Hamilton is not out
I can only suspect that a lack of intimacy with the world of speed skiing inspired sports writer Tim Mutrie’s curious statement, “Hamilton is out” in his recent article about the fine accomplishment of John Hembel, who skied 153 mph in France last week.
Out? On the contrary. If Mutrie were to poll the international speed skiing community, past and present, he would find that very little about Jeff Hamilton is “out” when it comes to the sport, except perhaps his physical presence, as this spring, after winning the U.S. National Championships and the first leg of the World Cup, Hamilton chose not to compete in Europe but to be a new father at home with his wife, daughter and now baby girl.
Out? No, that particular title is definitionally impossible – legends do not disappear, not even in a perfect French afternoon; and it is inarguable that Hamilton is a legend in his sport: four-time World Champion, Olympic bronze medalist, America’s fastest skier for 10 years, world record holder for two years, the first man to reach 150 mph on skis, the current and eight-time National Champion.
Not to mention the fact that in 1993 he created the Professional Speed Skiing Tour, which enabled fellow competitors to break out of the constrictive grip of the FIS and pursue the high speeds that dazzle us all these days.
Not to mention his technical contributions to the equipment in the sport, all of which can be seen on the majority of skiers these days. Not to mention his gracious, subtle style and the respect and love it has won him from all his co-competitors.
Yes, titles will flub before numerous names for years to come, and higher speeds will continue to dazzle us; but a career so full as Jeff Hamilton’s, as honorable and as rewarded, is impervious to change. Instead, it glides by us throughout time and continues to remind us of what is possible.
NO, when it comes to speed skiing, there is nothing about Jeff Hamilton that is “out” – not now, not ever.
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