The Center of Excellence.
Excellence: A Magnificent
Obsession is the domination of ones
thoughts or feelings by a persistent
idea, image, or desire, etc., to excel.
Aristotle called it arete, the Greek word
that wrapped the pursuit of excellence
in ones passion to practice, practice,
practice, ad infinitum.
The magnificent obsession of alpine
ski racing is wholly evident in the
establishment of the USSA Center of
Excellence, the continuing education
of coaches and officials, and the
12-month, year-round commitment
of the athletes on their pathway to
performance in ski racing and life
The multiplicity of the tasks involved
are, most importantly, simply
variables of the single-mindedness
of the obsession; the overriding goal
of excellence. That’s how athletes
make it to the podium!
I believe that it is far more magnificent
than stories about Queen Victoria’s
obsession that possessed her
when Albert died. More than Robert
Merrick’s for philanthropy. More than
Frank Lloyd Wright’s for carports. Or
Bucky Fuller’s for geodesic domes.
Our magnificent obsession in
alpine ski racing is why I continue
to coach and officiate and urge you
all to embrace the persistence and
get possessed by the pursuit of
When did the U.S. Nationals become
so “un-important” to the top U.S.
Team members? I’m disappointed to
see that. One of my favorite coaches
used to say, “Someone is going to
win a TITLE here today.” I like what
Julia is doing by winning as many
TITLES as she can. That will make
a difference in her legacy. Good
for you, Julia. No one knows the
symptoms of “spring fever” more than
me. I hated ski racing in the spring
after a long World Cup season, but
the Nationals were never a blow-off.
It is important to compete at home
whenever possible. It is important
to let the young racers see what the
best in the world looks like.