Jon Olsson doubles up
On Saturday morning, Jon Olsson will suit up for a FIS Europa Cup giant slalom in Trysil, Norway. On Saturday evening, Olsson will then compete in the Sweet Rumble big air, also in Trysil. In a blog post detailing plans for his all-day, all-types-of-skis affair, Olsson poses the question, "Am I stupid enough?"
The GS race marks the beginning of the Europa Cup season, the highest level of competition in ski racing below the World Cup. Olsson's performance on the Europa Cup circuit this year is of particular importance to achieve his goal of ski racing for the Swedish Olympic team in 2014. As a requirement for membership on the Swedish team, Olsson must pull a podium finish on the World Cup between now and then.
Freestyle skiers in general have something of a fixation on multisportivity. But the "multi" part of it usually consists of a mix between park and backcountry (see Becoming A Freestyle Skier, Part 7).
In a realm of the sport that generally harbors some antipathy toward the racing set, Olsson is unique as a crossover athlete. At this level, Olsson's decision to both race and compete in big air is no doubt unprecedented. And I've never heard of it happening at any level -- especially not within the same day.
The closest thing I can come up with is now a decade old. Back when the US Freeskiing Open was still around, it used to field a big air and a skiercross competition. As a rule, the skiercross field was totally disjointed from the slopestyle set, with a few exceptions. Since slopestyle competitors had to qualify for a slot in the big air competition, simply being entered in both the skiercross and slopestyle (which was rare in itself) was no guarantee of competing in both the skiercross and the big air.
Nevertheless, I specifically remember seeing one skier compete in both big air and skiercross in the same day a decade ago at the 2000 US Freeskiing Open. Think you can name him?
[For the answer to this piece of trivia and to see how Olsson fares in his two competitions, check back Sunday.]