Oh, the Olympic Baggage!
Ski Racing discovers what alpine Olympians bring to the
Vancouver 2010 Games By Shauna Farnell
After leaving much of their sponsor apparel at home, U.S. athletes load up on Ralph Lauren.
Anyone who’s caught a glimpse of a ski racer trudging through an
airport knows that these athletes don’t travel light. Pushing around a
mountain of ski bags and suitcases, they will tell you that the Olympic
packing list, while not long, is on the heavy side.
“I brought way too much stuff,” said Andrew Weibrecht. “Between the
three duffel bags of Ralph Lauren and Nike — I have so much. Luckily
I can ship a bunch of it home.”
Because sponsor logos are not allowed at the Games — and sponsor
attire pretty much makes up the entire wardrobe of every World Cup
ski racer — members of each national team underwent the usual fashion overhaul when they arrived in Vancouver. Every alpine skier on the
U.S. Olympic Team received literally a pile of jackets, hats, pants and
footwear made exclusively for the 2010 Games.
Unfortunately, skis were not awaiting them at the same time. Athletes (acclimated to doing so on the World Cup) had to bring those
themselves. And we’re not talking one or two pairs — even for racers
like Alice McKennis, who is only skiing in one event (downhill).
“I brought two pairs of boots and around 10 pairs of skis,” she said.
“So I’m ready for whatever happens.”
Marco Sullivan, also a speed specialist, tried to narrow his quiver
down for the Games, and is keeping his supply of ski poles down to a
“We actually brought less skis than we would to a normal World Cup
just because we knew the conditions were going to be wet,” he said.
“We just brought pretty much our fastest skis. We [Nordica guys] have
10 pairs of downhill skis, six pairs of super G skis. I just have one pair
of poles. If I break some, I find the Swix guy and get more.”
Weibrecht and Ligety share some of the Rossignol speed skis in their
bags, but Ligety, competing in all Olympic alpine events except the
downhill, has considerably more.
“We have about 30 skis — those are mostly mine,” Ligety said, adding that the rest of his Olympic baggage consists of things he’ll take
with him back to Europe immediately following the Games. “I brought
three duffel bags, one’s full of four pairs of ski boots, another one is my