Rahlves as classy as they come
Sometimes you learn more about a person from the way they lose. And there’s no better barometer to unveil an athlete’s character than the grand stage of the Olympic Games.
Take American figure skater Johnny Weir, for example, who rattled off a litany of weak excuses after a poor performance on his final routine dropped him from medal contention.
None of it was his fault, he cried.
Or Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick, the bratty American speed skaters who embarrassed themselves and our country with their outward display of adolescent behavior, pouting on the podium after Italy’s Enrico Fabris edged them both for gold. That barely scratches the surface of the immature acts they put on in front of the world.
Then there’s Bode Miller, the rebellious, rock star-popular member of the American Alpine ski team who told the Associated Press, “If things went well I could be sitting on four medals, maybe all of them gold.”
If, could and maybe are the key words, so even why bother uttering them?
Daron Rahlves, Miller’s equally speedy but less outspoken teammate from Truckee, placed no higher than ninth in the three disciplines in which he competed ” downhill, super-G and giant slalom. To say Rahlves was, and still is, disappointed is almost certainly an understatement.
Nobody likes to lose. It stinks, badly. I have a tough time dealing with losses in pick-up basketball games, horseshoes, Ping-Pong, video games, anything competitive.
Yet even after nearly three decades of training for an Olympic gold were shot down in a matter of minutes, with no second chances, Rahlves still handled the ever-blunt mass of media with composure and class.
“It’s hard to swallow, knowing this will be the last time I’ll be racing in an event like this,” Rahlves told reporters after missing a gate in Monday’s giant slalom, his last race of the Games. “Three times in the Olympics and I haven’t medaled.”
The reality of that statement is disheartening, and I honestly cannot imagine how he feels.
But where were his excuses? They were nowhere to be heard, because Rahlves is a true professional, one who doesn’t point fingers at anyone or anything, doesn’t talk about the gold medals he could have maybe earned.
Disappointed, yes, but by no means does Rahlves have anything to be ashamed of. He competed to the best of his ability while showing the utmost dignity, the way an athlete should act, win or lose.
A letter to the editor in Wednesday’s Sierra Sun rightfully commended Truckee’s hometown hero, who truly is the idealistic role model for aspiring young athletes.
The last line of the letter reads, “Truckee is so very proud of you!”
Sylas Wright is the sports editor at the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at 550-2653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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While America’s top alpine racer, Mikaela Shiffrin, raced to a pair of second-place finishes at last weekend’s World Cup slalom event in Levi, Finland, things wouldn’t go as well for a trio of Tahoe skiers.