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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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story about taking chances

When I was in sales with my current company, I subscribed to a weekly newsletter written by a consultant named Art Sobczak with tips for salespeople who use the telephone primarily for sales. I've always liked this guy's analogies and stories, and this morning's article was a good one.

(article begins)
There were quite a few memorable events and stories from the 2002 Winter Olympics. One that many people might have missed was the plight of Eric Bergoust.

Eric Bergoust was the defending Olympic champion and the odds-on favorite in the freestyle aerial ski jumping.

Except that Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic crashed the party by nailing an unheard of quintuple-twisting, triple backflip.

Eric Bergoust was the final jumper. His jump would determine gold, silver and bronze in the Olympic freestyle aerials. His jump had to be as good or better than Valenta's.

Win or lose. First or last. All or nothing were his options, he figured.

Staring down the hill, he knew he had to go for it in order to win. He glided down the mountain, raising his left hand as he approached the ramp for takeoff. To the untrained eye, the jump looked good. But the excess speed made him fly too high. And rotate too fast. When he stuck his arms out to his side to slow down the twists, he didn't slow as fast as he needed.

He fell back upon landing. In an instant, snow sprayed like it was shooting from a snow blower in your driveway.

The defending Olympic champion finished 12th out of 12.

Dead last.

"I really had to risk it," he said. "I'm glad I didn't go out there and go conservative and finish fourth. I wanted to get the gold or last, and I got last. And sometimes when you risk it, it doesn't work."

Good one, huh? Watching the snowboarding and freestyle skiing during this year's Olympics was really fun. One of my favourite events was the snowboarding half-pipe. I remember some kid from Europe with a spiked mohawk haircut that had a lot of character.