(Now, before we get going here: I know I usually write about the Celtics, and I don’t even do that well, but I had to get this off my chest, so bear with me.)
Something about her bugs me. I can’t pinpoint what my main problem is with her. Well, that’s not true. I kinda know where to start.
The first time I laid eyes on her was when I saw her big NBC interview prior to her first race in Vancouver (where they had a thousand candles and a roaring fire going, it looked like they were on some porn movie set) and right from the get-go, I didn’t like her. Something didn’t feel right. She didn’t seem genuine, unlike that Shaun White guy. He seems grateful for the attention. Lindsey? Not so much.
She seems a little too comfortable being the center of attention. It seems like the media (and especially NBC) are falling over themselves to make her America’s sweetheart. So much so, they felt the need to make this video afterward that interview where she comes off (to me) as a bit of a self-important b****.
Did you watch that? Who cares what she thought of the interviewer? Why is that important? You’re a freakin’ skier. You’re relevant once ever 4 years, and even than, it’s not like you’re curing cancer.
There was this big question as to whether or not she was even going to race in these games, as she had some unseen bruise on her leg that she was making out to be this huge deal. Then she ended up racing, won a gold medal. I’ve seen her in about 5 races myself, so that leg must have magically healed up nice, huh? But I was willing to cut her some slack for the reasons above: She’s pretty, an American, and a gold medal winner.
Then I saw her interview right after winning the gold. This isn’t it that exact clip, but you’ll get the gist, because it’s very similar (minus the hysterical crying) and is indicative of all of her interviews as a whole.
Notice anything? It’s “I did this.. I did that…”
Um, didn’t you have a coach? Or perhaps a whole freakin’ slew of coaches? Don’t you have teammates and training partners? Jesus, what about your parents or your husband? Why aren’t you thanking them?
Yes, you achieved something great, but you didn’t do this by yourself, Ms. Vonn. There were people who helped you. But in EVERY interview I see with this girl, it’s all “Yay! Go me! I’m awesome! Me, me, me!” The only people I’ve seen her thank or even mention without the interview bringing them up first are her sponsors.
No offense, but she seems like an attention whore. It feels like she thinks this is all about her, and it’s not. You get the feeling the skiing and the sport come secondary, she’s out to promote herself, and if there was another way of doing it without hurtling down any icy mountain at 70mph, she’d drop skiing in a heartbeat.
There are other people on the US Ski team, and this morning, we started to see a little bit of turmoil bubble up after Lindsey inadvertently cost Julie Mancuso (who’s having one hell of an Olympic run herself) a shot at medalling by falling and making Mancuso restart her run. Vonn immediately went into defense mode, saying it wasn’t her fault she fell.
Umm, yes; yes it is, Lindsey. You might not have done it intentionally, but you still were the one who fell. You could at least offer to apologize for the situation, even if you didn’t mean to do it. Here’s what Mancuso had to say about Vonn:
“It’s such a popularity contest,” Mancuso told SI.com. “Our team is struggling, as a group. People are having a hard time reaching their potential because it’s such a struggle for attention. You come to meetings after races and it’s like it’s a bad day if Lindsey didn’t do well.”
Mancuso has since backtracked a bit, but really: Can you blame her? She’s having a killer Olympics, and all the attention seems to be going to Lindsey, and Lindsey’s more than happy to take it and not share it. Vonn probably loves the fact that Mancuso has taken the bait and rattled up this “tension” issue which is bringing another element to Vonn’s publicity Olympic run.
Don’t think so? Here’s some puff piece from NBC’s Torino coverage where Lindsey Vonn (then known under her maiden name, Lindsey Kildow) goes out of her way to play up the rivalry between the two.
Another thing people are bringing up about Vonn is the fact she uses men’s skis, unlike all the other women. Isn’t that a bit of an unfair advantage? They’re bigger, longer, and can provide more stability than women’s skis. It’d be like letting a hockey player go out there with a bigger stick (with a better curve) and let him whip off slapshots. Granted: I know it’s not technically illegal, but it seems a little less than kosher, no? Shouldn’t there be equipment regulations that come into play here? I can’t be the only one bothered by this.
The last straw came when I saw her appear on the Colbert Report the other night.
Click here to see the interview, I can’t seem to embed it here, my Internet-Fu is weak.
I’m a big fan of that show, and even though the interview was via satellite, I can taste the fakeness from here. It’s infuriating. She’s fake laughing through the entire thing. Lindsey, if you don’t find it funny, don’t laugh at it. It’s OK. We won’t be mad at you. But I can’t excuse the pandering. It’s condescending to the viewer.
The whole “media-darling” act seems so manufactured it’s bound to have some blowback hostility, doesn’t it? What happens when we catch her doing something wrong down the road, like Phelps and the bong? Are we going to have another Tiger situation on our hands?
She’s a little too polished, a little too perfect. She’s making a big deal about coming back from a shady “injury” and won’t shut up about talking about it. She’s never seen a microphone she didn’t like, a press conference she wouldn’t dominate, or a magazine spread she wouldn’t do. There’s absolutely no genuine modesty or team spirit to be found in any of her endeavors. It’s all pre-packaged, media-catnip mumbo jumbo. Where have we seen this before?
…uncanny, isn’t it?
Yeah, she’s a good photo-op, but is she what we want as our global representative of what we want the “American Olympian” to be? (I’m sorry if I’m going a little over the top with the Glenn-Beckian type of silly hypothetical questions, but come on – to me, she comes off as a self-centered, spoiled, smug, fake drama queen who happens to be good at skiing, and yet doesn’t play on a level playing field (see: the men’s skis thing). I’ll ask the question again: is that what we want the “American Olympian” to be?
Yes, I understand the US Ski team has to have a star to sell to its sponsors, but why don’t we focus on how that star skis? Bode Miller won gold, and Mancuso’s a multiple medal winner, too. Why aren’t they being held in the same lofty position? Is it because they don’t look quite as good in a bikini? Or is it because they won’t pander to the media quite as well as Vonn? Or is it a little bit of both?
But then again, we wouldn’t be heaping all this attention to her (and her sport) if she wasn’t good at it, and skiing needs all the help it can get in that department. Whether or not this is the way to go about it is the bigger question. Vonn sure doesn’t seem to have the same qualms I do.
Perhaps that’s why I don’t like her.
Or maybe it’s the fact I haven’t seen her naked yet. Either way.
(all pictures used above are property of Getty Images and are used with permission)
Big Head Braden doesn’t work for the Sports Hub, but for Karlson & McKenzie on 100.7 WZLX. (Yeah, he thinks it’s weird, too.) You can read his other tepid and not-necessarily-Celtics-or-Olympics-related musings over at coltmonday.com.