Unlikely Domin-ation; Building the Elite Athlete; Scientific American Presents; by Reinout van Wagtendonk; 6 Page(s)
Think snow. Think wintry Alps. It seems obvious that Austria would be home to "The Herminator," the world's dominating downhill skier, Hermann Maier. Steep mountains and many months of fresh powder-of course Austria produces goldmedal skiers. Hasn't it always?
"Actually, the British brought alpine skiing to the Alps," says Allen Guttmann, a professor of history at Amherst College and author of Games and Empires, which examines the spread of modern sports. "The native people in Switzerland and Austria moved about on skis, but they didn't make an organized sport out of downhill skiing. The first alpine club was founded [in 1903] in London."