Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If Vonn is drawing all the attention it's not her fault

It seems US Skier Julia Mancuso is annoyed by teammate Lindsey Vonn's popularity. While her remarks may be true, it's the nature of the sport. And with me, at least, Vonn's popularity is perhaps more deserved.

I admit my opinion is based only on a single medals ceremony; one of the first, when Vonn won gold and Mancuso won silver. Mancuso was wearing, of course, her trademark tiara. And when she took the winners podium she had to add a saucy dance to her waving. Vonn was much more staid, pumping her fists a few times, but otherwise keeping it more dignified. To be fair, both women placed their hands over their hearts for the National Anthem, and it appeared as if Mancuso were even singing along. But the podium dance rubbed me the wrong way. It's a small difference, but Mancuso seemed to be about "look at me", while Vonn seemed to be more about "look at this moment." What can I say? I prefer my winners dignified and a little awed at their success.

Certainly it's Vonn who has the media's attention, and no, it's not fair. But she could have it for all the wrong reasons, too. Ask Bodie Miller what that's like. It's not like Vonn did anything particular to become the media's Face de Olympique. I doubt she would feel at all bothered if the attention were elsewhere.

Mancuso's remarks also belie a predisposition to attention-seeking. The reality for most of us in the viewing audience is that women's skiing gets but a small percentage of the overall attention. Lindsey Vonn is no more important than, say, Apolo Ohno, Evan Lysacek, or Lindsey Jacobellis (how'd you like that kind of attention, Julia?). To assume that America is focused on Lindsey Vonn is untrue at best, delusional at worst.

Relax, Julia. There's enough limelight for everyone. You've already had more of it than I'm likely to ever have. Try to make sure it's not the wrong kind of attention.

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