Saturday, August 1, 2009

The agony of ... victory?

A couple of weeks ago while writing about the deadlift, I made the point that strength can help us avoid situations we'd prefer not to be in. Perhaps you thought I meant escaping the occasional parking-garage mugger, but I really had dicey sports moments in mind when I wrote that.

And as this video shows, strength can also help us emerge uninjured from situations we didn't want to be in, but ended up in anyway. (I apologize that the sound and graphics are in Japanese, but it was the best of the video that I could find.)

For those of you who don't follow skiing, this is Hermann Maier of Austria having an epic crash in the 1998 Olympic downhill in Nagano, Japan. Not only did "The Hermannator," as he was called, get up and brush himself off, but he came back a few days later and won Gold medals in the giant slalom and super giant slalom.

And one other thing: the Austrians take their skiing very, very seriously, and the national team had once told a young Maier that there wasn't a future for him on the team because he wasn't strong enough. So what did he do to build that strength that would help make him almost unbeatable in later years? He went to work as a bricklayer.

Just goes to show you, you don't need a fancy gym to get strong.


  1. That was one spectacular spill, and some sheer determination.

  2. My husband, although not a big guy, has always kept in shape and strong just by working hard physically....You are so right, it doesn't take a personal trainer in a fancy gym. But that was one amazing fall and recovery.

  3. That was a really scary fall he took. Amazing the recovery. I've never joined a gym, but just work hard at home, both with cardio and some strength training.

    Thanks for sharing this!