If you screw up as a professional athlete, you can't always blame your equipment. Hours before Lindsey Vonn broke the record for earning the most World Cup crystal globes, she was seen over social media destroying one of her ski bindings with a hammer.
The reason? Vonn could have clinched her victory a day earlier. During Friday's downhill race in La Thuile, Italy, Vonn's ski popped off, causing her to crash.
— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) February 19, 2016
In a fit of wild frustration, Vonn attacked the agent of her failure-the ski binding-but only after making sure the iPhone camera was rolling. This was a big mistake. Vonn posted the video on Facebook but quickly took it down, and,according to the AP, "spent the night drafting an apology."
She also had a chat with Johan Eliasch, chairman of Head, the company that designed the binding that Vonn destroyed.
"This was a huge mistake born out of the frustrating race I had today and was in no way, shape or form a reflection on the performance of the Head Race Team, and the Head skis and bindings which I race on and which have been instrumental in my success," Vonn said in a statement, according to the Daily Mail.
"I was a little bit too emotional," Vonn told the AP. "It was a good lesson for me. I just have to remember that I have a lot of people looking up to me and I can't let my emotions get the best of me."
Though thoroughly titillating, this drama would not have gone down in other sports. Most world-class athletes needlessly destroy their equipment without batting a mascaraed eye.
American tennis player Coco Vandeweghe smashed her racquet during the U.S. Open in September, responding simply that she did it out of nervous frustration, according to ABC (see also Serena Williams, Andy Roddick and so many others).
Lindsey Vonn's ex, Tiger Woods, has been known to break, or fail to break, his clubs.
As for skateboarding, we don't even know where to begin.
Professional athletes who use equipment to compete should be thankful that they have an inanimate object to which they can vent their frustration. Some are not so fortunate, and they tend to incur six-figure fines.
So why can't skiers destroy their gear? Maybe the question should be, "Why can't Lindsey Vonn destroy her gear?"
Vonn's hammer rampage was entirely dwarfed by recently published images of the skier posing on a beach with nothing but a thin layer of paint separating her from the eyes of the world.
Being one of the best skiers in the world is cool and everything, but to make the big bucks, Vonn needs to keep up her image as a sexual object. Aside from certain niche communities, hammer-smashing isn't the most attractive action.
See Lindsey Vonn in nothing but body paint for SI's Swimsuit issue: https://t.co/MuKOPX8tid #SISwim pic.twitter.com/5tL3uz3bpz — Esquire Magazine (@esquire) February 16, 2016
This does not answer the question of why Vonn expressed so much guilt and regret to her sponsor. Ski bindings release all the time. They're supposed to. If they didn't release, skiers would have more broken legs than racehorses (oh wait, they already do).
Perhaps the answer to the drama lies in the nature of skiing. Skis are designed to endure incredible force. A person can't just smash their skis; nothing would happen. They need a tool to do so. Skiers, as a result must hold their anger in or get creative.
Though these events will be soon forgotten, maybe they mark a failure of another kind. The world could benefit with an introduction to Lindsey Vonn's inner demons. Perhaps ski-racing fans will manage to identify with the otherwise reptilian-esque Vonn. Together, they will see themselves creatures driven and derided by vanity, their eyes burning with anguish and anger.