media Bunker and Perception Engineering, who have requested a new expresso machine for this year’s Olympic coverage duty. And bigger speakers.  Opinions expressed are those of the writers. We thank the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Olympic Committee for making this material, media and other resources available to share.  For daily world news coverage please check out nightshiftnews.com, our sister site, which has links to every major English language newspaper in the world. Thanks for reading. Come back soon (and stay safe). 

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