There are two things which drive an obsession for competition– success and failure. It seems a paradox that the two extremes of the performance spectrum lead to the same outcome. Really, the worst race is one in which you are happy with your performance but not inspired to strive for greater heights. Enough of those races will stall a career as surely as an LJ03 grind at -17°c brings your skis to a halt.
As I’m growing as a skier I see the importance of choosing the field in which I compete, providing myself with a balance of failure and success. Exposure to the best field is good but last year I stayed on the World Cup circuit too long and got disheartened. This year I’m staying not quite long enough. It’s still long enough to get an infusion of dreams and aspirations.
I ski here, at the World Champs, look around me and tell myself, “that’s how I want to ski. That’s the skier I want to be.” It’s an ongoing lesson in potential and concrete examples of the goals I have being realized. I want to ski well. I want to ski better than I have skied before and better than I ski now. How I ski now is not good enough. My fitness now is not high enough. Watching my competitors makes this clear. Skiing requires a combination of brute capacity and beautiful efficiency.
It’s easy to fail. It’s equally easy to convince yourself that you haven’t failed. If I went home I would be perceived as a better skier. It’s that simple to turn failure into success. I don’t want that facade of success. I would rather receive condolences despite a good race than congratulations despite a poorly skied race.